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New River, AZ

New River in Maricopa County sits squarely in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area and is one of the most idyllic places to live in Arizona. Once a vast, empty desert, New River has experienced a transformation since the arrival of the first homesteaders in the 1930s.

The New River Land Use Plan, adopted in 1990, has boosted growth in the area. It particularly emphasizes the community’s role in land development. The result is a proactive community where residents feel involved and empowered.

The US Census Bureau puts the 2010 population at 14,952. This figure continues to grow as more homebuyers come to the community in search of the simple life.

Located along I-17, the community is known for its natural beauty and laidback environment. The sight of elegant homes on spacious lots tucked between mountain ranges is commonplace. Houses spread out this way on the gorgeous terrain indicate a great deal of peace and privacy.

The community of Anthem is located south of town and offers a smattering of stores and an outlet mall. Meanwhile, the I-17 gives you access to Scottsdale and the rest of the metro area.


The end of the 19th century saw New River as no more than formidable desert land populated by coyotes, rattlesnakes, and free-ranging livestock.

The New River Stage Station, which operated on the banks of New River, shut down in 1868. Only the remnants of the main building and old corrals remained.

Homesteaders began arriving in 1930 and founded the community. Vast stretches of land were divided among those who were willing to build on it for five years. But access to New River was a challenge. It was located roughly 40 miles north of Phoenix, along a dirt road that meandered across the desert. Driving to the community in those days took almost half a day.

Even more challenging was the lack of a reliable water supply that made farming and cattle ranching difficult. Homesteaders with 160 to 640 acres of desert grazing land found it nearly impossible to thrive there. As a result, many of them didn’t stay long and failed to secure a title to the land.

However, those who stayed managed to survive by raising a few livestock, setting traplines in the winter, hunting down wild game, and planting gardens.

The first school was opened in 1934. Significant developments took place in the late 40s when electricity was brought into the community and Old Black Canyon Road was paved and straightened. Black Canyon Highway became a freeway in the 60s, and New River transformed into a thriving bedroom community throughout the 70s and 80s.

Lifestyle in New River

  • New River Nature Reserve
    The, New River Nature Reserve was the former site of Flying Y Ranch. Now, it is populated by palms, mesquites, native walnuts, eucalyptus trees, and a rare, spring-fed willow and cottonwood forest. Explore and enjoy the reserve’s stunning scenery on foot or via bicycle or horseback.
  • Gavilan Peak
    Located southeast of town, the west route of Gavilan Peak spans nearly a mile on a lightly trafficked trail surrounded by beautiful wild flowers. The trail is ideal for hiking and birding between October and April.
  • Daisy Mountain Peak
    Daisy Mountain overlooks the nearby city of Anthem. Here you’ll find a 6.8-mile dog-friendly trail that commands breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Real Estate and Property Types

The housing stock in New River consists mainly of single-family homes. Prevalent architectural styles include Pueblo and Ranch. Buyers can choose from an excellent selection of older homes built between the late 1970s and 90s.There are also recently built homes from the early part of the millennium that are up for sale. New construction homes are also available.

Many homes for sale in New River, AZ feature maple cabinetry, Corian counters, plank tile flooring, and modern appliances. Large outdoor spaces, such as covered patios and landscaped front yards, are common.

Residents are served by the Deer Valley Unified School District, of which New River Elementary School is part.

For more questions on New River, AZ real estate, don’t hesitate to call me, Josie McCarthy, at 480.297.3922, or send an email to Josie(at)JosieMMcCarthy(dotted)com. I’d be more than happy to help you find the perfect home.

Available Properties in New River

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Josie M. McCarthy
34975 N North Valley Parkway
Building 8, Suite 152A
Phoenix, AZ 85086