3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - For years, home buyers have kept moving further and further out, but that's changing. In fact, the next hot area, believe it or not, is supposed to be south Phoenix.

Maricopa County is the home of a Phoenix metropolitan area that continues to keep on growing.

[WATCH: Next real estate hot spot could be south Phoenix]

"For the fourth year in a row now, Maricopa County has been the fastest growing county in the U.S.," said Thomas Maynard who is the vice president of Business Development of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC).

[RELATED: Phoenix area real estate: Now is the time to sell, experts say]

It's quite a statistic. And as a result, the Valley real estate market seems to be back on track.

And, while real estate experts don't consider our current market a "housing boom," there's one particular area of the Valley that experts say is booming. And its location will probably surprise you.

"I would say the south Phoenix area is definitely an up and coming market," said Maynard.

Maynard acknowledges that the South Mountain and south Phoenix area have been avoided by home buyers in the past, but not anymore.

[READ MORE: Phoenix area real estate: Are we headed for another bust?]

And apparently, major home builders like Maracay, agree.

"At Maracay, we're huge believers in this South Mountain area as evidence of what we're doing here at Avance," said Andy Warren, who is the president of Maracay Home and is also the chairman of the board of GPEC.

He's so convinced that south Phoenix is the Valley's next hot area, he's gambling millions on it and building something called Avance.

Avance is billed as a premier community with about 400 homes just off Seventh Street and Dobbins.

"We've been saying that if this was in a location like Scottsdale or something like that, you'd have to put another digit on the price points at least so there's no question it's a hidden gem," said Warren.

[WATCH: How healthy is the Phoenix area real estate market?]

But finding the "diamond in the rough" for now, might be having to drive through some areas left behind by time.

Both Warren and Maynard agree that what once was considered an undesirable area to live in, has quickly turned itself around. And, it will only get better with the expansion of the light rail and the new Loop 202 that is under construction which will eventually take commuters in and out of south Phoenix.

"People don't want to live a hour's drive whether it's east or north or west. And they say, 'Wait, what kind of alternatives do we have closer in?' and all of a sudden a South Mountain area is a place that gets rediscovered," said Warren.

And then there's the beauty of South Mountain itself.

"Once people get down here, they realize they're sitting on the foothills of South Mountain. You might as well be sitting in the foothills of Camelback Mountain just at a much lower price point," said Maynard.

"The fact that we're right up against South Mountain Park, 16,000 acres, the largest urban park of the urban universe," said Warren.

And other businesses and developers are quickly jumping on board.

"It's no secret they know this is going to be a high-growth area in the Phoenix metropolitan area so they want to be the first ones in 'cause that's gonna be valuable real estate here pretty soon," said Maynard.

And some of those new homes being built in Avance go anywhere from the mid-$300,000s up to the mid-$600,000s.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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