Scottsdale, Arizona, is a major Phoenix suburb that is home to about 218,000 people. It is known as a great place to live or visit if you have the money to stay at one of the many impressive resorts, shop at swanky boutiques, and golf on award-winning courses. Despite its ritzy reputation, the cost of living is actually only slightly higher than average, and many residents have found this city to be the perfect place to raise a family, enjoy the college years, or retire.
The median list price of Scottsdale homes is about $557,000, but the median sales price is closer to $395,000. About 70 percent of the homes in Scottsdale are owner-occupied, and the other 30 percent are occupied by renters. The overall vacancy rate for Scottsdale is about 18 percent, but the vacancy rate for apartments alone is a much lower 8 percent. More than 500 homes were sold in Scottsdale in July 2013, and that number has been about the same for nearly every month this year.
Just as in most suburbs of the Valley of the Sun, Scottsdale gets more than 325 days of sunshine per year. The summer temperatures can soar to nearly 120 degrees, although the average is about 105 degrees. During winter, it occasionally gets below freezing, but most of the temperatures are closer to about 40 degrees. The monsoon season does bring with it some surprisingly loud thunder, amazing lightning shows, and sudden downpours. Getting caught walking in a dust storm during this time can be downright painful, and driving in one is dangerous due to the low visibility until all the dust passes through. But once you make it through summer, you'll find that the fall and spring seasons here are very nice, and the temperature is a practically perfect 80 degrees or so.
Scottsdale is a great city to live in if you enjoy the arts, since there are more than 100 galleries here. The downtown area is particularly impressive due to the Scottsdale Arts District, which is made up of three different sections. Each has dozens of studios featuring everything from modern art to Southwestern-themed artwork. In addition, this city hosts events like the Scottsdale Arts Festival and Scottsdale Artwalk. If you prefer plays, musicals, and concerts, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is the main venue for these types of events.
Generally, the farther north you go in Scottsdale, the more you can expect to pay for housing. That's because over the years, the city has been expanding north, so you can find many of the larger, newer houses at the top of the Scottsdale map. Therefore, what was considered North Scottsdale a decade ago is now practically Central Scottsdale, and this trend will likely continue. For now, here is a breakdown of the main neighborhoods of this city so you can decide where you want to buy, rent, or rent to own a house.
South Scottsdale: This is the older part of the city, but it's still extremely popular due to its proximity to Old Town Scottsdale, which is teeming with well-known bars, nightclubs, art galleries, and boutiques. You'll find the most affordable homes for sale in this area, although the high-rise apartments and condos within walking distance of Old Town can be costly and hard to get. The presence of Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall in this area doesn't exactly help reduce those prices, since many people want to live close to it. If you want to live in Scottsdale but need a modestly-priced house, this is your best bet.
Central Scottsdale: This area is a little newer than South Scottsdale, and the prices tend to reflect that. There are several major resorts, golf courses, spas, and shopping plazas here. There are also lots of neighborhoods that are considered family friendly, with several schools and parks in the area.
McCormick Ranch: The homes in this area were built about 30 to 40 years ago, making McCormick Ranch fairly affordable while still maintaining a safe, family-friendly feel at the cusp of Central and North Scottsdale. The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a well-known fixture in this community; it has a small train for kids to ride, a carousel, and more. You'll also find winding walking paths nearby, some of which lead you right to local shopping centers. Scottsdale Pavilions is just one close shopping area, and it has several big-box stores, chain restaurants, and a movie theater.
Gainey Ranch: This is a little north of McCormick Ranch. It encompasses some upscale resorts surrounded by sprawling houses in gated communities. Also scattered around this neighborhood are some well-known golf courses and lakes.
North Scottsdale: You'll find the costliest homes for sale here, since the area is filled with upscale neighborhoods and mansions that cost millions of dollars. The scenic McDowell Mountains offer local residents a great place to build custom and semi-custom homes a bit removed from the rest of the city. Some popular shopping centers here include Kierland Commons, Scottsdale Promenade, and Scottsdale Quarter.
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