Moving to Arizona | 2021 Cost of Living and Relocation Tips
The state of Arizona sits on the southwestern wing of the map of the United States. If you asked us to give it to you straight, we’d say the state is a hot mess. To be more accurate we’d say it’s triple the hot and minus the mess! Many people tend to know about the state’s soaring temperatures but that doesn’t stop Arizona from attracting more and more people who rush themselves to settle here.
Presently, even the census records show that the state is ranked among the top states that are growing faster than ever in the US. Which makes us wonder, is it the 320 days of summer that attract people here? Or could it be the beauty of pine covered mountain towns, cactus pastures and varied desert landscape? Well without doubt, it can’t just be this.
All this pondering made us want to get knee-deep in to find out more about it. Fortunately for you, we’ve got answers that will help you understand if the grass could really be greener on the Arizona side of things for you. So without further ado, here’s why the state is much more than the wonder of the Grand Canyon and what moving to Arizona is all about!
Weather In Arizona
Now, if you’re considering moving here, you will want to prepare and understand whether you are ready to adapt to the weather conditions of the state. So let’s just get right to it. The truth is, all year round, the weather in Arizona can fluctuate between feeling sunny, humid and dry without even the slightest of breeze to be a comforting companion. But in reality, the state has roughly 4 distinct seasons.
The summers in the state begin around the month June and end roughly by September. Summers in Arizona can be brutal, so be prepared to run from an air conditioned home to an air conditioned car. Do note that when the summers are in full swing in July, the temperature can hit and stay 100+ degree celsius for days. Naturally, we would highly recommend that you stay indoors as much as possible during the month of July. If you’re visiting during the summers, you may take some time to get acclimatized to the heat. But it is manageable once you’re used to it. Of course, it also depends on your resistance to hot weather in general.
Summers in Arizona could also mean that a ‘haboob’ is around the corner. Haboobs are a kind of a dust sand storm that quickly takes over areas and disturbs visibility. The winds of a haboob are occasionally calm, but at times it could flair up. Take our word for it and ensure you don’t be way too casual about this because it’s precisely when you should tread on the path of caution.
The weather is most pleasant during Spring (March-May) and Fall (September-November) months. It drops below 90 degree celsius and residents get a good break from the summers.
The winters on the other hand would begin by December and last through February. Winters in Arizona are very mild. The temperatures would range between 12-24 degree celsius with barely any snow. However, at times it does tend to rain during the winter months. Quite frankly though, it can make the weather even more pleasant. In December, Arizona also attracts a good deal of ‘snowbirds’, which are basically people visiting the state from colder Northern parts of the US to escape the snow. So the roads and attractions start to get clogged with tourists.
See also: Sunniest Cities in the USA
Key Takeaway – It’s possible that you’ll enjoy the sunny clear skies in Arizona from September to March. And as a newcomer of the state, you would probably take some time to get used to the summers in Arizona. We won’t blame you if you detest the high humidity in the month of July. You may or may not find the heat manageable, but at the end of the day, it boils down to your personal preferences.
Transportation In Arizona
Light rail system
The Valley Metro Rail is a 45kmlight rail line serving the cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa in Arizona. Since its inception it has been able to connect residents from the upper-central areas of Dunlap Avenue in Phoenix to downtown areas like the city of Mesa. Depending on the area you reside in, it is considered the most practical mode of transit to reach downtown Phoenix. 40 minutes approximately – that’s all it takes. However, the entire journey from start point to finish is 85 minutes.
Interesting stops of the journey are – Downtown Phoenix, Sky Harbor International Airport, Arizona State University and Mill Avenue in Tempe. There are plenty other stops as well.
Fare – 1 day ticket cost for anyone from the age of 19-64 is $4, while it’s half the cost for individuals outside this age group.
The thousands of tourists that visit Arizona would agree that the roadways in this state are some of the easiest to figure, even if you’re new to the state. The capital city of the state, which is Phoenix, follows a grid system with roads running either through north, south, east or west. Most of the city roads were actually laid out and planned for convenience of residents, with the exception of Grand Avenue.
Arizona 101 Loop is an outstanding example of this kind of master planning of the roads. This loop, as the name suggests, is basically a road that circles the city of Phoenix with a series of roads connecting you to the major suburbs of the Phoenix Metropolitan area like Tolleson, Glendale, Peoria, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, and Chandler.
Arizona also happens to have the largest network of freeways, which is presently one of the nation’s largest. Among them, Interstate 10 and Interstate 17 are the 2 major freeways. We’ve given you a bit of a lowdown on where these roads can take you:
Interstate 10 – This is the most expansive east-west connection in the US. Major cities that you can plug into are Los Angeles, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Gulfport, Mobile, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville.
Interstate 17 – This road runs over Arizona in the north-south direction and connects Phoenix to Sedona, Prescott, Flagstaff and The Grand Canyon.
This allows you to prep for a bunch of road trips since the state also has 7 interstate highways that allow you to easily access the neighboring cities in states like California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.
The Valley Metro agency that runs the light rail system in Phoenix also runs the bus service in the city. If you reside in downtown areas of Phoenix, the bus can be a budget-friendly way to get around. The Valley Metro has a trip planner section and the entire bus schedule on their website that helps you take the right bus to get to your destination.
The state’s largest and most extensive airport is the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which happens to be the world’s 7th busiest airport. The major cities namely Tucson, Mesa, Yuma, Prescott and Flagstaff also have their own commercial airports.
Job Market In Arizona
Currently, the population of the state of Arizona is 7.4 MILLION people! We can only imagine the millions of people needed to service a state with a population that’s already this big and still growing everyday. So it should come as no surprise that jobs linked with the service sector of Arizona are the big industries that are constantly in need of employees.
Few of the industries that have a high demand for candidates are the transport & construction companies, healthcare & educational institutions, hospitality establishments and financial corporations.
Banner Health, The University of Arizona, Swift Transportation, U-Haul, PetSmart, Insight Enterprises are some of the big companies that have headquarters in the state of Arizona. If anything, these guys are the key players in helping old and new residents find lucrative job opportunities.
Renting in Arizona
It is considered that housing in Arizona is very affordable. Something that backs this is the amount of $1,495 as the median rent of homes in the state. Such a price range could look extremely attractive for those moving from the neighboring states like California. Depending on the state you’re coming from, the rent prices of Arizona could seem more or less appealing to you.
To put things more into perspective, let’s look at reports by HomeSnacks and Zillow.
The average median rent for:
- 1 bedroom home in Arizona – $1,191
- 1 bedroom home in California – $2,100
- 4 bedroom home in Arizona – $1,600
- 4 bedroom home in California – $3,150
In the case above, there’s a higher possibility of renting a larger place in Arizona, considering how you would be getting more for your money. We recommend doing a similar analysis if you are thinking of renting a place in Arizona.
Cost Of Living In Arizona
To decide if Arizona is the right move for you, it is necessary to do a comparative analysis of the cost of living in your current hometown vs the city you choose to live in Arizona. In general, we’d like to share that there’s a high chance you would need to pay more for utilities in the state of Arizona. Since you’ll be dealing with temperatures well over 100 degrees, you’re most likely going to be using that air conditioner for way more hours which ultimately means a high number on your energy bill. Average utility bills in Arizona are $128/month
Costs for transportation, groceries, healthcare and taxes in some of the biggest cities like Phoenix is actually on par with the national average cost in the US. However, in certain suburbs the cost of living can be far cheaper than the national average.
To put things in perspective here is a comparison of cities from 2 distinct areas –
- Median value of homes in Phoenix – $283,594
- Cost of utility bill for 1 month in Phoenix – $161
- Median value of homes in Bullhead City – $224,984
- Cost of utility bill for 1 month in Bullhead City – $148
These are just estimated costs to convey that depending on the city you’re moving to, the cost can get higher. If you’re not sure which city would be the perfect match for you, read further to find a list of the top cities of the state.
Top Cities To Move To In Arizona
Tucson is presently the second largest city in Arizona and is recognised as the ‘City Of Gastronomy’ by UNESCO. Now doesn’t that speak volumes about the city’s culinary heritage? This part of the town is also home to museums, art galleries, The University of Arizona, historical landmarks and much more. Both Saguaro National Park and Sabino Canyon serve as recreation areas, giving you the opportunity to hike and camp by the scenic canyons. You also won’t have to worry much about transportation, since Tucson has a single-line streetcar system known as the Sunlink. It’s meant to help residents and visitors stay connected to the popular areas of the city.
Median price of homes sold: $219,800
Median rent: $950
The town of Chandler is part of the suburbs of the larger Phoenix metropolitan area. Students, professionals and families who move to this part of the state get to enjoy the perks of the big city Phoenix, but also take advantage of the vibrant community life and family-friendly nature of the suburbs. It is considered that Chandler is the perfect hub for professionals and those who are moving to Arizona with their families. All of this because the schools in this district have a good reputation. To add to that, Phoenix is just a drive away. The city has also been ranked as the second best suburb to live in Arizona and it is extremely common to find a ton of parks and coffee shops in the area.
Median price of homes sold: $368,266
Median rent: $1390
The city of Scottsdale is considered the ‘Beverly Hills of the Desert’ because of the upscale and premium make of homes, shops and nightlife here. The grocery prices also round up to being 5% higher than the national average. A good deal of luxury homes, affluent shopping malls, fancy restaurants, spa resorts, golf clubs can be found in the area. Scottsdale could be a great option for those who can afford to live here since housing can be extremely expensive. Although Scottsdale is an expensive city in Arizona, the lifestyle is top-notch and it’s possible that it could be an affordable luxury for few.
Median price of homes sold: $545,828
Median rent: $1598
The town of Tempe is surrounded by the major cities of Arizona, with Phoenix in the west, Scottsdale in the north, Mesa in the east and Chander to the south. Tempe is centrally located and isn’t far from all the hotspots. The dozens of parks, restaurants and nature trails are few of the advantages of living in this part of Arizona. You’ll find that the North side of Tempe is populated by students, because of the close proximity to the university of Arizona. So there’s definitely lots of college students occupying the town. However, the location works in favour of finding jobs in the big cities, enjoying the vibrant culture and affordability of the place.
Median price of homes sold: $331,288
Median rent: $1419
Buckeye is presently the fastest growing city of the state of Arizona. Thousands of people who consider moving to this state from all over the world have their eyes on Buckeye, which is why moving here would mean experiencing an extremely diverse culture. You can also get more for the bucks in this part of town since housing is comparatively cheaper. The city has some of the safest communities and drive time to bigger metropolitan areas isn’t a hassle. Some of the most popular neighborhoods to consider are Sundance, Sun City Festival, Verrado and Festival Foothills.
Median price of homes sold: $271,716
Median rent: $1,106
Our Take On Arizona
Arizona is currently the third fastest growing state in the US and is rapidly increasing in population along with a steady economy. Moreover, the state is also massive in size and incredibly beautiful with ridiculously nice weather most of the year. It’s home to the marvelous Grand Canyon, Colorado river and innumerable desert towns like Sedona. We believe that Arizona has a huge deal of advantages, which is why it has attracted and grown to a population of 7.4 million people. Now that you know enough about Arizona, do you have reasons to call this state your home? If the answer is yes, you might want to take the next step and read about getting an Arizona DMV Change Of Address done if you plan to move with your own vehicle.