A Comprehensive Phoenix Relocation Guide for CA Residents
The decision to move can be a difficult choice, yet many residents from California move every year. While it can be hard to leave California’s beautiful beaches, the great arts and cultural scenes, and bustling cities like Los Angeles and Sacramento, sometimes it’s necessary. Whether due to financial reasons or other factors, deciding to relocate is just the first step.
The next step is deciding where to move to. In this comprehensive guide from Phoenix Urban Spaces, we’ll discuss the most common reasons people move from California, why moving to Phoenix, Arizona is a good choice, and provide some tips for relocating to the area.
Why Relocate from CA to Phoenix?
The 2020 census has shown that California experienced its slowest growth rate since the 2010s. In fact, the census estimates that during the 2010s, 6.1 million people moved out of California. While there are several contributing factors to these numbers, some common reasons include:
- Cost of living
- High taxes
- Wanting to get more money for your property
- Moving to a place with warmer weather throughout the year
- Investment properties
Luckily, Phoenix is a great counterpart to California as the cost of living is much lower, investing in property is easier, and while Arizona may not be well known for its beaches (though they are still there!), the weather is consistently warmer. These factors, combined with other perks, make a move to Arizona a no-brainer.
1. Comparing the Cost of Living
The cost of living in California is high. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles can typically be about $2,518. This number may even creep up to $4,200. Unfortunately, this is closer to the norm than the exception. The overall cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in California is $2,495. Additionally, with a transportation index of 132.4, the state has the country’s highest gas and transportation costs.
While California’s livable wage is calculated at $57,000, $75,000 is a more realistic figure to live comfortably in LA.
Moving to Phoenix, however, an individual can live comfortably on a salary of $42,000 before taxes. With an average rent of $1,200 (or $2,000 for a more expensive area), Phoenix’s cost of living is much cheaper across the board. As a whole, California’s cost of living index is 149 compared to Arizona’s 102.5.
Lastly, when it comes to taxes, Arizona continues to outperform California. California has nine tax brackets: that range from 1% up to 12.3%. You can expect to fall in the fifth bracket for an average income of $46,395 to $58,634. That means you will likely pay $1,602.40 coupled with 8% of any amount over $46,394.
Conversely, Arizona has four tax brackets: 2.59%, 3.34%, 4.17%, and 4.50%. For single or married but filing taxes separately, an average income of $54,545 to $163,632 will pay 4.17% of taxable income.
2. Comparing the Job Market
A thriving job market complements the cost of living. If you relocate from CA to Phoenix, you will have better chances of finding steady work or switching careers. While California might be a Mecca for tech startups—such as the famous Silicon Valley—for most industries, finding a job in California is extremely difficult.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is the second most challenging place to find employment in the U.S., with Hawaii being the first. While there were 1.1 million jobs in August 2021, 1.43 million potential workers remained unemployed. This averages to 130 job seekers for every 100 available jobs.
Conversely, Metro Phoenix ranks as having the second-best labor market in the U.S. With over 10 million job openings this year, Phoenix’s job market will remain steady. Thriving industries include construction companies, healthcare, and educational institutions, the tourist industry, and financial corporations.
3. Comparing the Weather
For some, the weather may not be a huge factor. However, if you want warmer weather throughout the year, you will want to relocate to Arizona. While the state has four distinct seasons, its winter season (December through February) is very mild. You can expect an average temperature of 12-24 degrees celsius. In California, the winter season is closer to 9-20 degrees celsius, making Arizona a few degrees warmer annually.
However, it might take some time to acclimate to Arizona’s summer weather. Its summer weather can reach 100+ degrees Fahrenheit in July compared to California’s highs of 80 degrees. There are about 299 sunny days per year in Phoenix on average compared to Los Angeles’s 284 days. Additionally, Phoenix sees an average of 9.2 inches of rain each year, while LA receives 15.5 inches of rain.
4. Comparing Investment Properties
Another reason to relocate to Phoenix is the ample opportunity to invest in property to live in during part of the year or to simply get more money out of your property. After all, there is no denying the rising costs of property in California.
The California Association of Realtors forecasts that the state’s median home price will increase by a significant 5.2% from the previous year, averaging about $834,400 in 2022. Coupled with the rising cost of living, California’s housing market will continue to remain unstable.
Such data suggests two crucial problems:
- It is more expensive to buy a home in California, and many homeowners resort to smaller properties with a reduced value.
- Trying to invest in a property to live in a part of the year or rent out as a side hustle requires more upfront capital.
As such, investing in Phoenix’s real estate is a far cheaper option, and you can find properties with a greater value at a fraction of the cost. This is compounded by the fact that more people are leaving California for destinations like Phoenix.
Such a mass exodus has resulted in Phoenix’s housing market seeing dramatic surges. For example, investors in Phoenix were responsible for 24.5% of homes sold in the second quarter of 2021.
5. Comparing Traffic
A relocation to Phoenix means plenty of free highways and short drives – especially if you have a long commute to work every day. If you’ve become accustomed to long commutes, then you’ll appreciate the dramatic drop in traffic when relocating to Phoenix. When ranking the most traffic-congested cities in the United States, Los Angeles and San Francisco appear at the top, with San Jose coming in at number five. For comparison, the first city in Arizona to be ranked, Tucson, appears at number 26.
Phoenix is also commuter-friendly, and the city has a Metro rail for those moving to the town without a car. The rail also runs from north-central Phoenix to nearby cities like Mesa and Tempe.
6. Comparing Natural Disasters
Sometimes avoiding natural disasters are unavoidable. However, moving to Arizona can definitely improve the odds. The state is far less prone to natural disasters, and the worst you might have to deal with is an occasional haboob (dust storm). On the other hand, California is well-known for its earthquakes, hurricanes, and forest fires.
In comparison, Arizona is usually safe from the likes of hurricanes, as both Mexico and California act as a buffer. Since the state is situated on bedrock, Arizona is also protected from earthquakes. Additionally, most of the population resides in the Phoenix valley, with far less vegetation that can burn and turn into wildfires. With all these safeguards in place, Arizona rarely experiences natural disasters.
Other Reasons for Moving to Phoenix
While finances and comfort are among the most significant reasons to relocate from CA to Phoenix, you might be curious about the attractions Phoenix has to offer. After all, there is no denying some of the charms California has.
Ocean weather, grand beaches, and scenic landscapes might still cause some hesitation in moving. Additionally, cities like Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego are widely visited each year, and their arts, culture, entertainment, and culinary delights are highlights.
While you won’t find a Hollywood Walk of Fame in Phoenix, you will find many of the same kinds of attractions California has. State parks, great nightlife with numerous bars and restaurants, zoos, casinos, and entertainment venues are all wonderful attractions you can visit.
Also, Arizona is a beautiful state with many scenic landscapes and outdoor adventures. While the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam are considered must-visit attractions, other scenic sites include deserts, beaches, mountains, lakes, slot canyons, saguaro cactus, gushing waterfalls, and a volcano that offers downhill skiing.
Whether you want to move to Phoenix or need a second home, you can request a tour guide to showcase the thrills Phoenix has to offer!
Phoenix Relocation Tips
Once you’ve decided to move to Phoenix from California, you can follow a few tips to make the transition smoother. These tips will help you optimize your time, savings, and overall comfort.
Consider Moving to Phoenix in the Summer
While it might be tempting to move to Arizona when the weather is a bit cooler, summer is the best season to move. Summer is considered Arizona’s off-season. Meanwhile, winter sees most of the state’s seasonal residents. This makes moving during summer more convenient. Not only will moving services be readily available, but they will also be cheaper too, and you can expect less traffic.
Of course, if you’re planning on living in Phoenix for only part of the year, then winter might be the best bet. However, you might have to pay more to escape from a colder California.
Change Your Address Online
One downside of moving is changing your address so mail can reach you. While this might seem like a small priority, you will want to make sure any critical information gets you. Luckily, changing your address online is cost-effective and straightforward.
Make a Visit First Before You Move to Arizona
Before relocating from California to Arizona, you will definitely want to visit the area and stay for an extended period if possible. While a weekend in an Airbnb or staying with friends or family for a couple of weeks won’t fully prepare you, it can still give you insight into the Phoenix lifestyle.
Additionally, there are several neighborhoods to choose from, and they all have different selling points. From neighborhoods with a suburban feel perfect for raising a family to communities in the heart of downtown, visiting can help you decide which area is best suited for your needs.
Plan the Move in Advance
Be sure you plan the move and take care of any loose ends well beforehand. This could include decluttering your items for moving, seeing friends and family one last time, or making sure utilities are set up in your Phoenix residence right before your planned arrival. Doing so will eliminate stress and give you peace of mind that everything is going according to plan.
Get Phoenix Relocation Assistance
A move to Phoenix from California can take a lot of work, and you’re sure to be busy transitioning. Luckily, there are plenty of relocation services available. Some services even specialize in providing a relocation team armed with a bevy of Phoenix knowledge and recommendations.
Whether you want to learn more about a particular neighborhood, local attractions, where to grab a bite to eat, or would like a plumber or handyman recommendation when you arrive, services like Phoenix Urban Spaces can help you with your transition.
Contact Phoenix Urban Spaces for Your Phoenix Relocation
There are plenty of reasons why California residents should consider a move to Arizona. Some of these reasons include the lower cost of living, lower taxes, a thriving job, and housing market, and warmer weather throughout the year.
However, you might need assistance in finding a house or condo in Phoenix that matches your budget and lifestyle, as well as general relocation help. Phoenix Urban Spaces can help pair you with the right residence, help you move, and even give you recommendations regarding the best places to visit across the area.
Contact Phoenix Urban Spaces today to learn more about how we can help make your relocation an easy and succcesful one!