Tucked between the towns of Phoenix and Scottsdale in the Sonoran Desert stands Paradise Valley—a fifteen-square-mile town that lies in the shadow of Camelback Mountain and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. During the pandemic, millionaires flocked to this area of Arizona and stayed.

Real-estate agent Cheryl Anderson of the Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty says, “It’s a different world here now. Real estate prices have gone crazy.”

The 85253 ZIP code now possesses the country’s highest desert residential real estate, at $5.05 million as of January 2024, according to Realtor.com. Residents of this area typically appreciate the warm weather, low taxes, and large lots that offer privacy among nature while standing in proximity to the United State’s fifth largest metropolitan landscape.

There are many reasons that millionaires might move to Paradise Valley, and golfing is one of them.

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With more than 200 golf courses in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area, good golfers generally belong to golf clubs, and in Paradise Valley, those clubs range from private to members only. These include the members-only Paradise Valley Country Club and the semiprivate Camelback Golf Club, which stands at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn and is utilized by members, hotel guests, and daily fee golfers.

Winter is the desert’s highest season, with no shortage of famous events from January through March. These range from the Barrey-Jackson collector car auction, to the automotive lifestyle event in Scottdale, to Major League Baseball’s Cactus League in the greater Phoenix area, to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, and even the WM Phoenix professional PGA TOUR event.

Cheryl Anderson says the average square price per foot of a property in Paradise Valle is $900, but that $2,000 per square foot is not uncommon. “Nicer properties are $1,200 per square foot and up,” she adds upon speaking on newer construction with better views. “Looking at Camelback Mountain is primo. There are only a few places in town where you get that.”

One particular home on the market is an Italian-style villa that took 10 years to build. With all of its materials imported from Italy, including the woodwork and granite slabs, the property possesses two private courtyards, a hand-tailed saltwater swimming pool, thirteen fireplaces, and an oversized garage with car lifts. There are also 300 rose bushes and views of Mummy Mountain. Agent: Frank Aazami and Cheryl Anderson, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty.

Another home featured in Paradise Valley is a modern villa finished in 2022, and inside the creamy stone walls are planked oak ceilings that provide a beautiful, contrasting view of the surrounding desert landscapes. The upper floors, accessed by a steel and glass staircase, are almost entirely clad in glass and offer a 360-degree view of the greater Phoenix area. Agent: Shawna Glazier, Bespoke Real Estate, LLC.

Finally, a Spanish revival house on the market has views of Mummy Mountain. It was built in 2008 and completely renovated in 2022. It featured an updated central kitchen, a second prep kitchen, a gym with a full bathroom, new steel windows, a separate two-room casita, and a new swimming pool and spa. 

Agent: Andrew Beardsley and Caroline Van Arsdale, Silverleaf Realty.