Buying a Home 4 MIN READ

2021 best places to live in Arizona

Aztec style home with cacti in yard at sunset Written by Leigh Cooper

If you’re looking for warmer weather, a drier climate, and less rainfall, Arizona is an option to consider. Families, young professionals, and retirees are moving to the state to get a taste of more sunshine and enjoy the perks of the desert. A variety of activities are available – everything from hiking to boating to visiting nearby attractions such as the Grand Canyon, the famous beaches of California, and the nightlife of Las Vegas. 

Employment prospects are strong throughout the state, including in the technology hub located in Chandler, a suburb of Phoenix. However, if you’re planning a move to the state, you might be unsure of the best place to live. Understanding a few options in greater depth can help guide you to the right path forward. 

Flagstaff

Aerial view of Flagstaff Arizona with blue skies

Flagstaff is a former railroad town and is home to Northern Arizona University. The city has become a tourist destination because it’s located only an hour away from the Grand Canyon. The median home price in the city is $263,000, and the median annual household income is $48,120, which makes it an affordable place to live for those escaping fast-climbing housing markets.  

The city became the world’s first International Dark Sky City due to ordinances designed to keep lights dimmer for optimal stargazing. It’s also home to the Lowell Observatory, one of the oldest observatories in the United States. Astronomers first used a telescope at the center to find Pluto in 1930. The city is also a short drive from the popular tourist destination of Sedona, which is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and features hiking, biking, art galleries, and Native American cultural sites. 

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Scottsdale 

View of river canal in Scottsdale Arizona

Scottsdale is a popular tourist destination and attracts about 7 million visitors annually. Nearly half of the city’s employment is tied to tourism, and attractions include everything from the nearby Tonto National Forest to a 2-million-square-foot mall. 

The city is known for its safe suburban areas and low crime rate and features some of the best public schools in the state. There are many job opportunities, and downtown Scottsdale has many well-known dining options and shopping centers. Scottsdale is distinctive in that it’s located between the mountains and the beach. Residents can drive a few hours and end up at some of the best ski resorts in the country. Or they can travel west for four or five hours and visit the famous beaches of California. 

The median home price in Scottsdale is $554,270; however, prices vary based on where you live in the city. The median household income is $72,455 compared with the U.S. average of $53,482 annually. 

Prescott 

Prescott allows you to live close to hiking trails and outdoor recreational activities and has a low cost of living. This charming Arizona city is located next to the 125-acre Prescott National Forest, which hosts a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. Residents of the city also have easy access to places to boat, such as Willow, Watson, and Goldwater lakes. 

The city is known for its Old West history, and during the summer months, there are reenactments of Old West gunfights. The downtown area features Whiskey Row, and cultural centers provide a history of what the town was like during the Wild West era. 

Living in Prescott allows you to be central to everything in the state. It’s a one-hour drive to the city of Phoenix, and you can reach Flagstaff in about 90 minutes. Additionally, since you’re living at an elevation of 5,400 feet, you are spared the heat intensity the lower elevations experience during the summer months. The air temperature can be up to 20 degrees cooler. The median home price in Prescott is $265,500, and the median income is $45,190. 

Chandler 

Chandler is a fast-growing suburb of Phoenix and is home to Intel, which employs nearly 10,000 people. The city has become one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation and currently has a population of 250,000. Residents can gain employment at the city’s booming technology hub or easily commute to nearby cities such as Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. Living in the city also provides the convenience of living about 25 minutes from the airport. 

Excellent public schools combined with plentiful employment opportunities make it attractive to families. Being close to downtown Phoenix, the area hosts a variety of activities, including concerts, parades, and a variety of festivals throughout the year. The median home price in the city is $389,000, and the median household income is $72,072 annually

Glendale

Glendale is known as the state’s “antique capital” and is home to Midwestern University, which features a well-known medical program and an international business program. The city has a population of 237,723. The local chocolate festival, Jazz and Blues Festival, and summertime concert series attract nearly 350,000 visitors annually. Glendale is also known for Sahuaro Ranch Park, which has over 1,000 acres of desert preserve and is a local favorite for hiking, picnicking, and horseback riding. 

The typical home value is $277,775, and the median household income is $46,855 annually. The city has a variety of industries, including healthcare, aerospace and defense, education, and manufacturing. 

Moving with greater confidence 

As a resident of Arizona, you’ll have access to more sunny days annually compared with other locations in the U.S. The state has about 320 days of sunshine each year – and only a handful of rainy days. You’ll enjoy easy access to neighboring states and attractions but still enjoy a relatively low cost of living. So whether you need to decrease your monthly expenses or you like the appeal of living in a warmer state, understanding your options can help you find the best path forward.


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