This guide to the Valley’s best neighborhoods for a variety of personalities can help you navigate today’s crucible of a real estate market and find your ideal home.
Mesa’s Historical ’Hoods
For fixer-uppers and next-hot-thing pioneers.
When Mesa vice mayor Jennifer Duff moved to the West Second Street Historic District in 2009, the area formerly known as Millionaire’s Row had gone from riches to rags. Adjacent downtown Mesa was marred by shuttered storefronts, so Duff hosted art and music parties in her bungalow just to have something to do. “The area was very depressed,” she says, “but I could feel the community and the charm, and I knew things were going to turn around.”
Then the light rail arrived, and downtown Mesa became the makeover show contestant everyone loves to root for. Main Street is now stylin’ thanks to homespun businesses like retro furnisher Atomic Age Modern, Tacos Chiwas and beloved taprooms including 12 West, Cider Corps, Oro and Chupacabra. Mesa Arts Center is a wellspring of concerts, plays and creative classes, while the i.d.e.a. Museum and Arizona Museum of Natural History keep the kiddies edu-tained with crafts and dinosaurs.
But though downtown is poised to dazzle, it hasn’t yet emerged from the makeup chair. The surrounding ’hoods are still a patchwork of dapper and dingy. So it’s possible to get a deal here if you’re down for DIY. Next to the stately Mormon temple, the Temple Historic District is as fresh as a flowery summer dress, but many nearby streets are rumpled around the edges. Likewise, the West Second Street district delights with button-cute cottages and cheery citrus trees, and many houses in the Wilbur Street Historic District and neighboring areas have the bone structure but would benefit from beautification.
’Hood Price Range
Near these historic districts, two- and three-bedroom fixer-uppers have sold this year in the low $200Ks. But you’re more likely to find a modest home in the mid-$300Ks to low $400Ks.