Arizona retirement communities I’ve often wondered why anyone would
choose one of the Arizona retirement communities for their retirement
home. I mean who would want to live in the dessert among the cactus?
Well, after a little research, I began to understand why so many retirees were attracted to this beautiful state.
Location and Climate: Arizona is located in the southwestern United States sharing a border with California and Nevada on the west, Mexico on the south, New Mexico on east and Utah on the north.
For many people, when they think of retiring to one of the Arizona retirement communities, they think of dessert and cactus but, in reality, there is much more to Arizona than desserts. Interestingly, when it comes to metropolitan areas in the lower 48 states, Phoenix has the most days where the temperature reaches or exceeds 100° F in the summertime and 150 miles away in Flagstaff, the average wintertime snowfall is 100.3 inches making it one of the snowiest areas.
The higher elevations run diagonally from the southeast to the northwest of portion of the state. The average elevation here is 7000 ft as opposed to an average elevation of 1200 ft in the dessert areas. The summers are much cooler with the average high temperatures from May thru October averaging between 63° F and 82° F. Unfortunately though, the winters can be brutal with lows averaging in the teens to lower 20's.
The lower altitude areas of the state do consist primarily of desserts where the summers are quite warm (averaging between 90° and 128° F) and the winters are mild (averaging between 40° and 75° F). Due to the arid climate, it doesn't feel as hot as the more humid areas of the country like Florida making it more desirable for many retirees, especially for those with breathing issues. Unfortunately, that same arid climate allows for extreme temperature swings from day to night with variations of as much as 50° in the more urban areas.
As with temperature, precipitation varies widely throughout the state. The higher elevations experience an average of 25 to 30 inches of rain/snow per year while the dessert regions experience 3 to 4 inches of rainfall annually.
Crime: In 2009, both the violent crime rate as well as the property crime rate were both above the national average. Violent crimes were approximately 24% higher and property crimes were approximately 75% higher but due to a downward trend, the 2012 statistics are expected to be lower. According to Neighborhood Scout, if you are considering one of the Arizona retirement communities, the area of the state with the lowest overall crime rate appears to be the northeastern portion of the state.
2009 Median Home Value: $187,700.00
Taxes: The tax burden for Arizona falls close to the middle at #22 when it comes to ranking the states for tax burden. Arizona relies heavily on sales taxes. The average state sales tax of 6.6% and local sales tax rate of 2.52% for a combined average of 9.12%, puts Arizona second only to Tennessee (9.43%) in average sales tax. Property taxes for 2009 were .72% of the assessed value of the property which places it at number 16 for lowest property taxes according to The Tax Foundation.
Affordable Healthcare: Overall ranking of 36th. Arizona offers a Discount Prescription Plan to all residents who are either seniors or disabled and are eligible for Medicare. Here are some of the perks to the plan:
• Discounts of 15% – 55% on generic and brand name prescription drugs. • Income-based eligibility for further discounts available through specific drug manufacturers. • Will cover gaps in the Medicare prescription program. • No formulary – every drug is discounted. • The CoppeRx Card is free – the $9.95 enrollment fee has been eliminated.Cost of Living:
Arizona comes in at number 35 for overall cost of living (3rd quarter of 2011). While not nearly as high as many states in the northeast, it does have the third highest cost of living in the western US. The only states in the west with a higher cost of living are California and Oregon.
Sun City, just outside of Phoenix, is home to one of the largest retirement communities in the US. With its’ 7 recreation centers, 8 golf courses, 3 country clubs, and 2 bowling centers, along with The Sun Bowl, and Viewpoint Lake, Sun City boasts the largest concentration of year round recreational facilities in the U.S.
Prescott, located in northern Arizona, offers retirees a small town feel. It’s conveniently located just 90 miles Northwest of Phoenix near the Prescott National Forest and offers four very mild seasons. You’ll find over a half dozen great golf courses and over 450 miles of hiking trails.
Mesa, located near Phoenix and Scottsdale, has some of the lowest taxes in the state and a very low crime rate. The cost of living is below the national average and it is quickly becoming a popular retirement spot.
Tempe, with a population of less than 200,000, was recently voted as one of America’s best places to retire by US News & World Report. Home to Arizona State University, Tempe has plenty of activities for Active seniors. Besides great sporting events, there are plenty of festivals, museums, art galleries and some great shopping. There’s something for everyone.
Tucson, just 60 miles north of the Mexican border, is the largest city in southern Arizona. The University of Arizona, with an enrollment approaching 40,000 is located in downtown Tucson. Because of Tucson’s very mild winters (39 degrees F for an average low and 65 for an average high in December) many retirees have found it to be the perfect place for a second home.
Yuma, has a lot to offer those considering one of the Arizona retirement communities. Located right on the border of both Mexico and California, there is plenty to do and see. If you’re an adventurer, the Colorado River and the surrounding mountains offers plenty of fishing, hunting, boating, swimming, and rock climbing. Here you’ll find some of the most affordable retirement homes in the state.
If you think one of the Arizona retirement communities may top your list of "Best Places To Retire", I'm sure you can find an Arizona retirement community that's right for you.
For a list of some of the Active Adult Arizona Retirement Communities that we have found, check out our page Active Adult Arizona Retirement Communities.