Moving to Tempe

A resort city turned vibrant metropolis that’s only a short drive from Phoenix, Tempe has an active yet laid-back atmosphere that makes it a wonderful place to call home. You’ll find great food, a variety of outdoor adventures, welcoming neighborhoods, and an exciting arts scene. Ranked 18th on Livability’s ‘Top 100 Places to Live in the United States’, Tempe is a fast-growing city with vigorous companies that attract young professionals.

Located 20 minutes east of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), downtown Tempe has a wide variety of activities to suit whatever your interests may be. Enjoy the cafes and restaurants that surround the Arizona State University (ASU) campus, rent a kayak on the Tempe Town Lake, bike in Papago Park, visit the ASU Art Museum, and see a show at the ASU Gammage, a historic performing arts theatre designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Whether your passions thrive in the outdoors or the fine arts, there’s no shortage of great things to do in Tempe, AZ.

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Living in Tempe, AZ: What to Know Before Moving to Tempe

Located in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Tempe is an inner suburb situated between the city of Phoenix and East Valley. As of 2017, over 185,038 people resided in Tempe, making it the 8th most populous city in Arizona. Ranked 18th on Livability’s ‘Top 100 Places to Live in the United States’ in 2019, Tempe draws its unique, vibrant, and progressive character from the campus of Arizona State University.

PROS and CONS of Living in Tempe, Arizona

Pros:

  • Growing economy
  • Pleasant winters
  • Nearby international airport
  • Youthful character
  • Rich culinary and fine arts options

Cons:

  • Intense summer heat
  • Urban sprawl
  • Rising housing prices
  • Moderately high to high property crime

Tax Rates

  • Property tax: Residents of Tempe pay an average tax rate of .80% (Maricopa County) compared to the average rate of .84% across Arizona. Based on the median home value in Tempe of $291,100, residents pay approximately $2,335 in property tax each year. Actual tax rates might vary due to special tax districts across Maricopa County.
  • Sales tax: The Arizona sales tax rate is 5.6%. With the 0.7% sales tax rate of Maricopa County and 1.8% sales tax rate of Tempe, you’ll pay a combined sales tax rate of 8.1% in Tempe.
  • Income tax: Taxpayers in Arizona pay below-average income tax rates. Like federal income tax, Arizona collects income tax in five brackets, from rates of 2.59% to 4.54%.

Housing Market

If you’re planning to buy a home in Tempe, expect higher housing prices due to recent increases in Tempe home values. The median home value has risen 6.0% in the past year and is $290,000 as of December 2018.

If you plan to rent an apartment, average rent in Tempe is $1,305 per month, a 4% increase compared to 2018, at an average apartment size of 923 square feet. The most affordable neighborhoods are Shalimar, Tempe Gardens, and Wood Park, while the most expensive are Sandahl, Warner Ranch, and Rio. Despite these indicators, make sure to see our neighborhood recommendations at the bottom of this page.

Cost Of Living

According to bestplaces.net, the cost of living in Tempe, AZ is slightly higher than the average cost of living in Arizona and the nation. You can expect to pay a bit less for groceries but more for housing, transportation, and healthcare relative to state and national averages.

A family of four with two adults and two kids, should budget around $7,587 a month to cover costs associated with housing, food, child care, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and other necessities. With an aggregate cost of living at $91,045 per year, a typical family of this size with two working parents will need to earn this amount to cover annual spending in Tempe.

Climate and Weather

It’s safe to say you’ll want a Tempe property with great air conditioning. July is the hottest month, with an average high of about 115 degrees Fahrenheit. July lows will drop down to about 75 degrees. December and January are the coolest months with average highs of about 68 — 70 degrees and lows of around 38 — 39.

Not a fan of rain? Lucky for you, Tempe’s annual rainfall is just over 9 inches which is significantly lower than the national average of 30″. The rain can fall in the form of dramatic thunderstorms. Tempe residents enjoy 300 days of sunshine per year, more than 90 days above the national average, and higher average temperatures year-round. With pleasantly temperate weather throughout the fall and winter months, Tempe rarely receives snow.

Natural disasters are also rare. However, summer thunderstorms can sometimes be intense. Hail, flooding, and strong winds are the most common weather effects than can cause potential damage in the Tempe area.

With scorching hot pavement during summers, your dog’s paws can get badly burned very quickly. You won’t want to go barefoot either. Be aware of hot pavement when you’re considering walking your pooch.

Economy And Job Prospects

Tempe has a booming job market; the unemployment rate is lower than the national average at 3.8%, and the city has seen its job market increase by 3.3% in the past year. Projections of future job growth over the next decade predict the Tempe job market will expand by approximately 45%. Median household income is $48,183 a year, and the average individual income is $29,064.

Major industries in the Tempe area are healthcare, biotechnology, technology, advanced manufacturing, business services, and tourism.

A number of outstanding employers in Tempe have received Tempe Equal Pay Business Designation. These companies include Landings Credit Union, GoDaddy, Architekton Inc., Mulligan’s Manor, and Mountain Park Health Center.

The largest employers by category are:

  • Education — Arizona State University
  • Business services — State Farm Insurance
  • Utilities — Salt River Project
  • Financial services — Wells Fargo

For more information about Tempe’s economy, visit the city’s webpage on economic development.

Traffic And Transportation

Arizona’s expansive interstate and state highway systems make traveling throughout Tempe and the greater Phoenix area efficient and easy, but traffic snarls can lengthen your commute. I-10 runs along the western edge of the city and connects to I-17, leading directly into the heart of Tempe. Loop 101 runs along Tempe’s eastern border, and US Route 60 runs east-west though the city’s center.

Automobiles are the most popular form of transportation, and the average commute for Tempe residents is approximately 20 minutes, significantly shorter than the national average. Don’t feel like driving? Tempe has an efficient public transportation system. Valley Metro Rail operates 365 days a year between downtown and Arizona State University. Valley Metro operates bus routes throughout the city.

If you prefer to get around on your bike, you’ll love Tempe. With over 215 miles of bikeways, the city prides itself on its status as Gold Level Bike Friendly, a certification granted to the city by the League of American Bicyclists.

What To Do

Tempe Nightlife

Whether it’s to unwind after a long day of work or to enjoy an exciting evening at Tempe’s lively bars and restaurants, you’ll find no shortage of excellent nightlife opportunities in Tempe. Enjoy great food along downtown’s iconic Mill Avenue, listen to free live music each week at The Marquee and Tempe Marketplace, or grab a drink at one of Tempe’s popular breweries, such as the Four Peaks Brewing Co, Gordon Biersch Brewery, or the Pedal Haus Brewery. Tempe is also home to a varied culinary scene. Be sure to try the pizza at the award-winning House of Tricks.

History and Culture

The city of Tempe, named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece, has a long history dating back to the fifteenth century when Hohokam people colonized the area. Be sure to hike to the prehistoric drawings on “A” mountain, visit the Arizona Heritage Center to learn about the development of metropolitan Phoenix, and wander through the highly-rated Tempe History Museum.

Outdoor Recreation

There’s something for every outdoor enthusiast in Tempe. Pedestrians and cyclists appreciate Tempe’s 215+ miles of paths for a morning jog or a long day of cycling. If you take interest in hiking, Tempe’s “A” Mountain provides a scenic view of downtown, and popular trails can be found in nearby Papago Park, Piestawa Peak, and Camelback Mountain. Tempe Town Lake has over five miles of shoreline; Kayaking, fishing, and boating are popular pastimes. Saguaro Lake, about 45 minutes south, is surrounded by steep canyon walls studded with saguaro cacti. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot bighorn sheep and wild horses in this area. For sports enthusiasts, the newly renovated Kiwanis Park has well-maintained tennis courts, 10 batting cages, and a new heated indoor pool.

Professional Sports

The Tempe area prides itself as the spring training location of the Los Angeles Angels, with multiple dates available for the public to observe team training. Additionally, the Arizona Cardinals Football Club play at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, only a 25-minute drive away from the city center. Not only are there multiple opportunities to support your favorite football or baseball team, Glendale also hosts games of the National Hockey League’s Coyotes, as well as Major League Baseball’s Diamondbacks. Don’t forget that Tempe is also home to Arizona State University, home of the ASU Sun Devils basketball team.

Theatre and the Arts

The most prominent feature of Tempe’s fine arts scene is the Arizona State University Art Museum.  With multiple visiting exhibitions each year, this museum is well-known for featuring thought-provoking and creative collections. The ASU Art Museum Ceramics Center contains an impressive collection of artworks; many of the ceramicists have made significant contributions to the world of sculpture.

The ASU Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium is a multipurpose performing arts center that produces the best of Tempe’s Broadway productions. Tempe also hosts its own “Innings” Music Festival, attracting a wide range of artists from around the United States. Whether you’re a fan of baseball or live music, make sure not to miss it.

Schools and Universities

With three independent school districts in the Tempe area, standardized testing scores are higher than those of neighboring cities in Arizona.

Major colleges and universities in Tempe include the University of Arizona, Phoenix; Arizona State University, Tempe; and Rio Salado University. 92% of Tempe residents have a high school diploma or higher, and 44% of Tempe residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher education.

Crime

According to bestplaces.net, Tempe experiences significantly high property crime rates. Ranked on a scale from 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest, Tempe violent crime is rated 26.2 compared to the US average of 22.7. Property crime is rated 62.7 compared to the US average of 35.4.

However, the Tempe police department is dedicated to reducing crime. In 2016, the rate of property crime in Tempe decreased by over 6%.  The Tempe police department provides crime reports and crime mapping through their website.

Utility Providers

Take it from us, it’s much easier to move in when your utilities are all in order. Here’s information about the city’s primary utilities providers:

  • Electricity: Electricity in Tempe is provided by the Salt River Project (SRP).
  • Gas: Southwest Gas provides gas to most of Tempe. Visit their website for more information and to start your service.
  • Water and Garbage Collection: The City of Tempe operates its own Water Utility as well as weekly garbage collection for all single-family homes.
  • Internet and Cable: Several internet and cable providers are available in the Tempe area. These include Spectrum, Cox Communications, CenturyLink, and Viasat.

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Best Neighborhoods in Tempe, AZ

Alta Mira

With excellent curb appeal due to its great sidewalks and tasteful mission roof tiling, Alta Mira is an enviable location to call home. Ranked the #1 ‘Best Neighborhood to Live In for 2019’ by HomeSnacks, Alta Mira offers an excellent balance between affordability, safety, great schooling, and easy access to local amenities.

The majority of Alta Mira homes are single-family and 94% of residents own their homes. However, other properties, such as attached homes, condominiums, townhouses, and lofts are sometimes available. The median household income of Alta Mira residents is $105,512 and the median home value is $341,650. As of June 2019, there were zero properties listed for rent on top websites so it will be challenging to find properties for rent in Alta Mira.

Receiving an A+ on AreaVibes for local amenities, the neighborhood is located near two shopping centers with grocery stores, a wide variety of restaurants, fitness centers, and banks. Alta Mira also has access to three nearby parks, including Goodwin Park, centered in the neighborhood.

  • Population – Approximately 1500
  • Home Prices – Median home value $341,650
  • Employment – Great employment opportunities are available to Alta Mira residents in the financial, insurance, education, health, and social service industries
  • Schools – Corona Del Sol High School, Kyrene Aprende Middle School, Kyrene del Cielo School, Kyrene Elementary School, and Tempe Union High School

Something to try: Enjoy Alta Mira’s Arts in the Park festival in Goodwin Park. If you have children, celebrate the end of each school year with a neighborhood popsicle party.

Dava-Lakeshore

Ranked both the #1 ‘Neighborhood to Live in Tempe’ and the #1 ‘Neighborhood to Live in Arizona’ by AreaVibes.com, the Dava-Lakeshore lifestyle is hard to beat. Located near a plethora of local amenities at the corner of East Elliot Road and South McClintock Drive, you’ll have access to great restaurants, supermarkets, a cinema, and healthcare services just a short drive from home. Residents are also a short walk away from Corbell Park, a recently renovated greenspace with a playground, accessible walkways, and picnic ramadas. There’s fun for the whole family.

Dava-Lakeshore is an ideal location if you’re seeking to rent an apartment or purchase a single-family home. Median rent in Dava-Lakeshore is $1,145, considerably lower than median rent in Tempe, despite the neighborhood’s excellent access to local amenities and strong employment opportunities. Median household income of Dava-Lakeshore residents is $80,292, and 73% of residents own their home. For those looking for neighborhood safety, Dava-Lakeshore scores an A+ on AreaVibes.com for its crime rates far below those across Tempe.

Receiving a C+ from AreaVibes.com for its quality of local education, public schools in Dava-Lakeshore are somewhat weaker than those in other Tempe neighborhoods. Local schools, including Kyrene de los Ninos School, Kyrene Middle School, and Marcos De Niza High School, all receive a 5 or above from GreatSchools.org.

  • Population – Approximately 1,100
  • Home Prices – Median home price of $267,000
  • Employment – Receiving a B for employment from AreaVibes.com, a large number of residents work in wholesale and retail services, while the majority of residents work in a wide variety of other industries.
  • Schools – Kyrene de los Ninos School, Kyrene Middle School, and Marcos De Niza High School

Something to try: Have a picnic, take a walk, or play basketball at the courts in nearby Corbell Park.

Cyprus-Southwest

Snagging the #2 spot for ‘Best Neighborhood to Live in Tempe’ and the ‘Best Neighborhood to Live in Arizona’ by AreaVibes.com, Cyrus-Southwest is located in south central Tempe and boasts a very low crime rate and convenient access to local freeways and neighborhood amenities. With great schools and a diverse array of architectural styles, Cyprus-Southwest should be enticing to any future Tempe resident.

Offering a significant number of opportunities to rent living space, just 57% of Cyrus-Southwest residents own a home. The median rent price in Cyprus-Southwest is $888, considerably lower than general Tempe rent prices. Despite the neighborhood’s median household income of $50,680, the median list price of homes in Cyprus-Southwest is $320,000, making the neighborhood relatively pricey for potential homeowners.

The neighborhood is surrounded by great green spaces, public libraries, the Tempe History Museum, and shopping outlets. A perk of Cyprus-Southwest is its access to strong public education;  the neighborhood receives an A- in the quality of its public schooling by AreaVibes.com.

  • Population – Approximately 2,000
  • Home Prices – Median home price $320,000
  • Employment – Cyprus-Southwest offers a wide variety of employment opportunities across various industries. Primary industries include wholesale and retail services, financial and insurance services, education, health, and social services
  • Schools – Hudson Elementary School, Connolly Middle School, and McClintock High School

Something to try: Take a trip to the nearby Tempe History Museum to learn about the background of your new city.

Camelot Village

Camelot Village is a beautiful Tempe neighborhood with a strong sense of community built around the neighborhood’s voluntary homeowners association. With events like yearly Fourth of July and Halloween parties, ice cream socials, and community beautification efforts, Camelot Village is an active and welcoming community.

Receiving a 9.5/10 on HomeSnacks, Camelot Village scores highly for its strong local employment opportunities, safety, and access to local amenities. The median household income is $71,100, and median home value is $324,000. 54% of Camelot Village residents own their home, making the neighborhood a great place to look for an apartment or condominium. The neighborhood has easy access to numerous local amenities, including supermarkets, gyms, and coffee shops.

  • Population – Approximately 1,500
  • Home Value  – Median home value $324,000
  • Employment – Camelot Village residents are employed primarily in the manufacturing sector and retail services
  • Schools – C.I. Waggoner Elementary School, Kyrene Middle School, Corona Del Sol High School

Something to try: Take a stroll through Camelot Village’s carefully landscaped streets to enjoy the beautiful trees, desert flowers, and cacti.

Sandahl Homes

Taking the #2 spot for ‘Best Tempe Neighborhoods to Live In for 2019’ on HomeSnacks, Sandahl Homes is a well-established community that offers excellent employment opportunities, low crime rates, and easy access to great local amenities. With a cost of living 20% higher than the national average and high property values, the perks of this neighborhood don’t come without a price.

With most homes built between 1981 and 1995, houses in Sandahl Homes are typically single-family residences that reflect a wide variety of architectural designs and styles. The median home value is $375,400, and with 95% of Sandahl Homes residents owning their home, there are few rental opportunities available. If you happen to find one, expect to pay a median rent price of $1,406.

Almost every intersection surrounding Sandahl Homes is packed with local amenities, including bars, restaurants, gyms, shops, and gas stations. Adjacent to Sandahl Homes is the Ken McDonald Golf Course, an 18-hole course that’s a favorite of Arizona golfers.

  • Population – Approximately 1,000
  • Home Value  – Median home value of $375,400
  • Employment – Manufacturing sector, financial and insurance services, education, health, and social services
  • Schools – C.I. Waggoner Elementary School, Kyrene Middle School, Corona Del Sol High School

Something to try: Go for a day of golf at the Ken McDonald Golf Course. Just a beginner? Not to worry. The course is well known for being suited to all levels of skill and experience.

Warner Estates

A highly affluent neighborhood with expansive and competitively priced homes, Warner Estates has stunning curb appeal due its stylish homes, elegant trees, and neat lawns.

With a median household income of $153,250, the median home value is $601,200. Reflecting a wide variety of styles and interiors, most homes were built between 1981 to 2004. Lot sizes of these homes tend to be around 5 acres.

Despite access to great local amenities, Warner Estates residents pay a premium for these services with a cost of living 43% higher than the national average.

  • Population – Approximately 500
  • Home Value  – Median home value $601,200
  • Employment – Receives an A+ from AreaVibes.com for great local employment opportunities
  • Schools – C.I. Waggoner Elementary School, Kyrene Elementary School District, Kyrene Middle School, Corona Del Sol High School, Tempe Union High School District

Something to try: Enjoy a picnic at the nearby Estrada Park, located across South McClintock from Warner Estates.

Tally Ho Farms North

If you’re looking for larger property sizes and homes, Tally Ho Farms North is a great place to start your search. An affluent community ranked the #4 ‘Best Neighborhood to Live In for 2019’ by HomeSnacks, Tally Ho Farms North is one of the few communities in Tempe that allows the ownership of horses and chickens. With no local homeowner’s association, you’ll also be free from any monthly dues.

With a median household income of $160,833, residents’ income is 213% higher than the average household income of Arizona residents. The median home value is very high at $579,500, and 96% of residents own their home. The neighborhood’s great curb appeal, neat sidewalks, paddocks of horses, and large yards dotted with casitas create an attractive physical setting in which to live.

Tally Ho Farms North received an A+ from AreaVibes.com for access to great amenities. The neighborhood is a short drive from numerous shops, supermarkets, gyms, and cafes.

  • Population – Approximately 500
  • Home Value  – Median home value $579,500
  • Employment – Manufacturing, wholesale and retail services, education, health, and social services
  • Schools – C.I. Waggoner Elementary School, Kyrene Middle School, Corona Del Sol High School

Something to try: Take your dog for a walk (watch for the possibility of burned paws on hot pavement) down the lovely neighborhood sidewalks and stroll past the horses in Buena Vista Ranchos Park.

Raintree

Capping off our list of the best neighborhoods in Tempe is Raintree, a small and quiet neighborhood with excellent access to public education. With a 9/10 on HomeSnacks, Raintree provides a good balance between strong local employment opportunities, safety, local amenities, and affordability. Like Sandahl Homes, Raintree is located near the Ken McDonald Golf Course, a short drive from the Tempe Sports Complex, and Tempe Sports Complex Dog Park.

Here, 96% of residents own their home. The median household income is $160,833 and the median home value in Raintree is $579,500. Raintree’s public schools are perhaps its most attractive feature, touting a graduation rate of 97%, a full 18% higher than that of Arizona and 17% higher than the US national average. With good access to local amenities in the northeast corner of the neighborhood, Raintree is a great place to call home

  • Population – Approximately 450
  • Home Value  – Median home value $579,500
  • Employment – Receives an A+ from AreaVibes.com for great local employment opportunities
  • Schools – C.I. Waggoner Elementary School, Kyrene Middle School, Corona Del Sol High School, Tempe Union District High School

Something to Try: Slather on your sunscreen and head over to Tempe Beach Park on the Salt River for a day of water fun.

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