The real-estate market in Phoenix has thrived in recent years. With property prices constantly increasing, investors have seen huge potential in housing here. In relation to the city’s growing population, there has been a slight shortage in terms of rentals in certain sought-after parts of the city.
On the whole, though, new arrivals shouldn’t have any difficulty finding a home in Phoenix. Not only is there a huge spectrum of choices in terms of property types and architectural styles, but prospective residents will also be pleased to learn that rentals are exceptionally reasonably priced compared to other major cities in the US.
Types of accommodation in Phoenix
Prospective residents who haven’t yet visited Phoenix often assume that housing consists of rows upon rows of cookie-cutter homes with a distinct lack of character or room for creativity. But once people start researching the property in Phoenix and the wider ‘Valley of the Sun’ they’ll soon realise that, in fact, there is lots of diversity in terms of architecture and the city boasts a wide range of homes to suit a variety of lifestyle preferences and needs.
Those who wish to reside close to the downtown area will find that apartments are the main accommodation option available here. Apartments in Phoenix tend to be pretty sleek and modern. Relative to other types of housing in the city, apartments located close to the city centre tend to be more expensive as a result of their favourable location. Apartment living in Phoenix is an option that works well for single professionals and could benefit young couples finding their feet in the city.
Condos are another popular housing option in Phoenix. Generally, condos are found in areas close to Phoenix’s city centre, but there are some further afield as well. Essentially, condos are similar to apartments, and are available in various sizes. The major difference lies in the availability of communal facilities. Condos are based within complexes where residents have access to a range of shared amenities such as laundry families, fitness centres, swimming pools and gardens. They are a great option for new arrivals because the set-up features a strong sense of community and allows people to become part of a network.
Sometimes referred to as craftsman homes, these humble bungalows are found in traditionally arty parts of Phoenix such as Roosevelt. While the bungalows are quite simple in design, they tend to be fairly spacious and are full of character featuring natural elements of wood and stone, as well as beautiful fireplaces. These homes are a great option for people drawn to the bohemian lifestyle of the Arts District and those looking for a simple but unique type of housing.
Moving further afield, away from downtown Phoenix, newcomers will have greater choice in terms of housing style. A big driving force that draws people to Phoenix is the affordable property prices and the broad range of comfortable family homes on offer. Here, prospective new residents, particularly those looking to buy property and settle down in Phoenix, are sure to find a housing style that meets their preferences. From Colonial Revival mansions to Tuscan-style villas and ranch homes, residents are spoilt for choice. Most family homes in Phoenix come with a pool, which is a godsend on those scorching Arizona summer days.
Finding accommodation in Phoenix
Even before prospective residents start considering the logistics of their relocation to Phoenix, it is a good idea for them to spend some time trawling internet property portals to get an insight into the property market. Not only will this internet research allow prospective residents to gauge rental prices and figure out what they can afford, but it also provides a good opportunity for them to get some idea of areas and suburbs of Phoenix that might be suitable to their lifestyle and housing needs.
Once new arrivals have narrowed down their requirements and established which neighbourhoods are worth exploring further, they could approach real-estate agents who work in those specific areas. These professionals have an intimate knowledge of the property market and are well placed to help those unfamiliar with the city find the perfect home. Real-estate agents often have access to properties that haven’t yet been listed publicly so they may be able to expose newcomers to a broader range of accommodation options.
Renting accommodation in Phoenix
While the population of Phoenix is increasing, the rate at which newcomers are moving to the city is not so high that demand for property has exceeded supply. This means that new arrivals shouldn’t struggle to find a suitable home in the city. That said, there are certain suburbs that are particularly popular, perhaps because of a favourable location or the presence of good public schools. Property in such places is likely to move a lot quicker, so residents looking to rent or buy in these sought-after areas may need to act a little faster than normal.
The rental process
The rental process in Phoenix is fairly standard and in line with the rest of the US. Once prospective tenants have found a suitable property, they will need to file an application via the agent or directly approach the landlord. Then there is an applicant-screening process whereby certain reference and credit checks are carried out. It is usually expected that an individual or family unit has a combined income that is at least three times the cost of the rental rate. Non-US citizens are advised to have their social security number and US bank account set up ahead of time in order to speed up this process. Once an applicant has successfully been screened, the landlord and tenant can sign the lease.
Generally, a standard lease in Phoenix is 12 months after which time the lease can be renewed, usually with an increase in rental attached. It is possible to negotiate a shorter term or month-to-month contract in some cases.
Arizona law states that landlords cannot ask for a security deposit that is more than one and half times the standard monthly rental on a property. Landlords are also expected to hold the security deposit in an account that will accrue interest of at least 5 percent per year, which must be paid to the tenant at the lease period, provided they leave the property in a decent condition. Because landlords are allowed to make reasonable deductions for any damages to the property, tenants are advised to ensure that a detailed inventory is carried out at the start and end of a tenancy agreement.
Renters are advised to check the terms of their lease carefully before signing to determine which utilities are included within the rental price and what they are liable for. In most cases, standard utilities such as electricity, gas and water are covered by the landlord and tenants are expected to pay for optional extras such as internet, cable TV and telephone services.
►Our Areas and Suburbs of Phoenix page provides a useful insight into recommended neighbourhoods for new arrivals
Are you an expat living in Phoenix?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Phoenix. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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