All of the Pros & Cons of Living in Phoenix
Oh baby, baby, it’s a wild world. Well, it sure has been over the past two years as we learn to live in a post-pandemic world. How has living in Phoenix changed since the start of the Covid19 Pandemic? While some things in Arizona will never change (like scorpions and dust storms) the Valley of the Sun has certainly had to adapt to this new way of life just as we all have
Top Pros & Cons to Living in Phoenix
Dining and Nightlife
The food scene in Phoenix is one of its many draws. The same can be said for the nightlife in certain parts of town, such as Old Town Scottsdale. But with the advent of restrictions put in place to reduce the spread of the virus, going out and about in Phoenix looks a little bit different in 2021, and possibly beyond that.
Even though most establishments are open for business at this point, going out to eat or getting into a bar has gotten significantly more difficult. Bars that once allowed patrons to pack to the walls now have capacity limits. For many restaurants and bars, if you are trying to get in on a weekend night, unless you arrive by 4:00 p.m. you are likely not getting in at all.
Learn More: Living in Phoenix vs Tucson Arizona
Many restaurants do not take reservations on weekends or at all, because a first-come-first-serve business model ensures they will not lose money on a reserved table if the reservation gets canceled or no-shows. This can be extremely frustrating to those who are certain they will be there, but cannot be certain they will be able to get in. Even if you can get a reservation, this doesn’t ensure you will be seated right away. It is not uncommon to wait an hour or more for your table to be ready.
Because of these new inconveniences, planning dinners at establishments that have a bar (or bars within walking distance) is a great way to use up any idle time while you wait for your table.
Tourism in Phoenix
While tourism in Phoenix has undoubtedly decreased, the roads are far from empty. The large sporting events and concerts that draw a great deal of traffic to the area are definitely fewer in 2021, so that in itself is decreasing the number of visitors the city sees. Still, traffic seems to be steadily increasing and is on its way back to a “normal” density for Phoenix.
In recent years the traffic in Phoenix has seen a significant increase as the population grows. Once traffic is back to its normal standards, it is likely to only keep getting worse. Unfortunately, traffic is just a part of city life, and even improvements on current infrastructure won’t make that go away.
New to Arizona in 2021 is the legalization of recreational marijuana use. Medical marijuana use has been legal in Arizona for a few years, but now residents will be able to buy products containing THC from a dispensary with nothing more than a picture ID proving they are 21 or older.
If you are moving to Arizona from a state that hasn’t legalized marijuana, this is important to know before you move, regardless of how you feel about the subject. Even for those who are opposed, the good news is that the taxation of marijuana products is pretty high, and the economy benefits from this sales tax. If marijuana users are going to be buying these products anyway, the state might as well be benefiting as a whole.
Education Bill Taxation
One of Arizona’s most attractive features has always been its relatively low taxation on residents. While this remains true comparatively, Arizona has recently passed a bill to fund public education that will take yet an extra toll on high earners and small businesses.
If your income exceeds $250,000 a year, you can expect to be taxed a 3.5% tax that will go directly to education funding. This means of providing extra funding for education comes as no surprise considering Arizona consistently ranks very low in public education. While the Phoenix area touts fantastic schools, this isn’t necessarily representative of the saturation throughout the entire state.
With a goal of providing a better education to the youth of Arizona, this tax is obviously intended to boost all aspects of economy and quality of life over time for the residents of the Grand Canyon State. But depending on your income, how many children you have, and if you own a small business that just barely stays out of the red most years, this extra 3.5% could be noticeably detrimental to you.
Sadly, especially in the case of small businesses, this taxation just trickles down onto employees, proving to be anything but as simple as it seemed when proposed. Whether you feel the tax is fair or not, this is important to think about if you are considering moving to Arizona post 2021.
Learn More: Top School Districts in Phoenix
Cost of Living in Phoenix
The affordability of Arizona has long been the siren song to many who uproot and head west to call it home. Even before the pandemic, however, this has in recent years become less and less true. Yes, compared to states like New York and California, Arizona is affordable. But it isn’t exceedingly so. With the high cost of utilities (water and electricity) during the summer months, and an influx of new residents driving up home prices, this affordable desert gem has started to take quite a chunk out of the pockets of its residents.
The seller’s housing market continues to remain static, meaning home prices are not likely to go down anytime soon. Buyers are still losing offers before they finally secure a home, and are being forced to offer over the asking price just to be considered in the running.
Hopefully for buyers, as the market settles and interest rates return to more normal numbers, and as supply can better meet demand post-pandemic, there will be more homes to go around for more affordable prices. Until then, don’t expect to be able to buy a home in Arizona for chump change.
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Pros and cons of Arizona living that haven’t been affected by the pandemic
Though life as we know it has changed around the world, some things about desert living won’t ever change. If you are considering moving to Phoenix, keep these few evergreen “Arizona Facts of Life” in mind.
Summer Heat in Phoenix
The summer is unbearably hot. This trend seems to only be getting worse, but it wasn’t necessarily cool twenty years ago either. The Sonoran Desert is large, exposed, and experiences very little rainfall. During the summer months Phoenicians can hardly leave the indoors during the hottest part of the day.
If you can’t handle the heat, Phoenix is not the place for you. That being said, during the spring, fall, and winter, the temperate weather in Arizona is exceptionally beautiful. This means winter months that for many mean snow banks and ice storms, for Arizona residents mean lovely cool weather to get out and enjoy the outdoors. If you can stand the summer, you will be rewarded during the other months of the year.
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If you live in Arizona, you’re going to come in contact with wildlife. This is especially true if you live in an area that backs up to one of the many nature preserves and mountainous areas. Coyotes, rattlesnakes, scorpions, and other wildlife call the desert home and were here long before were. These animals for the most part want nothing to do with humans, but the same can’t be said for our pets.
Coyotes and even birds of prey are certainly a threat to small dogs, cats, and chickens. If you have outdoor pets, it’s important to bring them in at night, or at least give them a place to shelter and be safe from predators. Even if they don’t mean to harm you, people can still be hurt by wildlife as well. When hiking or camping, make sure you always shake out boots in the event that a scorpion may have settled in there for the night, and be aware on trails, especially as the sun is rising and rattlesnakes are coming out to warm themselves in the sun.
Are there four seasons in Phoenix?
Arizona doesn’t experience all four seasons. At areas of higher elevation, such as Flagstaff, you will see snow during the winter months, but this isn’t the reality for the majority of Arizona. If you are moving to Arizona from the Midwest, East Coast, or Pacific Northwest, and think you will miss the changing of the leaves in the fall and a Christmas snowfall, think long and hard about moving to the desert.
If seasonal changes don’t matter much to you, this probably isn’t a huge deterrent. But if you enjoy the passing of the seasons throughout the year, this is definitely something to consider.
Moving to Phoenix?
Are you considering moving to the Phoenix Metro Area? If so, reach out to me at AZLiveStyles, I would love to help you find your perfect Arizona home.
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