Sonoran Acres revived near Surprise


by J. Craig Anderson - Apr. 16, 2012 12:51 PM
The Republic |

In April 2009, Scottsdale-based homebuilder Michael Ripson opened and then quickly shut down a subdivision project called Sonoran Acres.

Ripson, who founded Ripson Homes in 2001, said no buyers materialized at the time for his product -- moderately priced luxury homes on 1-acre lots near Surprise.

"The demand just wasn't there," he said.

Now, Ripson thinks the housing market has improved sufficiently to give the project another go. In an effort to further improve his chances, Ripson said he has "value-engineered" the homes at Sonoran Acres so he can sell them for about 25 percent less than what he originally had tried to charge.

Essentially, he has replaced some fixtures and finishes with lower-priced versions. Customers can upgrade to the higher-priced features.

The least-expensive model at Sonoran Acres, a three-bedroom, 2.5-bath, 2,200-square-foot home, starts at about $200,000. The most-expensive model, a five-bedroom, 3.5-bath, 3,500-square-foot home, starts at about $330,000.

More details about the community are available at

Ripson is so confident things will be different this time that he's even obtaining the permits to build two speculative homes inside the community. He said the shrinking inventory of available homes, rising prices for existing homes and robust investor activity are all factors that have lifted the Phoenix-area housing market since 2009.

"They (investors) really gave us a shot of adrenaline to get our market started again," Ripson said.