With an abundance of wide open spaces and spectacular landscapes, it's no wonder the Grand Canyon State is one of the hottest destinations in the country — and we're not talking about the temperature. This state has everything from world-class outdoor recreation and culturally rich cities to serene small-town living.
Unfortunately, the popularity of moving to Arizona means the state's population increased by 11.9% from 2010 to 2010, creating a steep rise in home prices. However, there are still some affordable places to live in Arizona, which we'll cover below.
If you're dead set on moving to Arizona, there's one way to make sure you put your best foot forward: work with an expert real estate agent. They'll know exactly where to look to find you a new home that's in a great location without breaking the bank.
At Clever Real Estate, we can match you with agents in any area you're interested in — whether you want an updated condo in Flowing Wells or a cozy single-family home near Sahuarita. You can even look in multiple areas at the same time and interview as many agents as you need to find the perfect place to call home.
Top affordable cities in Arizona
Affordability might be your number one reason for moving, but there are other factors to consider as well. To help narrow down your search for your next dream home, we took a look at factors such as top schools, best areas for retirees, and more. We found not only the most affordable places to live in Arizona, but the ones that will fit your lifestyle the best.
|🏡 Best overall||Flowing Wells|
|👪 Best for families||Sahuarita|
|💰 Best for first-time buyers||Coolidge|
|🌴 Best for retirees||Apache Junction|
|🔑 Best for renters||Florence|
How affordable is housing in Arizona?
Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S., and the increase in population is causing the cost of living, especially housing costs, to skyrocket. As real estate prices soar, so does PTI (price-to-income ratio), a standard calculation that reflects home affordability in an area.
|🤔 What's PTI?
Financial experts use PTI (price-to-income) to calculate housing affordability.
PTI = home price ÷ household income
If the PTI of a location is over 2.6, it usually means home prices far exceed what people can afford based on the median household income.
According to the most recent data from the US Census Bureau, Arizona’s median home value is $242,000 and the median household income is $61,529. This makes the PTI ratio of Arizona 3.9, far exceeding the recommended PTI ratio of 2.6 — and putting the majority of Arizona's cities out of most people's price range.
$242,000 ÷ $61,529 = 3.9
And before you ask, renting isn't much more affordable. Arizona’s median gross rent is $1,097, just $10 cheaper than the national average.
Luckily, there are some places left that are affordable and safe to live in. To find you the cheapest places in Arizona, we looked at PTI ratios, costs of living, and other factors (learn more about our methodology).
|💸 Remember the 28/36 rule
Financial experts recommend spending no more than 28% of your gross monthly income on housing, and no more than 36% of your gross monthly income on ALL debts. This will give you a much better understanding of what YOU specifically can afford and where you should live.
Best overall: Flowing Wells
|Median home value||$44,900|
|Median household income||$34,581|
|Median resident age||37.5|
|Crime rate||42.56 per 1,000 residents|
If you’re looking for the most affordable place to buy a house in Arizona, Flowing Wells should be at the top of your list. The median home is valued at $44,900 and the median household income is $34,581 a year. Additionally, most households pay less than $800 in property taxes per year.
If you plan to rent, the median cost is about $840 per month — $257 cheaper than the state average.
Located just outside of Tucson, Flowing Wells residents have easy access to several major attractions, including the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the Pima Air and Space Museum, and Saguaro National Park. Award-winning restaurants — such as Southern fusion gastropub The Parish and authentic Tavolino Ristorante Italiano — are in the area as well.
Honorable mention: Kingman
For those who prefer an authentic desert locale, Kingman is a great alternative to Flowing Wells — and with a comparably low PTI ratio of 2.1. The median home value is $74,200 the median household income is $36,169, and most homeowners pay less than $800 in property taxes per year.
Kingman is just a short drive away from museums, entertainment, restaurants, and other attractions throughout Mohave County. Kingman is home to the Arizona Route 66 Museum, the Kingman Railway Museum, and the Mohave Museum of History and Arts. If you want to explore the outdoors, you can spend your weekends at Neal Butler Park, Lewis Kingman Park, or the Monolith Garden Trail. Then, you can wind down for the evening at the highly-rated Desert Diamond Distillery.
Even after you've found an affordable place to live in Arizona, moving there can be expensive. By working with a Clever Partner Agent, you'll have an expert in your corner, but you might also be able to take advantage of Clever Cash Back.
When you use a Clever agent to buy a home, you may be eligible for up to 0.5% cash back to use on anything you want. For the average home value of $242,000, you'd pocket $1,210 to help you move (or buy that new dining set you've always wanted).
Best for families: Sahuarita
|Median home value||$237,300|
|Median household income||$85,247|
|Median resident age||37.1|
|Crime rate||20.87 per 1,000 residents|
Located just south of Tucson, Sahuarita’s reasonable PTI ratio, low crime rate, and highly rated school system makes this city an ideal choice for families with children. The Sahuarita Unified District was ranked among the top five school districts in Arizona in 2020 and boasts a graduation rate of 88%. The population also strikes a good balance between new parents and families with older children.
Plus, the town has one of the lowest crime rates in the state, making it both safe and affordable for families.
Sahuarita residents earn a higher household income compared with other Arizonans, and home values are still very reasonable. On the other hand, residents who are not ready to be homeowners pay the most expensive rent in the state: $1,350.
Honorable mention: Sierra Vista
With a larger and slightly younger population than Sahuarita, Sierra Vista is a good option in southern Arizona for families who are looking to rent instead of buy. The median gross rent of the area is $977 (below the state average).
The Sierra Vista Unified School District consists of 8 schools — all rated Highly Performing or Performing Plus by Arizona Learns — and was ranked among the top three best districts in the state.
Best for first-time home buyers: Coolidge
|Median home value||$122,400|
|Median household income||$52,361|
|Median resident age||34.0|
|Crime rate||20.87 per 1,000 residents|
Conservative home costs, a younger population, and a low cost of living make Coolidge a great option for first-time home buyers who want to start building equity. Although the median household income in Coolidge is under $50,000, the average home in the area is still highly affordable.
The cost of living in Coolidge is 19% lower than the national average.
You can expect relatively low housing, utility, and transportation expenses. With all those savings, you can try out a new local restaurant every week.
Honorable mention: Drexel Heights
Drexel Heights is a great alternative to Coolidge, with a PTI of 2.5 and proportionally low costs of living. Although slightly more expensive, the area is just west of Tucson and more densely populated if you prefer living in a bigger city.
Moving to an affordable place in Arizona might lighten the load on your wallet — but with this state's high prices, it never hurts to make sure you know exactly what your budget is. You don't want to fall in love with the perfect townhouse in Coolidge and find out it's more than you can afford. Check out the below map to see what average mortgage rates are in Arizona.
Best for retirees: Apache Junction
|Median home value||$122,000|
|Median household income||$46,708|
|Median resident age||54.7|
|Crime rate||35.14 per 1,000 residents|
Arizona is a well-known hotspot for retirees, yet there aren’t enough affordable retirement communities and senior living facilities to meet the rising demands. Apache Junction, just outside of the Phoenix metro area, is one exception. With a PTI ratio of just 2.6 and median gross rent of $811, residents can enjoy the warm weather, golf courses, and other activities the region has to offer.
There are several highly rated 55+ communities and senior living facilities in Apache Junction:
- Palmas Del Sol East. Two-bedroom, two-bathroom homes start at just $70,000 here, and a full-time activities director ensures that all residents can find fun ways to fill their days.
- Brookdale Senior Living, located just 25 miles from Phoenix, offers both independent and assisted living for seniors. It’s also close to the Banner Goldfield and Mountain Vista Medical Centers.
- Visions Assisted Living provides residents with 24/7 care, housekeeping services, and social and activity programs.
Can't wait to move to Arizona? We don't blame you! A great first step is getting matched with a Clever agent who can help you find the perfect neighborhood with all your must-haves. While you're at it, earn cash back to use on whatever you want after closing.
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Honorable mention: Sun City
Despite its name, Sun City isn’t actually a city — it’s an unincorporated, age-restricted community dedicated to retirees. Located in the Phoenix metro area, Sun City homes can cost from $35,000 to $350,000, giving residents plenty of housing options based on their lifestyles and budgets.
Sun City has other unexpected tax savings for residents as well: no sales tax and consistently low property taxes (ranging from just $300 to $1,300 per year).
Retirees looking for a continuing care retirement community will be pleased to know that Sun City offers options for independent living, assisted living, memory care, and rehabilitative care.
Honorable mention: Fortuna Foothills
Fortuna Foothills was ranked the No. 11 best place to retire in Arizona for 2021. With almost half of all residents aged 65 or older, the city has the highest median age (61.4) among all of the most affordable cities.
The PTI ratio is 2.6 — well within the recommended 2.6 bracket. However, renters beware: the median rent is $1,134, $37 higher than the state average.
Best for renters: Florence
|Median household income||$58,363|
|Median resident age||40.3|
|Crime rate||143.45 per 1,000 residents|
Located south of Phoenix, the city of Florence is a bit pricier for home buyers. However, the median gross rent is just $827, compared with the state median of $1,097.
Florence residents can also enjoy a cost of living that’s 13% below the national average.
Compared with national figures, Florence residents pay less on average for housing, health care, and groceries.
Families who plan to rent can rest easy knowing that Neighborhood Scout named Florence as one of the nation’s 100 safest cities for 2021 — a lower crime rate than 96% of Arizona’s other communities.
Honorable mention: Yuma
For younger renters who want affordable housing options in a bustling multicultural city, Yuma is a great choice. Compared with Florence, Yuma has only a slightly higher rent ($917) and a younger, larger population — nearly 100,000 residents around 30 years old.
While there are plenty of bars, restaurants, and breweries in Yuma, its top attractions are its parks and museums. History enthusiasts will love visiting the Castle Dome Mines Museum and Ghost Town, and hikers will enjoy exploring the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park and the Colorado River State Historic Park.
The benefits of a good real estate agent
You might be wondering why you need a real estate agent if you've just started researching affordable places to live. You don't need one until you've decided on a house to buy, right?
Actually, it's never too early to start looking for the perfect agent. In fact, a realtor early can help narrow your search for a new place to live even faster than researching on your own.
A real estate agent's job is to know everything about their local area. They'll find the best deals in the hottest neighborhoods — and might just help you get your dream home for an affordable price. Let a Clever agent help you narrow down your options today!
Buy your dream home with a top local realtor from a trusted brand like Keller Williams or RE/MAX. Keep more money in your pocket by earning cash back on eligible purchases.
Enter your zip code to request hand-picked agent matches in minutes. Compare your options until you find the perfect fit, or walk away with no obligation. Try Clever's free service today!
We selected the most affordable cities by analyzing each city's price-to-income (PTI) ratio, which is calculated by dividing each city's median home value by its median household income (both from the latest US Census). While cities with PTI ratios close to or below 2.6 were considered, we looked beyond housing costs alone to determine each area’s affordability.
We reviewed factors such as median rent prices, costs of living, taxes, health care, and city-specific expenses using the latest US Census Bureau data, Payscale's Cost of Living Calculator, and Data USA. Crime statistics were gathered from NeighborhoodScout, CrimeGrade.org, and the FBI.
Furthermore, we included at least one honorable mention for each category to account for more individual preferences, such as school systems, transportation options, and culture and entertainment.
Finally, we narrowed our options to cities with at least 10,000 residents.
Frequently asked questions about affordable places to live in Arizona
What is the most affordable city in Arizona?
Based strictly on the price-to-income ratio, Flowing Wells is the cheapest place to buy a home in Arizona. With a PTI ratio of just 1.3, residents can comfortably afford to buy a house on the local median household income of $34,581.
Where is the cheapest place to retire in Arizona?
Apache Junction is one of the most affordable places for residents age 55 and older to buy a home in Arizona. The median age in this city is 54.7, and it's home to the luxurious Palmas Del Sol East community. Other great options for retirees include Sun City and Fortuna Foothills.