The Ultimate Guide to Moving to Phoenix

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If you’re considering a move to Phoenix, you can enjoy a solid job market and pretty standard costs of living—but you’ll have to be able to stand the heat.
The Hohokam people lived in what’s today known as the Phoenix area for over two millennia, and over the following years, it would be home to many more Indigenous tribes, including the Akimel O’odham, Tohono O’odham, Yavapai, Maricopa, and Apache. 
After a few name changes in the colony’s early years, one resident proposed the name “Phoenix”—a city that would rise from its former ashes, one resident proposed—and that’s the name that stuck when it was incorporated in 1881. In recent years, especially from the 1960s on, Phoenix has experienced an explosive amount of growth, and today, it’s the country’s fifth-largest metropolitan area.
More people are calling Phoenix home all the time, but is it the right place for you? To help you weigh some of the pros and cons, Jerry, the super app that helps you save on auto, renters, and home insurance, is here to tell you what you need to know about venturing into the Valley of the Sun. 
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What you need to know about Phoenix before you move

Desert conditions may be tough, but that doesn’t stop people from relocating to Phoenix. The Phoenix metro area covers a massive 14,000-plus square miles, which is home to nearly 5 million people.
If you’re debating whether to move to Phoenix, here are some things you’ll want to know before making that big leap.

1. The cost of living depends on what you’re used to

Depending on where you’re moving from, Phoenix’s cost of living could be pleasantly cheaper or a little more expensive than you’re accustomed to. The cost of living index in Phoenix is 103.7, which makes it 3.7% more expensive than the national average
Depending on the type of expense, certain living costs in Phoenix hover both above and below national averages.
According to data from Payscale, utility costs in Phoenix tend to be 6% more expensive than the national average—so you might want to get strategic about using your air conditioning if you move here!
For groceries, however, those costs tend to be just 1% cheaper than the national average—you might find a loaf of bread for $3 or $4, or a gallon of milk for $2 to $3. Healthcare costs tend to be 7% below the national average
The average one-bedroom apartment costs about $1,600 per month. Reported national averages for rent, depending on where you look, currently range from $1,600 to $1,900 per month
As of April 2022, Arizona’s minimum wage increased to $12.80 per hour. The 2020 census reports the median household income in Phoenix as $60,914.

2. The job market’s growing (depending on your sector)

Your job prospects in Phoenix might depend on what industry you work in, but projections for the near future show overall growth is likely to continue. Phoenix has been budding as a hub for tech jobs in recent years, and tourism and financial services remain some of the city’s top sectors.
Overall, available jobs in the Phoenix metro area are expected to be on the rise in the coming years, with some of the fastest-growing industries being media, entertainment, arts, and design, healthcare, construction, and transportation.
If you’re wondering about prospects in your own sector, you can check out growth projections on the Arizona Commerce Authority’s website.

3. Crime rates are higher than the national average

Both violent and property crime rates in the Phoenix area have been higher than in similarly-sized metros over the last several years. Although violent crime in Phoenix has been on an overall rise over the last decade, property crime is far more frequent (although this has seen an overall decrease over the last decade). 
All this considered, this is just one reason why it’s important to have the right types of insurance coverage for your home and your belongings (which Jerry can help you find!).
If you’re concerned about particular types of crime, you can review stats on the Phoenix city website, as well as hotspot maps for different crime types. 

4. There are plenty of ways to get outdoors

Living in the Phoenix area means you’re only a 3.5-hour drive from Grand Canyon National Park, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations—which is a lot closer than many people can say! 
A little closer to home, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy thousands of miles of parks and trails in and around Phoenix including Camelback Mountain, Tom’s Thumb, and Piestewa Peak Summit Trail.
There are various bodies of water throughout the Phoenix area where you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, and more, ATV and UTV off-roading are popular outdoor recreation options, too.
Before heading out, just make sure you stay hydrated and take proper steps to beat the heat!

5. Driving is the easiest way to get around

Especially when compared with the rest of Arizona, Phoenix has been experiencing an explosive amount of growth—and you’ll probably notice that in the traffic. Still, for being one of the largest cities in the United States, it’s probably not as bad as you might expect. That’s probably in part thanks to its lower population density per square mile. 
Phoenix is a lot of things, but it’s not exactly known for its walkability. The city’s massive urban sprawl still typically makes owning a car the easiest way to get around. There’s also the Valley Metro, which traverses the general Phoenix metro area if you don’t have wheels of your own.

6. Breaking news: it gets really hot

Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you? Phoenix’s hot and dry desert climate means that summer temperatures can exceed 110 degrees. Still, for some people, this definitely beats shoveling snow from your driveway once or twice a week all winter. 
During the coldest months of the year, you can expect low temperatures in Phoenix to hover around 40 degrees.
You’re probably already well aware of Phoenix’s dry heat, but another aspect of Phoenix’s climate you’ll want to prepare for is monsoon season, which spans from June to September and can quickly bring about dangerous flooding. (That makes it essential to have the right renters or home insurance coverages!)
Then, there are also the haboobs, which are desert sand storms that can affect driving visibility conditions on the road and exacerbate breathing problems.

7. Major sports fan? Living in Phoenix could be a slam dunk

If you’re a sports fanatic, you’ll probably like Phoenix. The city has a home team for each major professional league. You’ve got the Phoenix Suns in the NBA, the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL, the Arizona Diamondbacks in the MLB, the Arizona Coyotes in the NHL, and the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA!
Plus, there’s the Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers and the United Soccer League’s Phoenix Rising FC, and NASCAR has races here in the spring and fall.

Does Phoenix live up to the hype?

Whether it’s worth it to live in Phoenix depends on what you’re looking for in a lifestyle. If you can take the heat and don’t mind getting around to most places by car, you can enjoy mild winters, one-of-a-kind mountain and desert views, and the convenience of being able to watch the game of virtually any major sports league year-round. 

Finding a place to live in Phoenix

Compared to cities like New York and San Francisco, finding affordable housing in Phoenix might not be as difficult. Still, the most expensive aspect of living in Phoenix tends to be housing—so depending on your budget and whether you’re planning to rent or buy your next home, finding the perfect place for you to live could still be a little tricky.
Looking to buy a house in Phoenix? Just like most large cities at the moment, Phoenix is in a current seller’s market, and housing prices are still on the rise overall in the Phoenix area. The median home sale price in Phoenix, according to realtor.com, is $460,000.
If you plan on renting, costs in Phoenix are relatively close to the national average. You could typically expect a standard one-bedroom apartment to cost $1,600 per month. If you opt for a three-bedroom, you could expect that to jump to about $2,500 per month, but you could end up saving some money if you plan on sharing it with roommates. Of course, rent prices can also vary considerably depending on what Phoenix neighborhood you choose.
Phoenix has literally hundreds of neighborhoods to choose from. Here are some worth looking into:
  • Most iconic neighborhoods: Arcadia, Central Phoenix, Paradise Valley
  • Best neighborhoods if you’ve got kids: Ahwatukee Foothills, Gilbert, Chandler
  • Best neighborhoods for foodies: Midtown, Uptown, Old Town Scottsdale 
  • Best neighborhoods to buy a house: Desert View, Ahwatukee Foothills, North Gateway
  • Most affordable neighborhoods: Apache Junction, Guadalupe, Coolidge
If you’re able, it’s a good idea to visit any neighborhoods in person—that way you get a sense of its atmosphere and what amenities are close by yourself before making a commitment to live there.

Moving to Phoenix checklist 

So, it’s official—you’re really moving to Phoenix! With so many moving parts, arranging a move can quickly get overwhelming—whether you’re moving across the neighborhood or across the country. To help make your transition that much easier, here are some to-do items to remember before, during, and after your move.

Before you go

Before any move, there are a lot of items beyond packing that you have to take care of. Here are some important tasks to add to your moving checklist that you won’t want to forget:
  • Book a reliable moving company that you can trust with your prized possessions and hard-to-move objects. If you’re unsure where to start, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration offers helpful tips to avoid falling victim to moving scams. Jerry’s also compiled this list of some of Phoenix’s top moving companies.
  • Reserve your U-Haul instead if you’re planning a DIY move.
  • Update your address and set up mail forwarding with the USPS so you don’t miss any important communications.
  • Let important contacts know you’re moving—like your landlord, your employer, your insurance provider(s), and utility provider(s). 
  • If your move is going to be long-distance, it may be more convenient to ship your car.
  • Verify that your new renters or homeowners insurance policy will be active at your new place the day you move in or take ownership.
  • Download your playlists, podcasts, or audiobooks, get some snacks for the road or the plane, and set off on your one-way Phoenix road trip!

After you get there

Once you’ve finally unpacked that last box in your new Phoenix home, take a breather and give yourself a pat on the back. It might take a little while to settle into your new surroundings, but that’s to be expected. In the meantime, here are a couple of last items to take care of as the moving process wraps up: 
  • If you moved to Phoenix from out of state, you’ll need to re-register your car in Arizona—and update your car insurance if you haven’t already.
  • Get to know your new city! Start exploring your new neighborhood and get familiar with your soon-to-be favorite parks, shops, and restaurants. Welcome home!

How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in Phoenix

Moving can be a chore—but updating your insurance doesn’t have to be. 
When you’re relocating to a new place, your insurance needs might change. That could mean switching from a renters policy to a homeowners policy if you’re becoming a first-time homebuyer. You might also need to add new coverage types to your home or auto insurance or drop ones that will become obsolete for you.
Whatever changes you need to make, the Jerry app can help you find the right amount of coverage at the best available rate in record time. Jerry can even help you bundle multiple policies for additional savings on each one.
It only takes about 45 seconds to answer a few quick questions in the app, and then you can start comparing customized quotes from up to 50+ top insurance providers, all in one place. Once you’ve found the policy you like, Jerry’s end-to-end support makes transitioning to your new policy a breeze. 
Perhaps the best part is the savings—when it comes to car insurance alone, the average Jerry user saves $800 per year.
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FAQs

Ultimately, whether it’s worth it to move to Phoenix depends on your budget and your ideal lifestyle. If you can take the heat and don’t mind getting around to most places by car, you can enjoy mild winters, one-of-a-kind mountain and desert views, and the convenience of being able to watch the game of virtually any major sports league year-round.
How much money it would cost to move to Phoenix would largely depend on the distance and size of your move—you could likely expect to spend anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand to relocate to Phoenix.
How much money you’ll need to make a living once you’re in Phoenix will depend on your budget and your lifestyle. If you were aiming to limit your housing costs to no more than a third of your income, and you were renting a one-bedroom apartment for $1,600 per month, you’d need to earn $4,800 per month or $57,600 per year.

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