Are you thinking of moving from your current location? Then, you might want to consider Arizona. The Grand Canyon state is a lovely place to live with weather that ensures you’re never cold. But is Arizona expensive to live in?
The cost of living in Arizona is 2.2% higher than average nationwide. That might seem expensive, but the state is cheaper than its neighbors. Housing, utilities, transportation, and healthcare cost more than the national average, while food and taxes are lower. However, its economy is weak.
Regardless, the state is a great place to live, especially for retirees, due to its warm weather and low taxes. Here, we discuss whether Arizona is expensive to live in.
Cost of Living in Arizona
Whether a place is expensive will depend largely on where you’re moving from. For example, it’s far cheaper than Hawaii or California. But it’s less expensive compared to other states such as North Carolina. The cost-of-living index here is 2.2% above the average nationwide, which is fair by some standards. Many things are cheaper here than the national average. The most notable is groceries.
Overview Of Living Costs In Arizona
If you’re planning to move to Arizona, you should know how much you’ll spend on the essentials.
Arizona’s cost of homes is more than the national average by 7.8%. In dollars, the typical value of a home here exceeds that of the national average by almost $100k. The average home price on Zillow is $445,126. This is mostly due to the high cost of homes in major cities such as Phoenix, Sedona, and Flagstaff. You’ll still find more affordable homes in smaller cities. If you’re choosing to rent, the average monthly rent in Phoenix is $1,547. Of course, you can’t use Phoenix as a sample for the whole state. There are cheaper options. But one thing is certain here: Arizona housing prices are rising. Housing costs in Flagstaff are also 21% above that of Phoenix.
This is another costly expense in Arizona. In 2018, research by Colin Holmes on The Cost of Utilities showed that Arizona residents pay around $440 per month. You can be sure that the costs are much higher now. Utilities include electricity, water, internet, cable, and natural gas. Although it’s not the most expensive state, it’s still above the national average. The high cost of utilities here is due to the higher energy use for cooling during summer. The state has a dry and hot climate where air conditioning isn’t negotiable during the summer. Temperature can go as high as 100 degrees or even high. So it can be very uncomfortable.
In Arizona, you’ll pay less for food. Groceries in the state cost about 4% below the national average. This means that the cost of eating at home is around $3,999. That’s a fair amount to spend on food compared to several other places in the US. Eating at home will save you money. Arizonians spend $2,795 annually eating out. This put them in a lower percentile compared to New York, California, Massachusetts, and Colorado, where residents spend more eating out. The average men’s price in Arizona is $10.10.
The estimates of how much Arizonans spend on healthcare differ. While BestPlaces claim that the state healthcare costs are 4.8% lower than the national average, Business insider disagrees. According to its 2019 report, the state is the fourth highest in the US, costing $8,060 annually. But it also depends on location. One of the most affordable places for healthcare in the state is Phoenix. Visiting a doctor in Phoenix costs much less than in other cities such as Tucson. A doctor visit in Flagstaff will cost you $137.50, while the same will cost $99 in Phoenix.
Bigger cities are usually costlier to live in. But they have one advantage, a good transportation system. This is also true for Phoenix, which has a great transportation system. Your expenses on transportation annually are 7% above the national average. One of the ways to reduce your transportation costs is by using buses. In Tucson, the 30-day SunGO card costs 48%, and the Phoenix valley metro costs $64 for a 31-day pass. Transportation is 22% higher in Flagstaff. So, Flagstaff is one of the most expensive places you can live in the state.
Arizona has low taxes, which is one reason that makes it desirable. There are no estate taxes, so retirees have nothing to worry about. Income taxes are between 2.59 to 4.50%, and the combined sales tax is an average of 8.40%. The property tax rate here is 0.65%. When it comes to the tax burden in the US, the state is average.
Should You Move to Arizona?
Arizona is one of the finest states for retirees, and that’s understandable. It promises a beautiful climate where the weather is warm throughout the year. There are also several natural landmarks here, and if you like Mexican food, you’ll enjoy living here.
There’s also a bit of art and culture in the state. It has several art galleries and museums, one of the things that make it most attractive for people who move here. Compared to nearby states of California and Nevada, Arizona is a more affordable option, even if it’s not the most interesting option.
If the cost of living is the most important criterion on your list and you want a warm state, Arizona is a fine choice. It only receives about 4 inches of snow annually and has over 200 sunny days.
However, the state economy is weak. Its per capita income was $27,724 in 2020, while the median household income was $49,475. It also has a high poverty rate. So, it might not be the best place for you early in your career.
If you’re looking for warm weather for most of the year, Arizona is a fine place for you to consider. Although it’s slightly more expensive than the national average, it’s cheaper than its neighboring states.