In the upper section of the Northeast Valley sits the town of Carefree. Carefree is nestled in the desert foothills, about 15 miles northeast of Phoenix and directly north of the city of Scottsdale. The Tonto National Forest borders the town to the north and east and the Mazatzal Mountains and the Sonoran Desert to the south.
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Black Mountain Summit offers amazing desert views. Because of the town’s elevation of 2,500 feet, it is on average eight degrees cooler than the city of Phoenix in the valley below. Carefree is a beautiful place to live.
Carefree residents have several choices when it comes to traveling in an out of town. Both Scottsdale Road and Pima Road travel north from Phoenix and Scottsdale into town. Residents can also access Carefree Highway, east, and west, near the town’s southern boundary. This town offers a blend of recreational and resort-style living.
The climate is typical of the southwest. There is a mild winter that is balanced by a long hot, dry summer. Many have claimed that the dry, hot summer conditions have helped to relive many of their allergy symptoms. Summer days are clear and spectacular and the temperatures are truly remarkable. Spring and autumn are mild transitions into the other seasons. There is a brief monsoon season that is truly extraordinary.
The town’s motto of “Home of Cowboys and Caviar, where the Old West meets the new,” really sums up the Town of Carefree. With every turn, one can spot amazing properties placed in a one of kind saguaro studded background. This spectacular landscape is then combined with the down-home feeling that is felt whenever one is doing business in Carefree.
Residents in Carefree enjoy the combination of rural relaxation and urban sophistication. It is a cozy town covering just over 8 square miles with street names to match the town’s attitude. Names such as Easy Street, Tranquil Trail, and Ho and Hum Roads, these roads meander through the community. For those who want to see the city lights, yet not experience the stress that accompanies city living, will find that the town of Carefree is the perfect match.
Carefree’s natural environment is unique. There are areas in which massive piles of granite boulders and sharp mountain tops are randomly placed in such a way that onlookers marvel at nature’s work. This uncommon setting makes a great backdrop for distinctive contemporary homes and estate properties. Resort/spa style living is complemented by gorgeous golf courses in and around the surrounding area of Carefree.
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The spectacular amount of market activity in Arizona over the past decade has been well documented. People from all walks of life have been moving to Arizona, and particularly Phoenix, in numbers unmatched in recent memory.
Figures from 2000-2005 show nothing but increased construction, development, unit sales and unit sales prices in virtually every category of structure offered on the market. The greatest degree of growth occurred during fiscal 2005, where previous growth statistics, impressive in their own rights, spiked sharply to even higher levels. Of particular note to the residential home seller/buyer was the record appreciation in new and resale home values. These rates were up for new homes and resales, rentals and condominium units, the only difference being one of degree.
While it is true that not all Phoenix area real estate markets showed the same amount of increase it is true that the degree of growth for each area was proportional.
Then along came 2006 and equally well documented has been the decline in the rate of growth of some key market indicators. The greater Phoenix resale home market is showing marked decreases in sales figures for comparable periods last year across the valley and across most unit categories.
One interesting exception is the median price for resale units has risen slightly. This rising price accompanied by a decrease in sales seems to be more in keeping with normal market tendencies. One would expect spectacular growth to lead eventually to a degree of scarcity that would be reflected in higher prices. Could this indicate that the market has reached its peak?
Let’s look at another indicator to see what it may tell us.
Since 1985, the Arizona Real Estate Center has computed what it calls “affordability indexes” for the Greater Phoenix area and several nearby cities.
The index was invented as a guide to predict market activity. When the index value is 100, the typical home buyer (based on the current median resale price and household income) would be able to afford a median-priced home at the stated effective interest rate. A lower index value indicates less availability of affordable single-family homes.
The affordability index for the areas selected for the study shows a significant reduction in the availability of this type of housing within the means of the ordinary consumer. Whether this data can be used as a reliable indicator for other groups and other types of housing is arguable, but it does beg the question “how much longer will the market be able to sustain a situation where both sellers and buyers can apparently benefit by getting involved in the market?
The short answer is that these conditions can remain so long as they are supported by the market.
So when we take a long look at the larger picture we must ask ourselves whether we can realistically expect to realize more potential gain or value now or at some time in the future and it is very reasonable to conclude that the best possible time to buy or sell Arizona really is now.
Golf courses are reminders of how the town first began in the 1950s. The community was an idea developed by Tom Darlington and K.T. Palmer, who wanted to create a planned community within the spectacular boulder formations, mountain views, and Sonoran Desert beauty.
Carefree was one of the earliest planned communities in Arizona. However, it wasn’t until 1984, before the town of Carefree was incorporated. The town has worked hard to make sure that residential areas and commercial developments do not overshadow the desert and showcase its untouched beauty.
Although Carefree is on the outer fringes of the Valley of the Sun, all the amenities are located in or near town. Schools, shopping, and a library can found in Carefree. The El Pedregal Festival Marketplace at the Boulders offers visitors items from all around the world, specializing in African, Mediterranean, and Southwestern objects and architecture. Many other exceptional shops, fine restaurants, and boutiques are located throughout the Carefree area, making it a terrific place to live and shop.
The Carefree Sundial is a well-known point of interest in town. It is a huge sundial in the middle of the business section downtown. The dial is one of the largest sundials in the western world. It has two functions. The first is oblivious to keep time and the other function is to help the heating of water used in the Darlington-Palmer Building. This structure is a special symbol of the town.
Carefree Outdoor Recreation
The town has several outstanding recreational outlets located close by. Bartlett Lake is in close proximity and offers boating and fishing. The Verde River gives visitors an opportunity to cool off during the summer. This Sonoran Desert town has become a haven for hikers, bikers, and tennis players.
Golf courses are woven into the desert landscape. One of a kind golf courses is hidden within the rock outcroppings and the towering Black Mountain. These courses have been noted as some of the most picturesque golf courses in the entire state. Outdoor fun is a part of life in Carefree
Carefree began in the 1950s as a planned community. The idea for the community came from Tom Darlington and K.T. Palmer. It was during the time when Darlington was President of the Paradise Valley Homeowners Improvement Association and Palmer was President of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce that they created their plan for a new community. In 1955, they decided to make their idea into a reality by purchasing a 400-acre parcel of land. The two men continued to buy land in the area and other partners joined in their venture.
Since the land that they were purchasing was away from Phoenix, the group hoped that there would be changes in the future. One change that they were counting on was the northward extension of Scottsdale Road, which would connect with Cave Creek Road. This connection would be ideal because Cave Creek road ran by their land purchases making home sales easier. In 1955, the partners chose the name Carefree Development Corporation to use for incorporation.
From that point on, the name Carefree stuck. Even though the idea for the town had been in the works for years, the actual plans were not laid out until 1957. Homes were built and sold, along with the extension of Scottsdale Road. Today, Carefree is a place that is surrounded by spectacular boulder formations, mountain views, and Sonoran desert beauty.
Bartlett Lake is the closest lake to the Phoenix area on the Verde River. It is 22 miles east of Carefree. To get to Bartlett Lake from Carefree, Arizona, take State Road 223 east 22 miles.
Upper Bartlett Lake, Rattlesnake, and South Cove recreation sites provide areas for camping with trailers, picnicking, fishing and boating and are open year-round. Trailers longer than 16 feet are not recommended. The Jojoba Boating Site provides a paved launching ramp, except during low water levels. A new marina facility, which will provide a variety of services, is being constructed at this reservoir.
Fishing at Bartlett can produce largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, catfish, and crappie. The road to Bartlett is paved.Bartlett Lake, Rattlesnake and South Cove recreation sites provide areas for camping with trailers, picnicking, fishing and boating and are open year-round. Trailers longer than 16 feet are not recommended. The Jojoba Boating Site provides a paved launching ramp, except during low water levels. A new marina facility, which will provide a variety of services, is being constructed at this reservoir.