Sun City was the first large-scale retirement community in the United States. Today, there are several retirement communities that share the Sun City name and retirement community concept.
The Original Sun City
While it has long been sold out as far as new homes are concerned, the very first Sun City retirement community in Arizona is still an active and thriving community. Many consider it to still be a very special feeling to be able to say that they live in one of the first retirement communities in the United States.
You can still buy a home there, though if you want a brand new home, you’ll have to focus your search one one of the newer Sun City developments like Sun City Anthem and Sun City Festival.
Membership in the Sun City HOA is optional, but at just $12 a year it’d be wise to join as you do get some benefits for being a member.
The not-for-profit Recreation Centers of Sun City (RCSC, for short) manages the abundant recreational facilities in Sun City which include seven recreation facilities and seven and a half (one 9-hole) golf courses.
The yearly fee for the rec facilities is still less than $400…a great bargain no matter where in the country you’re looking. Remember that if you buy in some of the newer communities with state-of-the-art amenities and facilities you may pay that or more every month.
The golf is not free like in some other communities like The Villages Florida, but you can get a “Golf Permit” which is like a discount card and will same you money on greens fees, etc.
Sun City West
Sun City West is located just 2 miles west of the original Sun City Arizona and 45 minutes north of Phoenix (Maricopa County). It began in 1978 and is now home to more than 30,000 people from all over North America.
Available real estate includes single-family homes, duplexes, garden apartments, and condos ranging in price from the $100k’s to the seven figure mark. Rental apartments are also available.
Typical Sun City Covenants and Restrictions apply, such as at least one member of the household must be 55 yrs. old, no one under 19. Children visiting can only stay a max of 90 days. Yard and shrubs must be kept up. No sheds or storage buildings allowed. We cover these restrictions in depth for you in the Complete Guide to Sun City West.
Currently the fees are less than $300…per year. You’ll pay that monthly in a lot of other retirement communities. This fee covers operating the recreational facilities and does not include free golf like some retirement communities.
There are some parts of Sun City West which have separate associations that maintain the landscaping of your home for an additional fee. You may also choose a home where you are responsible for the landscaping and upkeep of your yard.
There are four recreation centers with everything you’d expect like swimming pools, bowling, tennis, fitness, racketball, softball fields, and more.
Golf is a favorite pastime in Sun City West, which is considered one of the first and largest golf retirement communities in America. There are seven golf courses, four of them are championship length and three are executive courses.
When it comes to real estate taxes, Sun City West is a relative bargain compared to other retirement communities. Most parts of Sun City West do not have to pay school taxes (usually about 1/3 of your property tax bill). Property taxes will vary though, depending on which part of Sun City West you live in.
Sun City Grand
Sun City Grand is the third retirement community built by Del Webb in Arizona, located in Surprise, Arizona. This is only about 5 miles from the original Sun City Arizona. Sun City Grand has nearly 10,000 homes. The community is sold out, so only resales are available.
Covenants and restrictions apply, such as at least one member of the household must be 55 yrs. old, no one under 19. SOME people 45 and over are now permitted to own a home and live there without someone over 55. Be sure to read over the Sun City Grand C & R’s before making your final purchase decision.
The current HOA assessment is under $1,000 per year.
Sun City Grand has two large rec. facilities with swimming pools, fitness, billiards, etc., and three par 72 Golf Courses.
Sun City Festival
The Sun City Festival 55-plus retirement community is located in Buckeye, Arizona, and again very close to Phoenix, and the original Sun City Arizona community.
Sun City Festival is a very new community, and homes are available through the builder Del Webb from the $200s on up.
The recreation facilities at Sun City Festival are state-of-the-art. Of course there are swimming pools, billiards and the usual stuff but also some neat new stuff like a wellness center, cyber cafe, and an outdoor ampitheatre to name a few.
The 18-hole championship Copper Canyon golf course is managed by Troon Golf, one of the most respected names in the business. The course is currently open to the public, and residents of Sun City Festival get preferred rates.
Sun City Anthem
Sun City Anthem is another new 55-plus retirement community in Arizona southeast of Phoenix. There is also an all ages community nearby, Anthem by Del Webb at Merrill Ranch.
From the Anthem website:
“Like the original Sun City Arizona, most Sun Cities are stand alone communities and true destinations in themselves. But more and more, Sun Cities are being folded into larger all-ages master plans.”
The cool thing is that if you live in the 55+ Sun City Anthem, you can also use the amenities in the all ages community. Great for when the kids and grandkids come for a visit.
Amazing amenities and activities available for you here folks. A nearly 50,000 square foot facility houses indoor and outdoor swimming pools, yoga and massage rooms, and an Arizona State University Lifelong learning program.
Homes are available priced from the mid $100’s on up. There is a “vacation” program where you can go and stay there for a couple days to experience the lifestyle and see if you might want to live there.
The 18-hole Championship Poston Butte Golf Course is managed by Troon Golf.