Phoenix, Arizona, has been growing in both size and reputation. And while The Valley has long drawn older people for year-round sunshine, now their secret is out, with younger folk and families also prizing the area’s good cost of living and housing plus the employment and recreational opportunities. But what exactly are the pros and cons of living in Phoenix?

Phoenix and its wider metropolitan area have been winning many plaudits in recent times. With a diverse job market including a sizable high-tech sector and an unemployment rate generally below the national average, it is proving to be a great place for working millennials and families. And homes here, even those with several bedrooms, can be good value compared to those in other parts of the country. If you are considering a move, think about maximizing your life in Metro Phoenix.

Trading a 2-bedroom for a 4-bedroom home: Phoenix is the best value

Home sizes have been shrinking a little in Phoenix. The average house size dropped from 2,553 square feet in 2010 to 2,386 square feet in 2019 — only San Diego, CA, and Denver, CO, saw higher increases. Apartments in Phoenix also dropped a little in size during the same period, from 944 to 869 square feet. However, the latest average is still significantly larger than the equivalent figures in places such as New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington DC and Chicago, where the averages are less than 800 square feet.

However, the great news is that you can still live large in Metro Phoenix! Among the nation’s biggest metro areas, The Valley has the lowest home price difference between the costs of 4-bedroom and 2-bedroom homes. The former would have cost an average of $440,300 a year or so ago, while the latter cost an average of $308,200, making moving up to larger home a very attractive option for expanding families in Phoenix. In contrast to this price differential of 43%, Greater St. Louis is at the other end of the spectrum with a 143% difference.

Metro Phoenix has top destinations for both snowbirds and youngsters

As Phoenix weather is famously good when other parts of America are cold, retirees there appreciate the winter warmth and lower bills. The area registers no fewer than seven top-100 top snowbird destinations, equal #1 with California’s Los Angeles metro area. Apache Junction, in the east of Metro Phoenix, ranks best nationally at #5, having a very high provision of seasonal housing and low average residential rents. Staying at one of the area’s many RV campsites is another great option, and space there can be extended by renting a Phoenix self storage unit — they are plentiful and cost below the national average.

In recent times, Phoenix has become a magnet for young people and has been praised as the nation’s best city for millennials and a very good one for jobs. It is no surprise that it recently overtook Philadelphia to become the US’s fifth-largest city. Internet connectivity is excellent throughout the metropolitan area, with the city of Phoenix scoring the #4 spot for internet speed, boosting the employment market, both for regular employees and for those who work from home — the metro has been rated in the top-20 of technologically well-prepared metros.

Phoenix attracts other city dwellers but it’s suburbanites like to stay put!

In addition to a vibrant city center, Metro Phoenix’s satellite cities and suburbs are highly appreciated. In fact, a survey of renter applications demonstrated that the city of Phoenix attracts the fewest newcomers from suburbs, just 23% — by comparison, Columbus, Ohio, is the US city that attracts the most, 77%. Other Arizonan cities are the places that new city-center Phoenicians most often come from, especially Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and Tucson. Residents of Phoenix’s suburbs, on the other hand, seem very happy there and do not want to leave!

The list of Phoenix’s finest suburbs includes Desert Ridge, the Biltmore area and parts of Paradise Valley, and then there is the historic downtown Roosevelt Row district. Average home prices in these up-market areas, however, tend to range between $500K and $1M, which is considerably less than in some other exclusive neighborhoods around the nation. In addition, without a car, public transportation in the Phoenix area often costs a lot less than in other major cities — as a proportion of median earnings, about two thirds the cost in New York and Los Angeles, for example.

Phoenix Arizona viewed from South Mountain
Phoenix Arizona viewed from South Mountain

Is phoenix a good place to live? The Phoenix metropolitan area backs up its accelerating reputation with figures that prove it is an excellent and cost-effective place to live for people of all ages. It ranks high in many assessments of living conditions and its housing can offer more than other sought-after places can. Whatever your age, profession or household status, can find what you need to live large in Metro Phoenix.


Francis Chantree is a writer and editor for Yardi, focusing on real estate and lifestyle content. He is a former programmer and researcher who exchanged computer language for his greatest passion, human language! When not writing and proofreading text, he can be found gardening and reading.

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