The expensive housing costs in Los Angeles can definitely burn a hole in your pocket. But in Phoenix, housing is 189% cheaper! If you leave behind LA’s inferno of high prices and move to Phoenix, you can rise from the ashes and start saving – maybe even buy a house.
Only a 5.5-hour drive southeast of LA, Phoenix offers excellent job opportunities and a high-quality lifestyle, with year-round sunny weather and a beautiful desert landscape surrounded by mountain peaks. But before you wave goodbye to LA, learn more about what life will look like if you move from Los Angeles to Phoenix.
What to Know About Moving from Los Angeles to Phoenix
Here’s what to know before you move.
Housing and Cost of Living
Angelinos are flocking to Phoenix because housing prices are 189% less expensive. The median home cost here is $239,400 compared to LA’s $689,500. Due to the influx of new residents and demand for housing, home appreciation was 49% over the past five years, whereas LA saw a 43% increase. And because housing is more affordable, about 14% more people own their homes in Phoenix. But if renting sounds like a better option, you can plan on a two-bedroom apartment or home to average $1,147 in Phoenix compared to $2,000 in Los Angeles.
In addition to substantial housing savings, you’ll also benefit from 12% savings on groceries, 3% on health, and 47% on transportation. However, running your Phoenix air conditioner throughout three seasons a year will bump your utility costs up about 8% higher.
The family median income in Phoenix is $60,013 compared to $61,092 in LA. But with a 40% lower cost of living, it’s easy to see how your savings can start adding up if you move to Phoenix.
Overall, you can expect substantial savings on taxes. Here’s the lowdown:
- Income Tax: Arizona levies a progressive state income tax just like California does. However, California imposes tax over nine brackets, from 1% to 12.3% (and adds 1% on incomes over $1 million). Arizona taxes among four income brackets that range between 2.59% and 4.5%.
- Property Tax: Phoenix assesses property tax at an average 0.77%, lower than the US average rate of 1.16%, and only a fraction higher than LA’s average 0.75%.
- Sales Tax: The Phoenix city sales tax rate is 8.6%, whereas you pay 9.5% average sales tax in Los Angeles.
Economy and Job Market
The Phoenix economy is diverse and robust, supported by tech, aerospace, healthcare, retail, transportation, and finance. Because Phoenix industrial sectors are wide-ranging, so are job opportunities. The Phoenix metro area is also home to several Fortune 1000 and Fortune 500 companies, including Sprouts Farmers Market, GoDaddy, and Carvana, to name a few.
Job growth was 3.3% in 2019, compared to LA’s 0.7%. Over the next ten years, job growth in Phoenix, at 48%, is forecast to be 13% higher than in Los Angeles. Ten-year job growth in LA is predicted to be 35% and overall in the nation, 34%.
Transportation and Traffic
Valley Metro provides Phoenix public transportation services, mainly via busses and the 20-mile light rail, but only 3% of commuters use it compared to 10% of commuters who use LA’s public transit.
As a result, 75% of Phoenix commuters are on the road driving to work – 6% more than in LA. And although the Phoenix commute takes 25 minutes one way, 6 minutes less than In LA, traffic can be nasty, especially during weekday rush hours.
Weather and Climate
Prepare for the Valley of the Sun’s summer temperatures that are about 20 degrees hotter than those in Los Angeles. However, you’ll enjoy a very similar winter climate.
The average July high in Phoenix is a sizzling 105 °F. LA’s July high averages 84 °F. On average, for 110 days every year, Phoenix swelters at over 100° F and, for 18 days every year, see temps cooking at around 110 °F. Average July lows drop to 80 °F, but on average, 67 days will have nighttime lows above 80 degrees. Many Phoenix residents escape the scorching Valley summers by retreating to higher elevation in Flagstaff as well as the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona.
Both Phoenix and LA share delightful winters with average highs in the upper 60s and lows in the mid to high 40s.
Los Angeles gets about 16 inches of yearly rain, whereas Phoenix only gets 9 inches per year. July through mid-September see the most rainfall, and summer monsoons can pose flash flooding threats.
Analyzing crime rates on a scale from 1 to 100, the nation’s average property crime rate is 35, and the average rate for violent crime in the US is 23. In Phoenix, the property crime rate is 53, and LA’s rate is equivalent to the US rate at 35. Phoenix has a 38 violent crime rate compared to LA’s 29.
Although the Phoenix crime rates are higher than LA and national averages, still, there are very safe neighborhoods throughout the city. The City of Phoenix regularly updates crime statistics and maps. It’s a good idea to check out these maps when you start considering potential neighborhoods. Ahwatukee Foothills, Deer Valley, and Desert View rank among the safest areas to call home.
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
Both Phoenix and LA cover a similar amount of land – 469 square miles in LA and 518 square miles in Phoenix. But with about half as many residents as LA, the density in Phoenix is less than half of its West Coast counterpart.
Los Angeles, with 3,950,000 residents, has twice the population of Phoenix and has grown by 7% since 2000. As the nation’s 5th largest city, with 1,660,272 residents, Phoenix has seen 19% population growth in the past ten years; the greater Phoenix metro area has over 4,500,000 residents.
The White and Hispanic populations in Phoenix are equal, with 43% Hispanic, 43% White, 7% African American, 4% Asian, 2% Native American, and 2% Two or More Races. Los Angeles has a higher Hispanic population with 49% Hispanic, 28% White, 9% African American, 12% Asian, 0.1% Native American, and 2% Two or More Races.
If you’re politically minded, moving to Phoenix from Los Angeles will make you aware that Phoenix is a more conservative city. While LA voters are 72% Democrat, only 45% are registered Democrat in Phoenix, and 48% are registered Republican.
Phoenix sits in the northern region of the Sonoran Desert, in the Salt River Valley of south-central Arizona. Mountains surround the valley on the east, northeast, west, and southwest. At 1,117 feet, Phoenix sits at a higher altitude than LA’s average 285 feet. The largest US city in the Mountain Time Zone, Phoenix, doesn’t observe daylight saving time, so coordinating time between zones requires a bit of attention.
Although WalletHub ranked Arizona as having the third-worst public education system in the country, many Phoenix schools in the 33 districts that serve the area are highly rated. If you have school-age children, review the maps on greatschools.org that can help you find neighborhoods with excellent schools. Each school listing also features a link to homes for sale near the school.
Things to Do
From urban culture and exciting entertainment to wilderness adventures in the surrounding deserts and mountains, Phoenix offers a wide range of things to do for every taste. Moving from LA to Phoenix will put you in touch with over 20 museums, professional sports, live theater, improv, symphony, ballet, fine dining, shopping, golfing, and much more.
If you’re a beach lover, you’ll miss LA’s coastline, but there are plenty of freshwater sports to enjoy in metro Phoenix. Six lakes and three rivers provide opportunities to kayak, stand up paddleboard, swim, water ski, jet ski, tube, boat, and fish. Many Phoenix residents make regular forays into the desert and surrounding mountains to explore the fantastic flora and fauna. It may surprise you to know that Phoenix is within a short drive of three ski areas – Sunrise Ski Resort outside of Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff, and Mount Lemmon Ski Valley in Tucson.
Best Neighborhoods in Phoenix
The sprawling Valley of the Sun is a multicity metropolis filled with a variety of neighborhoods. Choose the lifestyle you love – from historic urban areas to spa-like upscale suburbs and everything in between.
Offering an urban lifestyle to about 27,000 residents, Central Corridor is a convenient 10 minutes north of Downtown. Residents have easy access to entertainment, arts, culture, dining, and work. Light rail and busses run through Central Corridor for car-free commutes. Three to five-bedroom single-family homes, many historically significant, cover a wide range of styles. Learn more about Central Corridor here.
About 13,961 residents enjoy suburban Paradise Valley. Located about 14 miles northeast of Downtown, Paradise Valley has a median home price of $1,406,700. In addition to high-end homes, exclusive restaurants and bars add to the neighborhood appeal. With excellent public schools, Paradise Valley attracts families and professionals. Find out more about Paradise Valley here.
A large community of about 40,621 residents, Arcadia, is located approximately 10 miles northeast of Downtown, very close to Scottsdale. Many homes are half-million-dollar single-story ranch styles on grassy landscaped lots, but you can also find xeriscaped pueblo-style homes, townhomes, condos, and multi-million dollar estates. Here’s more information about Arcadia.
Almost a city unto itself, Uptown Phoenix has over 109,000 residents who enjoy urban conveniences like restaurants, coffee shops, and all kinds of small businesses from medical to specialty groceries. Within the district are some specific neighborhoods to explore, such as Lookout Mountain, Madison, North Central, and Northwest Central. Check out more about Uptown Phoenix here.
An urban mix of high-rise condos, apartments, and historic single-family homes combine to make Downtown Phoenix a desirable neighborhood for those looking for an exciting and convenient city lifestyle. About 6,100 residents live in Downtown and enjoy access to a multitude of employment options plus shopping, dining, entertainment, and much more. Find out more about Downtown here.
Roosevelt Row (RoRo)
Walkable, diverse, and artistic Roosevelt Row is a historic district within the urban core. Housing in RoRo is more affordable than many other suburban neighborhoods, and you can find apartments, townhomes, mid- and high-rise condos, and single-family homes. About 8,618 people live in RoRo. Find out more here.
Coronado, with about 6000 residents, is located in Midtown Phoenix, about a seven-minute drive north of Downtown. The central location makes this trendy neighborhood convenient to light rail and major freeways for easy commutes. Housing consists mainly of modest but charming single-family homes built in the 20s and 30s. Learn more about Coronado here.
This ‘village’ is about 20 minutes south of Downtown, or a 27-minute drive via 1-10 E. The 80,000 residents are attracted to Ahwatukee Foothills Village for the affordable housing prices, parks, greenspaces, three golf courses, hiking and outdoor opportunities, friendly neighbors, and good schools. That’s a lot to like! Learn more about Ahwatukee Foothills here.
Cost of Moving from Los Angeles to Phoenix
On average, it costs about $1500-$3000 to move from Los Angeles to Phoenix. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 373 miles across state lines. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination zip codes, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best LA to Phoenix movers now!