Florida and Texas have long been favorites among Canadian investors, looking to purchase investment properties or winter vacation homes. Here, I would like to give you 10 reasons to consider Phoenix, Arizona for your vacation home purchase.
Boasting 330 days of sunshine per year, Phoenix’ weather can best be described as ‘predictable’. Summers are scorching hot, routinely hitting 110 to 115 degrees F (yeah, but it’s a DRY heat). December and January daytime-high averages are around the 70 F (21C) mark, making for beautifully temperate sunny days. Nights do get cold, and can in fact dip below freezing. But for Canadians escaping -25 degrees, it’s all good!
2) Excellent roadways
Much of Phoenix is laid out in a square grid system, with major roads running north-south, and east-west thru most of the city. Larger arteries are 3 or 4 lanes each way, with major highways boasting 5 and 6 lanes. Roads are in fantastic shape, clean and and great repair. Such a system not only makes it easy to get around, but nearly impossible to get lost….(and THIS is coming from a guy who once got turned-around in an elevator).
3) Property Values
Local REALTORS® tell me that they’ve seen increases of around 10% last year, and many believe that Phoenix has seen the bottom of the market near the end of 2011. One article I read indicated that Phoenix was actually seeing a bit of a sellers market, largely due to …wait for it: Canadian Investors!
4) Great Shopping
Major shopping malls and Outlet malls appear to be everywhere. Check out the upscale Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Square, and the stunning Fashion Mall in Scottsdale. Men….drop your wife off at the Scottsdale Square mall, and check out the IPIC theatre, where you can watch a movie and get pizza and beer served right to your seat. For deals, check out the Outlets at Anthem, about 20 minutes north of the city. And we like the Desert Ridge Marketplace, with over 100 shops, restaurants and theatres in an open-air mall, featuring free outdoor concerts by local musicians every Friday and Saturday evening.
5) Cost of Living
With major stores like Albertson’s, Wal-Mart and Fry’s competing for your grocery dollar, you’ll find deals like this: watermelon at 3-lbs for a buck, Milk at $1.67 per US gallon and fresh, boneless skinless chicken breasts at $1.90 a lb. “Sure,” you say, “but what about the necessities?” With stores like ‘Total Wine & More” and ‘Costco’, you’ll find a bottle of Beringer Zinfandel for 3 bucks, a 1.75 litre of spiced rum for $16, and a 24 of Stella Artois for 22 bucks.
6) Super-friendly people
While harder to quantify, this is real nonetheless. Perhaps its the 330 days of sunshine, or the cheap liquor (just kidding) but folks here are friendly. From the strangers you meet on the street, (nearly everyone says ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’), to the clerks and sales staff in the malls, people here are seriously NICE!
7) Restaurants and Happy Hours
An abundance of restaurants probably means that folks here love to eat out. And these restaurants compete for the business with excellent Happy Hours. Two of our favorites became the ‘Mellow Mushroom’, with it’s half price drinks and appetizers, and T.G.I.Fridays, which serves a 20 oz beer for 3 bucks….and features Happy Hour ALL DAY SUNDAYS.
8) Walking, Biking and Hiking
Want to say (or get) active? Sidewalks are extra wide, nice, flat and super clean. Most major roads feature bicycle lanes and for those interested in hiking, there are dozens and dozens of trails in and around Phoenix. For example, 15 min. north of the city you will find Pinnacle Peak. Park your car, and tackle a well-groomed trail which runs up and down two mountain tops, for a total length of 4 miles (there and back). …. all FREE.
The areas we’ve seen are exceptionally clean. No blowing garbage, dirt or sand on the streets, and the freeways look more like jet runways. I didn’t wash my car in 7 weeks…..simply didn’t have to! And Scottsdale is a car-lovers mecca: you’ve probably heard of the Barrett-Jackson auction, but over that same weekend, there were 5 other car shows and auctions in the Phoenix area.
If all the shopping, restaurants and hiking isn’t enough, there is NFL, NHL, ML and NBA action. Still want more? Visiting the Grand Canyon and Sedona is only a 2 hour car drive north. 5 hours will get you to San Diego to the west, or to Las Vegas to the north. Don’t want to drive? Airlines offering $140 return flight to Las Vegas (plus taxes)….
Disclaimer: I’ve only been a visitor to the Phoenix area, and am far from an expert in the subject. In fact, my visit was limited to the northern Phoenix/Scottsdale areas. Suffice it to say, we were very impressed, and would highly recommend that anyone, who is looking for a winter vacation home, takes a closer look at this lovely area. If you are thinking of investing in real estate, e-mail me a [email protected], and I will put you in touch with a local real estate agent.