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Market Insights: Top Scottsdale Master-Planned Communities

Hi friends! I hope you are all doing as well as can be. Have any of you ever tried searching on the web for best master planned communities in Scottsdale, Arizona? I don’t know about you, but typically I’ve found it very difficult to find articles that really give you a true, short list of the best communities. Especially for out-of-towners, articles like these would make the home search that much easier!

What makes a community the best? Well, that is certainly relative to the reader…THOUGH, I do believe there are three communities in North Scottsdale which fit the needs of many families/individuals. (Ok, I might be bias as I’ve lived in every single community below).

My check list looks like this:

  • Beautiful setting
  • Near retail/restaurants
  • Well kept and neat community landscaping throughout
  • Community amenities such as clubhouse, parks, trails, pools, tennis, golf, etc.
  • Gated OR at least tucked away/private
  • Lower HOAs
  • Proximity to great schools
  • Consistent property values

McDowell Mountain Ranch (MMR)

Highlights: Large community, views, plethora of floorplans/builders, location, host of amenities, hiking trails, gated & non-gated neighborhoods, proximity to schools, desert landscaping throughout, public golf course amenities.

McDowell Mountain Ranch is 3,200-acre mountainside master-planned community, located in North Scottsdale. The community sits adjacent to the McDowell Sonoran Desert Preserve. Est. in 1995, this community offers 26 unique neighborhoods built by 14 different builders and approx. 4,000+ homes. Over $130 million was spent to build infrastructure and site improvements. Prices range from the 300s to custom multi-million dollar homes. Homes vary in style. MMR offers low HOA (they differ by neighborhood).

The Community Center offers a lap pool that is 23 meters in length, a play pool, a spa, tennis & pickleball courts, play ground, splash pad, basketball court, volley ball court, a ramada with picnic tables and two gas grills as well as an activities center. The Recreation Center offers a family pool, a play pool, spa, covered play area, two tennis courts, splash pad, basketball court, three Ramadas and two gas grills.

Desert Canyon Elementary and Middle Schools are located within the community. Both terrific schools…a bit bias, again, since I went to them? LONG ago…

Additional amenities available to MMR residents:

  • McDowell Mountain Ranch Park & Aquatic Center is a 75-acre park that has 3 soccer fields, 2 lighted ball fields, etc.
  • The aquatic facility has an 8-lane (25 yard) lap pool, a dive well with 4 diving boards (2) 1-meter and (2) 3-meter, 1 large tube water slide, 600′ lazy river, etc.
  • The fitness center has machine weights, dumbbells, and cardiovascular machines.
  • The Skate Park is 16,000 square feet and open to all skateboarders and inline skaters.  
  • Don’t forget to visit the McDowell Mountain Golf Club (Public course):


Highlights: Master-planned community, neighborhood aesthetics, golf course lots, near 101 highway, proximity to schools, gated & non-gated neighborhoods, desert landscaping throughout, public golf course amenities.

I consider Grayhawk as easy living and a family-oriented master-planned community in North Scottsdale, off the 101 and Hayden. Established in 1996 with over 3,800 residential units (homes, townhomes/condos). The Park is made up of family-friendly neighborhoods with pocket parks, greenbelts, playground areas, and ramadas for gathering with your neighbors. The Retreat Village consists of two guard- gated communities, the Raptor Retreat and the Talon Retreat. The Retreat Village includes six tennis courts and seven individual neighborhood swimming pools and spas for use by Retreat Village residents. There are eight condominium and townhome neighborhoods in Grayhawk, six in The Park and two in the Retreat Village.

Prices range from the 300s to custom multi-million dollar homes. Homes vary in style. Grayhawk offers low HOAs (they differ by neighborhood).

In addition, Grayhawk Elementary (A+ school) is within the community! And if that isn’t enough, Grayhawk offers over 30 miles of multi-use trails!

Lastly, Grayhawk Golf Club features two par-72 golf courses – Talon and Raptor (open to public).


Highlights: Medium-sized, guard-gated community, centrally located, mature landscape, beautiful entrance, clubhouse/amenities, close to shopping/retail, lush/grass landscaping throughout.

Stonegate is a well-designed and beautifully maintained community, not too big or small. Just right. Located off 114th and Shea, in the Via Linda Corridor area (considered central Scottsdale). This community was established in the early 90s with 15 unique communities inside. The minute you approach Stonegate, you’re instantly impressed with the impeccable and beautiful landscape design. Green grass, palm trees, and well-maintained homes. They recently added pickleball courts, in addition to having a terrific clubhouse pool & spa, tennis courts, etc.

Prices range from the high 400s to upwards of $1 million++. Most of the homes have a Santa Barbara/Contemporary feel to them. Stonegate offers low HOAs. Lots of value for what you pay to reside within Stonegate. Note: This community is located near three terrific Scottsdale Unified Public Schools: Anasazi Elementary, Mountainside Middle School, and Desert Mountain High School (bias again, I went to these schools too!)

Thanks for reading friends. Stay optimistic, this will NOT be our new normal. Cheers to summer 2020 and happy community hunting!


May 12, 2020

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