Are you dreaming of a sunny retirement with world-class golfing, lounging in the sun by the pool, and spending time with friends? Sun City West is one of the top Arizona retirement communities and an age-restricted community with something for everyone.
Is Sun City West AZ a good place to live? It’s been ranked as one of America’s top ten 55+ communities and earned numerous awards from the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association for programs like TORCH Citizens Academy, Happy Camp, and the Summer Library Program.
While living in Sun City West, you’ll enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle with all the amenities you could want at your fingertips. It’s one of the largest retirement communities in Arizona and, best of all, it boasts an affordable cost of living so you can spend more of your nest egg on the things you want to do.
Here’s everything you want to know about living in Sun City West, Arizona.
Table of Contents
Sun City West History & Overview
Sun City West was built on 11,000 acres of land that includes part of the former Lizard Acres cattle ranch between 1978 and 1997 by the Del Webb Corporation. It borders sister city Sun City and the newer community of Sun City Grand.
The community is governed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. The Rec Centers, or the Recreation Centers of Sun City West, operates the golf courses, rec centers, library, bowling, and Association property within the community. The group works like a parks and rec department.
Property Owners and Residents Association (PORA) is a separate, quasi-governmental group that advocates for the community. PORA operates like a city government to help run many aspects of living in Sun City West. PORA membership is optional.
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Differences Between Sun City Retirement Communities – Sun City vs Sun City West vs Sun City Grand
Confused about the difference between the three Sun City golf retirement communities around Phoenix? Here’s a quick overview.
- Sun City: The original Del Webb Sun City community is the most affordable of the communities with prices ranging from under $100,000 to the low $600s. Homes are older with development starting in the 1960s. It’s the largest of all retirement communities in Arizona with 27,500 homes. The closest city is Peoria five minutes away and it’s 16 miles from downtown Phoenix.
- Sun City West: Built after the original community from 1978 to 1997, SCW has newer home styles and higher home prices. There are almost 17,000 homes in SCW. The community is 34 miles from downtown Phoenix and close to Surprise.
- Sun City Grand: Construction began in SCG in 1996. There are currently 9,800 homes. Prices range from the high $100s to $1 million. Located in the northwest area of Greater Phoenix, Sun City Grand is closest to the desert and 5 minutes from Surprise. It’s 37 miles from Phoenix.
Sun City West HOA
While living in Sun City West, AZ, you may or may not pay HOA fees depending on the home type. Most detached homes are not part of an HOA. Sun City West condos and townhomes have their own associations that handle landscaping and external maintenance. The HOA fees depend on the development.
There is no central homeowners association covering SCW. The Rec Center association does have a mandatory annual fee of $497 for all residents.
Note that there are Sun City West HOA rules to be aware of before moving to the community. Most importantly, SCW is an age-restricted community. At least one member of the household must be 55 or older. Permanent residency is not granted to anyone under 19.
Sun City West, AZ Population & Demographics
Sun City West is an unincorporated community in Maricopa County and a suburb of Phoenix. The population of Sun City West, AZ is almost 25,806 with 16,900 homes within 11 square miles.
Sun City West demographics:
- Median household income: $52,196
- Median age: 75.6 years
- Age distribution: 55 to 59 (3.6%), 60 to 64 (9.2%), 65 to 69 (13.8%), 70 to 74 (17.2%), 75 to 79 (19.5%), 80 to 84 (18.3%), 85 and older (14.8%)
- Sex ratio: 77.6 males for every 100 females
- Race and ethnicity: 97.5% white, 1.2% Hispanic, 1% Black or African American, 0.6% Asian, and 0.2% American Indian or Alaska Native
- Veteran population: 6,018
- Foreign-born: 5.6%
- Educational attainment: 34% bachelor’s degree or higher
Where is Sun City West, Arizona? The community is connected to its sister community, Sun City AZ, the original Sun City retirement community and one of the largest retirement communities in Arizona. It’s 34 miles from Sun City West AZ to Phoenix AZ.
What Is the Cost of Living in Sun City West?
Is Sun City West expensive? Ahead of moving to Sun City West, you’ll want to know typical expenses and the cost of living.
The Sun City West cost of living index is 105 which makes it 5% more expensive than the national average and just a little higher than the Arizona cost of living. Healthcare and groceries are affordable, but housing pushes the cost of living higher.
The median price of Sun City West homes for sale is $380,000, up 31% year-over-year. Sun City West condos start in the low $200s for one-bedroom units and the mid-$200s for two-bedroom units. You’ll find a variety of detached homes, patio homes, townhomes, and condos in the master-planned community. You can see homes for sale in Sun City West AZ to get a better idea of what moving to SCW will cost.
To better understand Sun City West living expenses, you’ll also want to know about community fees and unique features.
Most developments in Sun City West are outside school districts which means lower property taxes. However, you will find some newer developments with school district taxes.
Low taxes are just one factor that makes SCW a great place to retire. The average property tax bill on a $150,000 home is less than $575 per year!
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All residents of Sun City West pay a $497 annual fee for SCW rec centers. This annual fee per person is paid to the Recreation Centers of Sun City West (RCSCW). You can see the full list of fees here.
This Rec Center fee is the only annual community fee you will pay after moving to Sun City West, Arizona. The only additional charges are for bowling and golf.
When relocating to one of the best Arizona golf communities, you may want to consider golfing costs too. Sun City West golf courses have round fees that depend on the month and whether it’s a regulation or executive course. An unlimited annual golf card is $3,125.
Sun City West Weather
The Sun City West, AZ climate is hot desert with short, mild winters and long, very hot summers. After moving to Sun City West, AZ, you’ll love the pleasant winter weather with average highs in the 70s. Summers can be rough with average temperatures over 100 degrees from July to August and occasional monsoons. Annual rainfall is just 8” but you’ll get 300 average sunny days per year!
Things to Do in Sun City West, AZ
Ready to explore the top Sun City West activities you’ll enjoy? SCW is a complete master-planned community with recreation, dining, and shopping in the community plus the Banner Del E Webb Medical Center. The main entertainment and shopping area in the center of the community is home to three supermarkets: Fry’s Food and Drug, Safeway, and Bashas’. Shopping options include Ace Hardware, Sundrome Goodwill, Sundrome Plaza shopping center, and more. You’ll also find service providers, pharmacies, banks, an animal hospital, and the SCW post office here.
There are frequent community events, activities, and concerts. Check the Sun City West event calendar to see what’s happening in the community, on the great lawn, and at each rec center! You’ll also want to check out SCW clubs. The community has 98 chartered clubs and more non-chartered clubs that “put the ‘active’ in active adult living!” Discover new passions, make friends, and enjoy hobbies with clubs dedicated to art, gardening, dance, lawn bowling, karaoke, LGBT, woodworking, and more.
Here’s a look at the best things to do in Sun City West plus nearby attractions.
The Sports Pavilion in the R. H. Johnson Rec Center boasts dart boards, a billiard room, a golf Pro Shop, a bistro, and a 30-lane bowling alley. It’s one of the top Sun City West attractions!
The community’s theater offers live theater performances as well as movies.
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Sun City West Golf
As one of America’s premier golf retirement communities, the golf courses are one of the biggest amenities you’ll love after moving to Sun City West, AZ. There are seven Sun City West golf courses.
The four regulation SCW golf courses are:
There are three executive golf courses:
You can use the SCW Web Portal to make a tee time reservation. Public players must make a reservation at least four days in advance. Note that the RCSCW requires proper golf attire.
Sun City West Rec Centers
One of the highlights of living in Sun City West AZ is access to the community’s excellent rec centers. There are four centers managed by Recreation Centers of Sun City Valley that offer the following amenities:
- Bowling lanes and lawn bowling rinks
- Billiards and snooker tables
- 3 outdoor and 2 indoor pools
- Bocce ball, pickleball, and tennis courts
- Racquetball courts
- Fitness centers
- 2 mini golf courses
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Below are links to each SCW rec center for more information.
Best Restaurants in Sun City West, AZ
Living in Sun City West AZ means living your best life, complete with great food right nearby. Here are some of the best Sun City West restaurants to enjoy.
- Hole ‘n One. The best eatery for breakfast and light lunch options, Hole ‘n One is a casual golf-themed restaurant with pancakes, breakfast options, and sandwiches.Hole ‘n One, 13573 W Camino Del Sol, Sun City West, AZ 85375 (623) 584-0296
- The Crooked Putter Restaurant. This family-owned restaurant is a longtime favorite among SCW residents with a laid-back environment and classic American cuisine. The Crooked Putter Restaurant, 14260 W Meeker Blvd, Sun City West, AZ 85375 (623) 544-6090
- Nan Jing. The most popular place for Chinese food near SCW, you’ll find Nan Jing in the center of town. Nan Jing, 13606 W Camino Del Sol # 101, Sun City West, AZ 85375 (623) 584-1888
Sun City West, AZ Statistics & Information
- County: Maricopa
- Area: 11.97 square feet
- Zip codes: 85375, 85376, and 85378
- Area code: 623
- Elevation: 1,234 feet
- Time zone: UTC-7 (MST)
Sun City West, Arizona Map
Tips for Living in Sun City West AZ
- Choose from condos, townhomes, and detached homes with or without an HOA
- Enjoy the affordable Sun City West lifestyle with only a $497 annual fee
- Spend your days pursuing interests with hundreds of clubs, golfing, swimming, and more
- Enjoy easy access to medical care in the community
Does living in Sun City West, Arizona sound like a dream come true? Get settled into your new home quickly and without the stress with the 5-star movers at Mentors Moving & Storage! Give us a call to discuss your transition and request a free, personalized estimate for full-service moving.