Arizona Housing Lifestyles

Is Arizona a good place to live? The simple answer is a resounding "YES." 

One of the great things about living in Arizona - particularly in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area - is there are many different housing lifestyles and communities to choose from.  Arizona housing is also unique because it also has a wide variety of price-points, from the super expensive to the very affordable.  In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a state that offers so many communities that cater to almost every taste and pocketbook.

While many of these lifestyle communities are in or around the thriving urban areas, most are world’s unto themselves, reflecting what residents cherish most, be it golf, equestrian activities, boating, a luxurious lifestyle or safety and security. Let’s take a look at some of these lifestyle communities:

Active Adult Communities

Back in the day, retirement communities were just that; a place to check-out so to speak. And the activities, if there were any at all, usually consisted of bingo, canasta and maybe a game of shuffleboard.

How things have changed.

Many of today’s top 55 plus communities put an emphasis on the word “active”. Retirees are up and out and doing things usually associated with their younger years. These recreational activities often include Golf, Pickleball, Tennis, yoga, Pilates, spinning, dance and cooking classes, as well as, cocktail parties around the pool and bus tours to local attractions.

Retirement homes in Arizona abound throughout the sunshine state, especially in the Phoenix Metro area, which we affectionately call the "Valley of the Sun."  Next to Florida, Arizona has more top active adult communities than any other state. Many of these senior living developments are quite affordable too, others not so much.

Gated Communities

Arizona has many of the top gated communities in the U.S. Most are very much like active adult communities but without the large array of planned recreational activities.

Some people prefer gated communities to the more traditional stand-alone single family home because they provide extra level of safety and security. You don’t have to worry about someone sneaking into your garage and taking your car for a joy ride. That almost never happens in guarded, gated communities.

What these developments are selling is peace of mind, which is particularly important to the Snowbirds who flock to their second homes in Arizona for the Winter.

Historic Districts

According to preservationists, the Phoenix metro area is blessed with 35 historic districts. Many people find these districts attractive places to live because of their old world charm.

Some these neighborhoods harken back to Phoenix’s “wild west” days. Buildings in these historic areas often feature ranch style homes or authentic looking “Cowboy-Era” buildings where the only thing missing is the horse tied up out-front.

Other historic areas reflect Arizona’s Hispanic heritage and feature white-washed mission-style homes with red tiled roofs. The Willo neighborhood is one of the area’s largest historic districts and has many Spanish Revival homes. It also has a large number of Tudor and Ranch styles, many dating from the 1920’s and 1930’s.

There are also a number of historic neighborhoods within the Phoenix Historic District that feature quaint pre-war cottages and restored Craftsman bungalows. The Villa Verde area is one of them. The neighborhood called Coronado has a good mix of new and old homes. The one thing everyone likes about Coronado and some other historic districts is their “walkability”. Coronado is located a short stroll from midtown.

Luxury Homes

The Phoenix real estate market encompasses more than its share of luxury homes. These palatal desert mansions – averaging in excess of 6,000 SqFt - can cost a pretty penny. They’d feel right at home in Beverly Hills. In October 2020 a desert estate property sold in the toney gated community of Silverleaf for $26 million. In 2014, the Seller paid $2.35 million for the lot.

Luxury real estate can be found in many of the top lifestyle developments including gated communities of course, but there are also many in airparks and golf course communities.  You can find highest concentration of luxury properties for sale in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.  You'll also want to be sure to check out the executive estate homes located in the East Valley, such as at the Island at Fulton Ranch or at best kept secret of all ... the exclusive Oakwood Hills community with lush green palm trees, a crystal clear spring-fed lake, and a 5-acre island home.

AirPark Properties

Buying in a lifestyle community is special because you get to live your passion, whether its water sports, golfing, or flying. If you are a pilot, an airpark community might be just the place for you. Imagine taxiing your Piper Cub right up to your front door in your hangar home, just as you would with the family car.

Airparks first appeared right after World War II in California. Now there are over 400 across the U.S. Today, airparks, or fly-in communities, are very popular, particularly in Arizona where flying weather is almost an everyday occurrence.

If aviation is your passion and you are interested in moving to an airpark, it’s critical to find a top aviation real estate agent.

Golf Communities

If you were to see the Scottsdale/Phoenix metro area from space, you’d be struck by how many green patches there are sprinkled throughout the metropolitan area. Most of these are golf courses or golfing communities.

Golf communities are among the first lifestyle developments built in the U.S. While their numbers have been receding recently - many are being repurposed to offer a boarder array of recreational activities – they remain one of the most popular lifestyle communities.

For golf enthusiasts, there’s nothing like walking out your front door, hopping on a golf cart and heading for the links. So, if you don’t mind the occasional sound of a golf ball banging against your house, a golf community may just be the place for you.

Waterski and Waterfront Properties

If you told someone you were moving to a waterski or waterfront community in Arizona, they probably would think that you should instead move to a psychiatric facility. Waterskiing in the middle of the desert? Yes, that and more.

Most look like an oasis surrounded by desert sand because they are. Homes are built around artificial lakes and channels where palm trees adorn the neatly laid out streets. Not surprisingly, almost every home has a dock and watercraft.

If your idea of a relaxing afternoon is being pulled by a motorboat at 35-miles an hour, a waterski community might be the place for you.

And you’d be surprised how many of the nation’s best waterfront communities there are in the Phoenix area, including Ocotillo Lakes in Chandler, The Lakes in Tempe, The Islands in Gilbert, Estrella Mountain Ranch in Goodyear, Arrowhead Ranch in Glendale, and many many more lake communities. And its little wonder why they are so popular. If you’ve spent a Summer in Arizona, you’ll know why.

Off-the-Grid Properties

It’s becoming quite popular these days to live a lifestyle that is “eco-friendly”, sustainable and leaves a very small carbon footprint. And there’s no better way to live an earth-friendly lifestyle than to move off-the-grid.

There are plenty of off-the-grid properties to choose from in Arizona. They range in price from a few thousand dollars for a small patch of desert dirt to a 40-acre piece of land that sits on a former gold mine that will cost you in the seven figures.

Moreover, the abundance of sunshine and wind in Arizona makes it easy to power solar panels and windmills. So, if you want to live a “green” lifestyle, this is the place to be.

Farms and Ranches

Who hasn’t fantasied about living in the wide open spaces, galloping atop a horse and being a modern day John Wayne. If there is one iconic image in America it is the cowboy. And every cowboy wants a ranch of their own.

If an equestrian lifestyle is your fancy – Western or English style - Arizona has many ranches for almost every budget.

However, if horses aren’t your passion, but you still want to get “back to the land”, then buying a farm might be thing for you. While farms might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Arizona, the state exports agricultural products to over 70 countries. Moreover, farming contributes $23.3 billion to that state’s economy.

If you find yourself humming the jingle for the hit 1960’s TV series Green Acres - “…farm living is the life for me, land spreading out so far and wide, keep Manhattan just give me that countryside.” – find an expert in agricultural real estate and live your dream.