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Your Moving Guide for Phoenix, Arizona and Surrounding Communities

Are you moving to the Phoenix area? You're not alone. Bob McClay, reporter for KTAR-FM, a Phoenix-area radio station, writes, "After a slowdown during the recession, the influx of people moving to the Phoenix area seems to have resumed." His article notes that the American Moving and Storage Association ranks Phoenix second on its list of top cities people are moving to. Only Washington, D.C., is currently attracting more new residents.

Great weather, exciting employment opportunities and inexpensive housing are some of the reasons why the Phoenix real estate market is heating up. McClay reports that for every home listed for sale, there are about 20 people ready to buy it. If the Phoenix area is in your relocation plans, you may need to consider renting or downsizing to a smaller home until you can find your housing ideal. In that case, you may have more stuff than you have space for. Don't despair or sell your things at a loss in a garage sale. Phoenix and its surrounding communities have plenty of self storage facilities, many of them air conditioned, where you can stow your stuff while you look for your dream home.

To help in your search, here are five of the most popular communities you might want to consider.

Phoenix

With a population of 1.4 million, Phoenix is America's sixth-largest city and the urban heart of the southwestern Sunbelt. It's part of Maricopa County, an area about the size of the entire state of New Hampshire. Greater Phoenix, which includes a number of communities, has a population of nearly 4.37 million and covers about 2,000 square miles.

Other than occasional (and welcome) summer rain, you can look forward to sunshine during 85 percent of the daylight hours. It's important to note that Phoenix and most of the rest of Arizona don't observe daylight savings time.

Urban Phoenix is divided into 15 villages. Within that selection, you'll find single-family homes, condos, lofts and townhomes ranging from the high $40,000s in Maryvale to $2.5 million and up in Paradise Valley, according to Toma Partners, a real estate company.

Gilbert

Originally a farming community and once known as the Hay Capital of the World, Gilbert has transitioned into a young, family-oriented and affluent town with a growth rate of 500 percent between 1990 and 2005, according to About.com guide Judy Henning. Gilbert is located in the southeast part of the Greater Phoenix area in what is generally called the East Valley, which is approximately 20 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. One of its main attractions is the SanTan Village Regional Shopping Center, a complex with more than 100 stores anchored by Dillard's and Macy's. Online real estate source Trulia notes that, in 2012, "the median sales price for homes in Gilbert, AZ, for November 12 to January 13 was $225,000 based on 1,593 home sales.

Glendale

You'll find Glendale just west of Phoenix. Median home prices between November 2012 and January 2013 were listed at $137,000 on Trulia. ArizonaKey.com calls Glendale "a small but lively community that attracts visitors from all over the globe, who come to experience the area's natural beauty, annual events and unique attractions." According to GoGlendale.com, those attractions include:

  • The Deer Valley Rock Art Center, home to more than 1,500 ancient petroglyphs
  • University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals play
  • Saguaro Ranch Park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Thunderbird Conservation Park, a popular spot for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and bird-watching
  • WaterDance Fountains at Westgate City Center, the site of six-million-dollar fountains designed by the creators of the Bellagio display in Las Vegas
  • Glendale will host Super Bowl 2015

Mesa

According to VisitMesa.com, when you live in Mesa, "you'll have easy access to the area's most popular natural attractions, including Superstition Mountains, Apache Trail, Salt and Verde Rivers, Usery Mountain Regional park and area lakes." All this is located 12 miles from downtown Phoenix. Mesa is also home to the Arizona Museum of Natural History and the Mesa Arts Center, which hosts local and national theater, concerts and art exhibits. Trulia lists the median Mesa home prices between November 2012 and January 2013 at $146,400.

Scottsdale

A frequent name on lists of best places to live in America, Scottsdale is known for its upscale lifestyle, low crime rates, highly-rated schools and expensive resorts. Located 25 minutes northeast of Phoenix, Scottsdale covers about 185 square miles and has a population of 215,000 people, 22 percent of whom are older than 60. For a city of modest size, CityTownInfo.com notes that "Scottsdale provides a good assortment of arts and entertainment offerings." This includes two casinos, the Desert Botanical Garden, the Main Street Arts District, Old Town Scottsdale, the Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. If you're thinking of making your home in Scottsdale, bring money. Trulia reports that as of February 17, 2013, the average listing price for a home was $874,526.

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