If you’re getting ready to retire, a natural place to search for homes is in a 55+ active adult community. After all, they are designed and built for energetic residents like you to enjoy your golden years to the fullest. Plus you can’t beat living around other retirees who want to share the same experiences and have the same goals as you. During your search you might find that one community that keeps popping up is Sun City Arizona and for good reason. The original 55+ community, Sun City has long been an oasis for those who are looking to start a new stage of their lives. If you are looking at retiring in Sun City Arizona, we’ve outlined everything you’ll need to know about living in this popular hub for active adults.
Quick facts about Sun City Arizona
One of the most important things to remember when retiring in Sun City Arizona is that it was the first intentionally-planned 55+ community in the United States. Founded in 1960 by the Dell Webb Development Corporation, it has become the model for 55+ communities across the country.
For over fifty years the community has managed to surpass expectations and bring in new residents, literally exceeding its original demand estimates even after the first year the community was in operation.
Today’s Sun City is a far cry from the small community that was originally built. While the community was originally made up of two thousand households full of people looking to retire in Arizona, today’s Sun City boasts a population of around forty-five thousand.
- The bulk of the people who live in the community are over the age of sixty-five, with a statistically-significant population of those between fifty-five and sixty-five making up the rest of the community.
- About half of the residents retiring in Sun City Arizona are married, and women outnumber men about ten to seven.
- The average income in the city is about $33,000 per year, with just four percent of those living in the region falling below the poverty line.
Sun City Arizona Weather and Climate
The overall climate is fairly dry, with an average of only one or two days of precipitation per month each year. When it does rain, it is usually welcome as most storms occur during Monsoon Season which takes place during the hot summer months of July and August.
Sun City is also very much an Arizona city, so temperatures reach above 100 degrees during the Summer months. Most residents view this as a fair trade for the comfortable and mild temperatures during the Winter. This of course means no snow to deal with and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful outdoor setting that Arizona has to offer.
Sun City Real Estate
Homes in Sun City average at around just over $170,000, but the prices are steadily rising. Last year values rose by about 9%, and this year they’re expected to rise at least another 4%. The rising prices can be attributed to a number of factors, including the low crime rate (Sun City is in the top 83% in Arizona) and the strict age limits. At least one person residing in the home must be at least 55 years old, with all other residents in the home being no younger than 19. It is through these age limits that Sun City manages to keep its designation of being an active 55+ community.
Sun City Neighborhoods
As one might expect, retiring in Sun City Arizona means that you’re retiring to a city – not just a single closed neighborhood. While the entire city is senior-friendly, some neighborhoods are more appealing to some residents than others. It should be noted that all of Sun City is still designed as a 55+ community, so no matter what neighborhood you choose you’ll still get the benefits of living in the city. This does famously include the ability to drive a golf kart virtually anywhere in Sun City, something that can be quite beneficial for those who are sick of having to care for a car.
Sun City is currently made up of nine different neighborhoods. They range from the original, 1960s and 1970s styles that were put in place when the community was first created to more modern condominiums and apartments. These varying styles help to ensure that individuals with varying needs and income levels can find someplace to call home in the city and that those who might only want to have a seasonal stay in the region can still have a luxury experience during the months they call Sun City home.
For example, there’s the Four Seasons at the Manor Community, one of the newer neighborhoods in the region. Four Seasons features not only modern designed and spacious homes, but it also centrally located in Sun City with easy access to retail shopping, medical offices, restaurants, and community centers.
Sun City Amenities
Residents of Four Seasons at The Manor and most Sun City communities have access to all of the amenities found in Sun City including:
- Multiple recreational facilities that host countless events and activities. These include The Bell Center, Fairway Center, and Lakeview Center with many more smaller facilities spread throughout the city.
- 11 championship golf courses (8 public and 3 private)
- 19 shopping areas
- 30 churches and 1 synagogue
- Sun Bowl Amphitheater
Things to do in Sun City Arizona
One of the best parts of retiring in Arizona is having multiple ways to keep busy. One of the foundational principles of Sun City is that people over 55 are still people who want ways to stay busy and entertained, so the community has been created with activity in mind. Whether you’re looking for community events and local centers or you just want to be close to where all the action is, Sun City has it for you.
Sun City is about thirty minutes from anything you want to do in the Phoenix area. Situated in close proximity to both Phoenix and Glendale, residents are close to plenty of shopping and entertainment options. In fact, there are even two spring training baseball parks within seven miles of Sun City. Whether you want to experience the nightlife or a day at the park, Sun City’s got everything one could want nearby.
If you’re looking for something a bit more natural, retiring in Sun City Arizona means you’ll also be located close to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. The community is just half a day drive away from the awe inspiring Grand Canyon, and the beautiful, scenic area of Sedona is even closer. Also, if you’re looking to spend the day in or around water, Lake Pleasant is just a 30 minute drive from Sun City.
Those staying in the general Phoenix region can still take advantage of numerous parks and walking trails, many of which are actually located within Sun City itself. If you’re looking for a way to get closer to nature, you may only have to walk out your front door.
Of course, there are also many activities that take place in Sun City’s various neighborhoods. Sun City has its fair share of recreational areas and golf courses, but where it really shines are the social activities. If you’ve ever considered a group activity, you’ll be sure to find it in one of the neighborhoods. Whether you’re looking for ballroom dancing or you just want to join a fantastic book club, Sun City’s various social groups will help you to keep active in both mind and body. This really is a community that can keep you active.
Dollars and Cents
If you’re looking at retiring in Sun City Arizona, it’s important to look at the cost of living stats and compare it with other popular areas of the country with a fair amount of 55+ communities.
Cost of living in Sun City Arizona
Median home cost: $168,100
Property taxes: Between $300 – $1,300 per year (Source: suncityaz.org)
Sales tax: 6.3%
It’s important to note that Sun City does not have a school district to support in it’s community, so taxes are considerably lower compared to the cities that surround it. Healthcare and utility costs are on par with the national average.
Sun City, Arizona vs Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota, Florida is one of the most popular retirement destinations in the country. It is located along the gulf coast, after all. However, residents are susceptible to hurricanes and there is that constant humidity to bare. Costs for the two destinations vary slightly, depending on the measure. For instance, Florida has no income tax although the state sales tax is one of the highest in the country. Healthcare costs are slightly lower in Florida, but housing costs are lower in Sun City by 40% (Source: bestplaces.net)
Sun City, Arizona vs San Diego, California
Let’s face it. When it comes to comparing cost of living, Arizona beats California in almost every measure there is except for healthcare. In Sun City, housing costs are 240% less than San Diego. Overall, it is 73% less expensive to live in Sun City than it is in San Diego. That’s quite a big difference.
Sun City, Arizona vs Reno, Nevada
For our last comparison, we thought we would move away from the ocean and compare retiring in Sun City Arizona with a more inland retirement destination. After all, of course living in Florida or California is more expensive, it’s along the coast!
Fair enough, so let’s talk about Reno, Nevada. First, Nevada is another state without income tax which on first glance can be an attractive quality. However, when we’re talking about people in or near retirement, it has a little less impact that the average person.
Second, Nevada DOES have property taxes. The median property tax on Nevada’s median home value of $192,100 is $1,420. Compare that to the high end of Sun City’s property tax scale and it’s still $100 more! So you’re looking at a significant savings in property taxes by being a Sun City resident.
Meanwhile, housing costs are 111% less than Reno, while health related costs are 5.8% less. Overall, Sun City is 23% less expensive than Reno. And you probably won’t be tempted to gamble away your retirement (Although we do have some lovely casinos in the area for those responsible gamblers).
Sun City, Arizona Economy
Business opportunities, on the other hand, are significant. Though highly regulated, businesses in the community are very busy and almost always hiring. In fact, the employment potential for the region far outstrips that of the rest of the country by a significant margin. The population growth expected for the area also means that new businesses will be in constant demand, especially in the retail and healthcare sectors. This area is growing faster than you might expect, so there really are some great financial opportunities when retiring in Sun City Arizona, as well as the rest of the Phoenix area.
Ready to move to Sun City?
Sun City is the original 55+ community. It’s got plenty of interesting things to do and fantastic neighborhoods, but what really makes it stand out is the growing community. If you’re looking for a chance to start the next stage of your life in comfort, retiring in Sun City Arizona may well be the best move for you.