If the overcast skies and drizzle aren’t doing it, is the high cost of living driving you out of Seattle? Phoenix has close to 300 days of sunshine and a cost of living 66% lower than in Seattle. Plus, PHX has a booming economy with tremendous job growth. 

Imagine the unique lifestyle you can carve out in the Valley of the Sun – you can choose from exciting urban enclaves, historical districts, golf communities, country properties on acreage, and more. But don’t ditch your rain gear yet. First, review the following to gain insight into what a move to Phoenix would be like.

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What to Know About Moving from Seattle to Phoenix

Housing and Cost of Living

Owning a home is much more doable in Phoenix than in Seattle. The median home cost in Seattle is $714,400, but in Phoenix, the median price is a breath of fresh air at $239,400 – an incredible difference of $475,000! Over the past 12 months, Phoenix home appreciation was 8% compared to 5% in Seattle.

Rents are considerably cheaper too. A two-bedroom apartment or house in Seattle rents for an average of $2,108. The equivalent rental in Phoenix averages $1,147

Moving to Phoenix from Seattle means you’ll also be able to enjoy lower basic expenses. Food and groceries will be almost 12% cheaper, and transportation costs will be around 17% lower in Phoenix. However, health costs will be about 8% higher, and because of the need for almost year-round air conditioning, your utilities will cost about 32% more.

The family median income in the US is $70,850. In Seattle, it’s $115,414, and in Phoenix, it’s $60,013. But keep in mind that your housing and living expenses will be much lower in Phoenix, compensating for the lower family median income. 

Taxes

Another cost savings will be in sales and property taxes. You currently pay a 10.1% sales tax in Seattle. The Phoenix sales tax rate is 8.6%.

If you’re a Seattle homeowner, you pay 0.99% property tax. In Phoenix, the property tax rate is 0.77%. Combined with lower housing costs, you can expect a substantial reduction in your annual property tax liability.

Washington doesn’t levy a state income tax, but in Arizona, you’ll pay a progressive income tax over five brackets, ranging between 2.59% and 4.54%.

Economy and Job Growth

Centered around tech, Seattle’s economy is strong and diverse, with 2019 job growth of 2.6%. The Phoenix economy is also diverse, with top industries that include finance, health, aerospace, and tech. At 3.3%, Phoenix’s job growth in 2019 was more robust than in Seattle.

Future job growth in Phoenix looks fantastic. In the next ten years, the average job growth rate for the US is forecast to be 34%. Growth in Seattle for the same period is predicted to be 43.8%, but Phoenix tops both the US average and Seattle with expected growth of 48.2%.

Transportation and Traffic

Seattle has an excellent public transportation system, and while Phoenix also has excellent public transit, it isn’t as extensive as Seattle’s. Metro light rail connects significant points in the Valley of the Sun. It is an excellent choice for residents who want to avoid driving – but even if you choose public transit for your commute, you’ll probably need a car to get around metro Phoenix.

Although not nearly as bad as Seattle’s traffic, which is rated the 9th worst in the country, Phoenix traffic is challenging, so you may want to consider choosing a neighborhood close to work. OK, how bad is it? Phoenix traffic is rated 25th worst in the nation.

Many Seattle neighborhoods are walkable, earning the city a 73 walk score and 70 bike score. Although Phoenix’s historic districts and Downtown are walkable, the city has a below-average walk score of 41, and the bike score is average at 52.

Weather and Climate

If you’re ready to switch out gray skies, misty drizzle, and cold temps for almost perennial sunshine, ideal winter weather, and some severe summer heat, you’ll love Phoenix.

Seattle winters average in the high 40s with lows in the high 30s, and winter storms can drop a few inches of snow. Summer highs average in the mid-70s and lows average in the 50s. Phoenix is a different story altogether.

Winters in Phoenix are delightful and are the reason so many snowbirds soar into the city starting around November. The coldest months are December and January, with average highs of 68 °F, lows of 44 °F, and never any snow. Temps crank up in April when highs average 86 °F, but the hottest month is July, with average highs of a blistering 106 °F, cooling to a toasty 82 °F at night. 

You can ditch the raingear you’ve needed for Seattle’s 38 inches of annual rain. You’ll only get 8 inches of annual rainfall, primarily in the form of summer monsoons, if you move from Seattle to Phoenix. 

Crime Rates

Both Seattle and Phoenix have higher property and violent crime rates than the US average. On a scale from 1 to 100, US property crime is 35, and violent crime is 23. Seattle property crime is 77, and violent crime is 32. In Phoenix, property crime is 53, and violent crime is 38.

Big cities typically have much higher crime rates than smaller cities, and the highest crime usually occurs in touristed areas. Conduct online searches and become familiar with current crime rates for neighborhoods you’re considering. In Phoenix, Central City, Alahambra, and Encanto have higher crime than other areas.

Culture, Diversity, and Demographics

The Phoenix population, at 1,574,421, is more than double Seattle’s population of 688,245. But with about six times more land area than Seattle, the population density in Phoenix is much lower. Phoenix has 3,041 people per square mile compared to Seattle’s 8,207.

Phoenix has more Hispanic residents than Seattle and fewer White and Asian residents. In Seattle, 7% of the population is Hispanic compared to 43% in Phoenix. Seattle has 65% White compared to 42% in Phoenix and 14% Asian compared to 4% in Phoenix. Phoenix also has about three times as many Native American residents as Seattle. Many live on nearby reservations.

Phoenix isn’t the liberal city that Seattle is. In Phoenix, 48% of the population is registered Republican, and 45% are registered Democrat. Seattle is 21% Republican and 70% Democrat. 

Even before you move to Phoenix, it’s helpful to know that the city, like most of Arizona, doesn’t comply with daylight saving time.

Geography

Each city’s nickname reflects its geographical makeup. Seattle, also known as The Emerald City, gets ample rain, which yields a lush green landscape. The Valley of the Sun is known for its sunny days and heat in its arid desert landscape. 

Seattle is located about 90 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, on the eastern reaches of Puget Sound. Phoenix lies in the flat desert environment of the Salt River Valley in the Sonoran desert of southcentral Arizona. Some seasonal rivers, man-made lakes, and surrounding mountains provide popular recreation. 

Food

Seattle cuisine centers around wild-caught and ultra-fresh seafood. Mexico influences Phoenix cuisine, where pork chili verde, machaca red beef, the Sonoran dog, and the chimichanga are signature dishes. But according to Christopher Gross, chef at The Crush Lounge and Christopher’s, his “majestic Parassienne au Chocolate” has been a signature dish in Phoenix for over 30 years. 

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Best Neighborhoods in Phoenix

Phoenix – with 35 historic districts, new subdivisions, golf-centered neighborhoods, and some that feature acreage – offers a vast range of communities for a variety of lifestyles.

Central Corridor

About 27,143 people live in the Central Corridor. Great public transportation and proximity to Downtown make it a popular neighborhood for commuters. According to realtor.com, the median list price is $295,000 as of September 2020. Median rent is $1,770. You can find homes in modern mid-rise condos, townhomes, apartments, and single-family homes. Learn more about Central Corridor here.

Paradise Valley

Suburban Paradise Valley is about 14 miles northeast of Downtown. As of summer 2020, the median home value is $1,896,437, and the median rent as of early 2020 was $1,887. About 13,961 people live in Paradise Valley, 92% of whom are homeowners. Parks, restaurants, and highly-rated schools are reasons Paradise Valley is considered one of Phoenix’s best neighborhoods. Find out more here.

Arcadia

One of Phoenix’s most desirable neighborhoods, Arcadia, is located near Scottsdale and Camelback Mountain. Many of the historic single-family homes were custom-built in the 1920s to 1950s and sit on large lots. The median list price is $1,200,000. Restaurants, cafes, shopping, highly-rated schools, vintage lemon and date groves, and bike-friendliness all add up to a great lifestyle. Here’s more Arcadia info.

Uptown Phoenix

Offering both tranquil suburban and exciting urban lifestyles, the four major Uptown areas include Madison, Lookout Mountain and Moon Valley, North Central, and Northwest Central. You’ll find highly-rated schools, parks, and lots of various businesses in Uptown. Check out more Uptown information here.

Downtown Phoenix

About 6,100 people live in condos, apartments, townhomes, and historic single-family homes. The median home price is $218,000, and rent runs $1,608. As an entertainment, central business, shopping, and residential area, you can imagine historic Downtown is full of restaurants, pubs, art galleries, coffee houses, and so much more. Find out more about Downtown here.

Roosevelt Row (RoRo)

Happening RoRo has about 8,618 residents who inhabit condos, townhomes, apartments, and historic single-family homes, just like Downtown. The I-10 runs through the center of RoRo for convenient commuting, and residents enjoy the Deck Park that extends over part of the I-10 tunnel. The median home value is $221,400, and rents run an average of $1,175. Learn more about RoRo here.

Coronado

Coronado is a midtown neighborhood with about 6,000 residents. The median price for homes that have sold is $290,000, and many homes were built in the 1920s and 1930s. Rent averages $1,450. Offering a more urban lifestyle, Coronado is full of parks, entertainment venues, coffee houses, delis, cafes, bars, and restaurants. Ready to find out more about Coronado? Click here.

Ahwatukee Foothills

Located in southwestern Phoenix, Ahwatukee Foothills is a planned suburban development with about 80,000 residents. The median home value is $298,053, and the average rent runs $1,176. Parks, open space, and highly-rated schools make this neighborhood popular with families. Three golf courses make Ahwatukee Foothills popular with professionals, empty-nesters, and retirees who love outdoor recreation. Here’s more about Ahwatukee Foothills.


Cost of Moving from Seattle to Phoenix

On average, it costs about $2500-$3500 to move from Seattle to Phoenix. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 1415 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination cities, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best Seattle to Phoenix movers now!

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Patricia McBratney

Between working as a clinical educational therapist and flipping houses, Patty’s lifelong love of horses found her riding the remote... Read More