8 of the best places to live in Metro Phoenix

Above: (Photo courtesy of Visit Phoenix, photo by dspaz.com) Lifestyle | 30 Jul |

Thinking of starting the next chapter of your life in Metro Phoenix? The Phoenix metropolitan area is one of the most desirable places to live, work and play. With year-round sunshine, low cost of living and excellent job opportunities, The Valley of the Sun – one of the largest cities in the United States – continues to draw newcomers.  So, you may be wondering, what are the best places to live in Metro Phoenix?


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If you’re moving to Phoenix, there are hundreds of sprawling neighborhoods , each with their own charm and style. Whether you’re looking for luxury, historic, urban, or up-and-coming – the possibilities are endless. 

If you’re looking to purchase a home in the Phoenix metro area, the average list price is up approximately 27% over last year, according to the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, and that trend is expected to climb through 2021. 

We compiled a list of eight of the best places to live in Metro Phoenix right now. Each area embodies what most new homeowners look for in a new neighborhood – excellent schools, parks, outdoor recreation, proximity to shopping and dining, and locations close to thriving arteries of the city. 

Arcadia

Closed June 2021/Single family homes 

Average home price: $1,448,251

Average price per square foot: $441.97

Average days on market: 35

Trevor H. Halpern, J.D. is the No. 1 independent agent at Phoenix-based North&Co. and the founder of the Halpern Residential real estate group.

One of the most sought after neighborhoods, Arcadia is built on former citrus groves. Here you’ll find wide, picturesque streets lined with mature citrus trees, one-story ranches (old & new) on oversized lots surrounded by attractive landscaping. Arcadia offers majestic views of Camelback Mountain and the glistening water weaving in and out from the Arizona Canal. Arcadia has a family-friendly atmosphere as residents enjoy the best of both worlds – urban living with a rural, family-friendly feel. The bike-friendly community has a balanced culture of indoor-outdoor living and is home to some of the Valley’s best K-12 schools within the Scottsdale Unified School District. The neighborhood is a good mix of locals and newcomers. Arcadia is broken up into three areas: Proper, Lite and Lower. 

Arcadia Proper 

Between Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arcadia Proper is the wealthiest part of the neighborhood with larger, more upscale homes.

Neighborhood boundaries: Camelback Road to East Indian School Road, 44th Street to 68th Street.

Arcadia Lite

This area contains more affordable and modest homes and is bustling with new housing and commercial developments. Arcadia Lite is a popular draw for millennials and younger families. 

Neighborhood boundaries: North 32nd Street to North 44th Street, East Camelback Road to East Indian School Road.

Lower Arcadia

One of the oldest areas of Phoenix, Lower Arcadia is a quaint neighborhood with mostly one-story single-family homes. Just miles from downtown, there are plenty of parks, shops and restaurants for families to enjoy.  

Neighborhood boundaries: 44th to 56th streets, East Indian School Road to East Thomas Road.

Desert Ridge

Closed June 2021/Single family homes 

Average home price: $639,213

Average price per square foot: $270.34

Average days on market: 25  

30 minutes from downtown Phoenix in the Northeast Valley is a quiet master planned neighborhood called Desert Ridge. Over a dozen neighborhoods feature upscale homes with resort style amenities. There’s also single-family homes and townhouses conveniently nestled near exciting places to shop, eat and play. Desert Ridge Marketplace is the premier shopping destination with its chic boutiques, trendy restaurants and steakhouses. The JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa is the largest in the metro area, named one of the top 75 resorts in America by Condé Nast Traveler readers. The resort and the Mayo Clinic are two of the biggest employers in this neighborhood. The Mayo Clinic offers some of the best high-quality patient care in the nation and often receives a #1 ranking in Arizona and the Phoenix metro area by U.S. News & World Report. 

Neighborhood boundaries: Black Mountain Blvd. to North 64th Street, East Pinnacle Peak Road to Phoenix Recreation Road.

Encanto Palmcroft Historic District

Closed June 2021/Single family homes  

Average home price: $1,026,667

Average price per square foot: $382.93

Average days on market: 30 

Phoenix has 35 historic districts with the Encanto Palmcroft neighborhood being one of the most popular. This is the ideal suburban Phoenix retreat close to downtown. 

Here, homes built prior to World War II offer a glimpse of old world charm. Residents take great pride in their homes – renovating, restoring and remodeling to maintain the neighborhood – and for good reason. Every year, the Encanto-Palmcroft Historic Preservation Association holds a home tour, giving people an opportunity to tour these opulent homes. The homes built in the 1920s and 30s tend to “look toward each other” reinforcing the sense of neighborhood and harmonious style that include Spanish Colonial, Tudor Revival, American Colonial Revival, Cape Cod, Monterey Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Pueblo Revival, Ranch and others. 

Neighborhood boundaries: 7th Avenue to 15th Avenue, McDowell to Encanto Blvd.

North Central Phoenix

Closed June 2021/Single family homes  

Average home price: $1,092,833

Average price per square foot: $367.22

Average days on market: 30

North Central Phoenix is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Phoenix. Just a 10 minute commute to downtown, ash and olive trees line the north and south stretch of Central Avenue – one of the city’s most iconic roads. This neighborhood is steeped in history with its notable homes and equestrian beginnings. Most of the ranch-style homes are renovated while still paying homage to the charm and character of their timeless roots. The Murphy Bridle Path that cuts through part of the neighborhood is a historical landmark. The path was originally a horse trail carved in the late 1800s and is now a five-mile shaded dirt path for walkers, runners and bikers. 

Neighborhood boundaries: Camelback Road to Northern Avenue, 24th Street to 15th Avenue.

32nd Street Corridor

Closed June 2021/Single family homes =

Average home price: $506,691

Average price per square foot: $258.08

Average days on market: 29

Central Phoenix is undergoing a massive revitalization, specifically along the 32nd Street Corridor, which is bustling with new businesses, housing and infrastructure. Since 2016, a massive effort has been underway to develop new housing, single-family homes and apartment complexes. New restaurants, grocery stores and family entertainment are breathing new life into this area. This urban pioneer neighborhood is perfect for families who want to be a part of an exciting change in the city. 

Neighborhood boundaries: Northern Avenue to Greenway Road, Cave Creek Road to Tatum Blvd.

Paradise Valley 

Closed June 2021/Single family homes: 

Average home price: $3,548,395

Average price per square foot: $599.43

Average days on market: 66

The views from Paradise Valley will take your breath away. Secluded luxury resort-style homes are nestled along cliff sides, luxury golf courses, boutique shops and destination resorts attract tourists to this wealthy enclave year-round. “PV,” as the locals call it, is surrounded by eight resorts that are also some of the area’s top employers. Many of the resorts include residences such as the Ritz Carlton, Azure, Mountain Shadows and Ascent at the Phoenician. Families here have access to over 10 public and private schools in the area. 

Neighborhood boundaries: 40th Street to North Scottsdale Road, East Shea Blvd. to East Chaparral Road.

Scottsdale

Closed June 2021/Single family homes

Average home price: $1,211,409

Average price per square foot: $376.57

Average days on market: 35

East of Phoenix is the vibrant city of Scottsdale. This tourist destination contains dozens of pristine golf courses, including TPC Scottsdale, and lavish spa resorts dispersed throughout the upscale city. Scottsdale is broken up into three areas; north, central and south. 

North Scottsdale 

You’ll find world-class golf clubs and some of the most stunning and sprawling residential estates in North Scottsdale. The architectural style of homes is a mix of Spanish Mission, Mediterranean Revival and Southwest. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, Taliesin West, is a prominent tourist attraction and a national historic landmark home. The home is nestled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains. 

Neighborhood boundaries: N. Scottsdale Rd. to N. Palisades Blvd., E. Dynamite Blvd. to E. Cactus Rd.

Central Scottsdale

Central Scottsdale is an eclectic mix of historic and new homes. Locals here like being close to everything – outdoor recreation, nightlife, shopping and dining. McCormick Ranch and Shea Corridor are some of the best areas to live. There are plenty of new condos rising in the area that are popular with Millennials and empty nesters. 

Neighborhood boundaries: N. 60th St. to N. 136th St., E. Cactus Rd. to E. Doubletree Ranch Rd. 

South Scottsdale 

The mid-century modern homes in South Scottsdale are a huge draw to millennials and families with young kids. This area of town is the cultural epicenter of Scottsdale, with rolling galleries that spark creativity at every turn. People love exploring the wonderful Scottsdale Greenbelt, an 11 mile recreational pathway that connects several outdoor areas including a skate park, an artificial lake and a golf course. McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is also a hit with the kids.

Neighborhood boundaries: N. 64th St. to N. Pima Rd., E. Shea Blvd. to E. McKellips Rd.

Tempe

Closed June 2021/Single family homes  

Average home price: $530,189

Average price per square foot: $276.07

Average days on market: 20

Located just eight miles east of Phoenix, Tempe sits in the shadow of majestic Camelback Mountain, which is seen from just about anywhere in town. Headquarters to U.S. Airways, Tempe is also home to Arizona State University – one of the largest and most respected colleges in the country. ASU’s journalism program is routinely in the top 10 list and ASU was recently recognized as #6 in research spending, placing it in elite company. Naturally, college students bring their youthful energy to North Tempe neighborhoods while South Tempe is family friendly. Locals flock to the Mill Avenue District downtown which has some of the best shopping and dining. Tempe is filled to the brim with sprawling urban areas, is extremely bicycle friendly, walkable and one of the most affordable.

 

Trevor H. Halpern, J.D. is the No. 1 independent agent at Phoenix-based North&Co. and the founder of the Halpern Residential real estate group. As a Phoenix native, Halpern’s deep knowledge of both people and property has allowed him to create client success in all areas of town. As a graduate of ASU’s College of Law, Halpern prides himself on delivering high-level strategy, efficient negotiations and precise tactical execution. Since 2011, Halpern has sold over $100 million in real estate and has been in the top 1% of real estate agents in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area since 2016.

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