Moving to Phoenix, Arizona


Our rating

4 out of 5

  • Affordability 4 out of 5

  • Safety 4 out of 5

  • Healthcare 3 out of 5

  • Traffic Flow 1 out of 5

  • Property affordability 5 out of 5

  • Climate 3 out of 5

  • Environment quality 4 out of 5

Phoenix was named by the English born pioneer Phillip Darrell Duppa – one of the city’s founders – after the mythical bird that rises from the ashes of its predecessor. The city was built on fertile land that had once been occupied by the Hohokam native Americans. These original inhabitants had left evidence of their civilization in the form of a system of irrigation canals and Duppa thought that the name befitted a town that was rising from the ashes of a previous incarnation.

The rise of Phoenix hasn’t abated since. Occupying the Valley of the Sun in central Arizona the city became a major trade centre in the nineteenth century with the arrival of the railroad, which allowed it to export its agricultural produce to the major markets of the East and West coasts. Today Phoenix is recovering from the major property slump that came with the financial crisis of 2007 through growing high tech, electronics and telecoms sectors. Many large corporations are also headquartered in the city and the US Air Force is also a major employer.

Phoenix is the sixth largest city in the US and the largest state capital. It’s population of more than 4 million, spread out over an area of nearly 43,000 square kilometres has a large contingent with Mexican ancestry which explains the city’s excellent reputation for authentic Mexican cuisine. Sometimes the only way to deal with the blazing heat of the Arizona day is by eating food that’s even hotter!

Moving to Phoenix from the UK

Moving from the UK to Phoenix requires becoming rapidly acquainted with a technological innovation that is little required in Britain but absolutely essential in Arizona: air conditioning. The hottest city in the US has summer high temperatures that average in the low forties. Dealing with a climate that has more in common with Baghdad than Bromley often requires dashing quickly from one air conditioned environment to another so make sure your car comes appropriately equipped.

Cars are another necessity. The large urban sprawl of Phoenix with its traditional grid system, combined with the heat, means that walking, cycling and public transportation are rarely viable options for getting around. There is a new light rail system, METRO, which is due to expand in coming years, but which at present only serves a small portion of the city (running from Downtown to Mesa via Tempe).

Property prices in Phoenix are slowly recovering after the 2008-2010 crash which wiped around 65% off average home values. The average listing price for a 3 bedroom house is now around $230k (£148k). The most expensive properties are found on the east side of the city in the ‘urban villages’ of Ahwatukee Foothills, Camelback East and Paradise Valley where average prices exceed $500k (£323k). Arizona charges only a nominal fee for real estate transfers: $2.

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Comparing Phoenix vs London

Phoenix has a climate which makes London look positively arctic. It experiences more than twice the annual sunshine hours on average and has daily mean temperatures which fluctuate between a balmy 13 °C in December and a sweltering 35 °C in July. Highs regularly reach 40°C+. Phoenix also sees just 200mm of annual precipitation – a third of that seen in an average year by London.

Not only are rent costs and property prices lower in Phoenix than in London but so are prices at restaurants, at the petrol pump, on utility bills, for clothing and at the box office. Some groceries like fresh fruit, bread and rice are more expensive but most work out cheaper. As with the rest of the US, internet connections cost a good deal more than in the UK.

On average Phoenicians report themselves as feeling marginally safer, as experiencing slightly better healthcare and less pollution than Londoners but they also report spending longer commuting.

Phoenix’s major cultural attractions include a vibrant live music scene which comprises classical, country and rock music, the 26,500 square metre Phoenix Art Museum, the four campuses of Arizona State University and four major league sports teams.

Take a look at the costs of shipping your things from London to Phoenix before you make the move.