It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole on YouTube, and when it comes to the topic of moving to Phoenix, there are plenty of videos out there. As more Americans make the trek from different parts of the country, they’re sharing their own takes on how different the experience has been, misconceptions about Phoenix, truths, partial truths and overall impressions of what living in the city has been like for them. There are entire YouTube channels devoted to the topic of Phoenix and its surrounding cities, due to the overwhelming popularity of the area.
You can expect most videos to include the obvious. (Guess what? Phoenix is hot!) But some specificity is fun to learn, like in the case of Richie West’s “10 Things I Wish I Knew About Phoenix” video, where he let viewers know that if they left their car parked for too long in the baking Phoenix sun, the clear coat of their vehicle would peel off.
It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole on YouTube, and when it comes to the topic of moving to Phoenix, there are plenty of videos. As more Americans make the trek from different parts of the country, they’re sharing their own takes on how different the experience has been, misconceptions about Phoenix, truths, partial truths and overall impressions of what living in the city has been like for them. There are entire YouTube channels devoted to the topic of Phoenix and its surrounding cities, due to the overwhelming popularity of the area.
Let’s fall down the rabbit hole, shall we? Here are some notable videos about Phoenix, what it’s like to move to Phoenix and what they wished they had known before coming.
“Phoenix is so massive”
“The first pro is that Phoenix is so massive and it has a flavor for everyone. [Around Phoenix] there are dozens of cities with different price ranges, criteria and vibes. If you want to go hiking or if you want to live near a mountain, we have five or six mountains you can hike around Phoenix. If you like to go fishing, we have two or three lakes in the area. If you’re looking for suburban family life, all of these towns around Phoenix — and including some areas in the city — have newer houses and good school districts. The reason why I think it’s so popular is because there’s such variety here.”
Vidana brings up the point that the popularity of Phoenix has driven up the cost of living, prices are still affordable when compared to other metros.
“Granted, it has grown a lot more expensive over the past year or two, but even so, it’s still really affordable here. Even to this day, when I tell someone our [property] taxes are $1,200 to $1,500, they [say], ‘What, a month?’ No, a year. Less than $2,000 per year. And because of that, our monthly payments tend to be a lot lower. For a decent house [in Phoenix] you might pay $1,300 to $1,600 [in taxes] for a starter home. In my opinion, $2,000-plus means you’re already living in a decent area with a great school district and whatnot. Whereas in other areas of the country, $2,000 is just entry level stuff.”
Jay and Ashlee talk about many features of living in Phoenix on their channel, called “Raye ‘n’ Jay.” In this video, they answer questions from their channel subscribers about what it’s like to live in Phoenix.
One subscriber asks, “I’m looking to relocate with my wife and two kids. Where are the best areas to purchase a single family home?”
“I think there are two questions you have to consider,” said Ashlee. “One: What is your budget; and two: Are you active people looking to get out to do things or are you OK with living far away from the city?” Jay adds: “On a bit of the pricey side, I would say South Chandler, Gilbert and Scottsdale. [Less expensive options] are parts of Queen Creek, Buckeye and parts of Awatukee.” Jay also mentions that Queen Creek and Buckeye have excellent schools.
Jay and Ashlee then took a question about being whether an interracial couple would be comfortable in Phoenix (the channel creators are a BIPOC couple). Jay and Ashlee respond that interracial couples are very common and mention that the area is “becoming more diverse every single day.” They reassure the person that they should feel “right at home.”
The next question is from a single mother of one — she’s also interested in moving to Phoenix but is unsure what the experience might be like.
Jay pointed out that the couple have friends who are single moms and “they get by just fine.” He continued, “There are a lot of different programs and avenues to take if you are looking for help. I would say you’re completely safe [as a single mother] living in the outside areas — the suburbs of the city.
Phoenix is all about the time zones
Santiago stated the lack of daylight savings time to be a great selling point. “Six months out of the year, we’re the same as Mountain Standard Time and for the other six months, we’re on Pacific Standard Time. But our clocks [in Phoenix] never change.”
What are some of Santiago’s other selling points about Phoenix? Great sunsets and an Amazon distribution center in the city “that usually gets packages [to him] within one day.”
Mesa is also serviced by the Phoenix light rail and includes plenty of Mexican influences, especially restaurants. Tech has already arrived in Mesa, adding more jobs to the area.
“Google is looking to build a $1 billion data center in Mesa. Apple already has [one] here.”
Finally, Santiago brought up Mesa’s airport, which, while limited, is beginning to service more cities, and that the site previously served as a military base.
Streed covers the usual topics like weather and things to do, but she added unexpected tidbits into other sections, like transportation. “Probably one of the weirdest things I’ve noticed since moving here is that cars don’t have front license plates,” she said. “I’m not sure why, but it makes it a little bit harder to identify your car from the front.” She also described the speed limits as “a suggestion” and that drivers regularly speed through construction areas.
Streed says the Phoenix population is largely “pretty chill.” “There’s a super unique blend of cultures. You see it reflected in the architecture, in the street art, [it’s great] to be immersed in the southwest culture.” On environment and nature, she expanded beyond the prototypical desert discussion. “Because we’re in a valley, we have mountains in every single direction, and it never gets old to look out and see them. Once you go two hours north of Phoenix, you [see] pine trees, lakes and snow. It’s definitely not what you would expect from this area. It looks far more like the Pacific Northwest. There are lakes that are a stunning juxtaposition of the desert right next to water. They’re one of my favorite features of the area. Then there’s Sedona with the famous red rock buttes, Monument Valley, a meteor crater, ancient Native American dwellings, petrified forests, the painted desert and so much more. My absolute favorite thing about living in Phoenix is that flowers bloom all year long. In the spring, you get wildflowers and the prickly pear cactuses blooming … it’s lovely to be driving down the street and to see so much color, even in January.”
Beginning far north in Anthem, Corbett said, “Anthem is an unincorporated master-planned community. From a location point of view, we are right at I-17 and Daisy Mountain Drive. This is an extremely well-designed and beautiful community. It tends to be very family friendly with all sorts of parks, walking and biking trails, and a huge community centre.” Corbett lists a con as a long commute into the city.
Further south along the Camelback corridor is Arcadia and Corbett claimed it is one of the most highly sought areas of the city. “On the pros side, the entire area sits right in front of Camelback mountain so the views are incredible and you have great access if you like to hike. You are definitely in one of the hot spots when it comes to dining and nightlife. You’re also in the center of two of the best shopping destinations when it comes to the Biltmore and Old Town Scottsdale.”
Corbett continued on discussing Arcadia, extolling the virtues of its lushness and unique older qualities.
“Probably the most appealing part, similar to a lot of older areas of Phoenix, is the mature landscaping and greenery. These areas have been around for quite some time, and they just don’t have the same feel as some of the newer tract home developments and subdivisions.” For Arcadia cons, he mentions rising home prices due to its popularity.
For those looking for something adjacent to downtown but more suitable for families, Corbett recommended Encanto. “If you look just west of the downtown area, you’ll find such a cool neighborhood that is always great to take people to visit. It gives you that midwest or east coast feel, but is right here in the middle of Phoenix. The homes, in particular, are special. There’s just a look to them that is really cool, and isn’t found very often in Phoenix. On top of that, you have a huge neighborhood park with lots of things to do, and it’s perfect for families. On the con side, similar to Arcadia, you’re going to have a higher barrier to entry, and lower cost homes are pretty limited.”
Furthest south on his list, Corbett referenced Ahwatukee, on the south side of South mountain. “On the pros side, this entire area is full of good neighborhoods, great schools, great views and has excellent access for anywhere you need to go in the entire valley. On the cons side, you’re going to have a lot of traffic and affordable housing might be limited.”
“Chandler, Arizona, with its larger population of over 250,000 has a lot to offer. It is one of the more expensive suburbs. However, it offers a range of [homes] from affordable all the way up [to luxury]. Chandler has a huge mall, high-end shopping, fine dining, and a beautiful historic downtown with the world famous San Marcos hotel.
“Even though Scottsdale has a big money reputation, it is very affordable. Scottsdale has amazing nightlife and many great restaurants. The schools are great and there’s lots to do here — hiking, golf, shopping and more.
“Ahwatukee is a cool place to live. It’s affordable and safe. Things happen everywhere but [in Ahwatukee] crime isn’t a huge concern. It has small stores, big box stores, but it doesn’t have stadiums or entertainment venues. But the great part is that all of those things are in close proximity. It’s right next to Tempe, Chandler and downtown Phoenix. It’s close to the [Gila River] casino, resorts and lots of golf. It’s in the Kyrene school district, and it’s a huge draw for this area, because Kyrene is [one of the best] school districts in Phoenix.”
The video also recommended Goodyear as a suburb that’s “family-oriented with a good community … and it has events and festivals.” It’s 30 minutes away from downtown, 15 minutes from the State Farm Stadium where the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals play. “If you’re considering Phoenix and don’t know where to move, make sure you check out Goodyear.”
Big Super Living also did a video about a couple who moved from South Beach, Florida when they were homeless to the Buckeye neighborhood of Phoenix, where they found a safe and pleasant place to own a home.
Stacy and Keeba Reading moved to Phoenix approximately two years ago. They took to the city right away.
We miss the food and the beaches [of Miami] but being in Phoenix is just so peaceful,” Keeba said. “When you’re driving, taking the kids to school or to the grocery store, you’re always seeing something that’s so scenic. Every day is [different]. Even though it’s the same mountains, it gives you a different view and perspective. I’m so thankful we live here. It’s so beautiful.”
The couple had nothing but their clothes, a car and a work start day for Stacy, who had landed a job in Phoenix. They found a place to rent and settled in quickly. For Stacy, finding a job at WalMart so quickly was an enormous blessing.
“They called right away,” Stacy said. “Usually with a job, they can take a while. [Wal-Mart] asked, When can you start?”
Keeba added, [When Big Super posted] that YouTube video about jobs in Arizona, and you were talking about all of the different avenues a person can take to come to [Phoenix] and get a job quickly … the jobs are here. That’s how I knew we were meant to be here. It was just smooth sailing.”
Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to say that everyone wants to move to Phoenix, or is content about their decision to come to the city.
“Everybody wants to move to Phoenix,” Johnson said. “It’s official! It’s the fastest growing major city in the country. No other major population center in the US grew as fast as the Valley of the Sun. There’s 1.6 million people here now, so Phoenix has passed Philadelphia to become our nation’s 5th biggest city.
“They gotta be doing something right, right? Well not necessarily. L.A. Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and San Antonio are also huge sprawling cities and they all suck. Phoenix happens to be the flavor of the year right now, that’s all. Maybe people just need to hear the truth about this place before it’s too late.
“Is Phoenix a soulless, sun scorched landscape of urban sprawl? It is hot, and ugly and full of descrimination. Maybe. But on the bright side, there’s plenty of strip malls and entry level jobs, everyone!”
Johnson listed the desert as being overrated. “Everyone says they want to move here because they want to be outdoors. Phoenix is surrounded by one big, inhospitable and uninviting desert. There are some mountains nearby, but they’re more like desert buttes. It’s hard to find any large, shady areas that aren’t packed with people.”
Johnson also doesn’t think much of the city’s vibe, considering it to be devoid of charm, flat and dusty. He described residents as scurrying from their various air conditioned locations, such as their homes, places of work and supermarkets, and bemoaned the lack of walkability. He also referenced that it’s too hot to bike anywhere for approximately seven months out of the year.
Of course, these opinions and others like them aren’t stopping scores of people from all the United States from moving to Phoenix. The draws continue to outweigh the negatives for those seeking cheaper property taxes, affordable homes and warmer weather.
If you’re looking to buy a new home in Phoenix, there are many different listings to check out in the areas mentioned above. Regardless of whether you’re seeking a small starter home, or if you need something bigger for a growing and extended family, there’s lots to choose from in the city. Here are a few of our favourite listings from Phoenix and the surrounding areas:
Stonehaven Discovery Collection
Location: 8934 West Georgia Avenue, Glendale, AZ
Developer: Taylor Morrison
Price range: $497,990 to $589,990
Size: Three to six bedrooms, 1,715 to 2,961 square feet
Stonehaven Discovery Collection has six different floor plans to choose from, with one or two-storey layouts. Options for two or three-car garages are available. Families will find elementary and high schools within 1.5 miles or less of the community.
Location: 9619 East Solina Avenue, Mesa AZ
Developer: Ashton Woods
Price range: From $515,990 to $779,990
Size: 1,377 to 3,020 square feet
Built by Atlanta-based developer Ashton Woods, Eastmark comprises 11 different floor plans in this single-family community near E Point Twenty-Two Boulevard and Inspirian Parkway. Homes in this development range from 1,377 to 2,668 square feet with three- to six-bedroom layouts. In addition to the community’s walking trails, playground and swimming pool, Eastmark residents will also have access to nearby parks and schools.
North Copper Canyon – The Villas Collection
Location: West Williams Road and North 174th Avenue, Surprise, AZ
Developer: Century Communities
Price range: From $335,990
Size: Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,495 square feet
This ranch-style floor plan in the North Copper Cannon – The Villas Collection features an open concept layout with a dedicated kitchen pantry, great room and a covered patio. The 1495 plan gives buyers the option to convert the third bedroom into a three-bay tandem garage for convenient vehicle storage. Future residents of North Copper Canyon will have access to community amenities such as a shared picnic area, pool, dog park and more.
Reserve at Black Mountain
Location: 8366 East Old Paint Trail, Scottsdale, AZ
Developer: Toll Brothers
Size: 3,236 to 4,981 square feet
Prices: From $2,069,995 to over $2,386,995
The luxury homes at Reserve at Black Mountain feature award-winning design with a combination of modern, contemporary, prairie and mission-style architecture. Built on three-quarters of an acre, these homes deliver backyards with mountain views, a bonus room with a wine area and sliding doors for indoor-outdoor living spaces.
Toll Brothers at Cadence – Montage Collection
Location: 10108 East Tesla Avenue, Mesa, AZ
Developer: Toll Brothers
Price range: From $889,995 to $907,995
Size: 2,631 to 2,687 square feet
With 118 home sites to choose from, the Montage Collection is a luxury single-family neighborhood with four- to six-bedroom home layouts. Buyers can pick from a handful of architectural designs with single- or two-storey layouts, from contemporary farmhouse to ranch-style. Residents in this under-construction Toll Brothers community can make use of the site’s fitness center, sand volleyball court, pool and picnic areas.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a source of entertainment while you make your final decision about moving to Phoenix, YouTube is a great place to start. And remember, if you haven’t been told already: Phoenix is hot. It’s worth stating one more time.