Most Expensive Places To Live In Arizona For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in Arizona that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the most expensive places to live in Arizona.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Arizona does this very well. Families love the Grand Canyon State's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.

These are the places in Arizona that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Arizona for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Arizona? That would be Sedona.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 57 places in Arizona with more than 5,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in Arizona? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Sedona is the most expensive place to live in Arizona.

So hopefully Holbrook (the cheapest place to live in Arizona) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about Arizona and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Arizona For 2020

Sedona, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 10,315
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 7.7x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.2x (7th most expensive)
More on Sedona: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sedona is a city that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, its population was 10,031.

The median income in Sedona comes in at $60,015 and the median home value is $461,900 for 2020.

Flagstaff, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 71,202
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.8x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.7x (5th most expensive)
More on Flagstaff: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.

The median income in Flagstaff comes in at $56,015 and the median home value is $323,200 for 2020.

Tempe, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 183,652
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.7x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.7x (8th most expensive)
More on Tempe: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tempe, also known as Hayden's Ferry during the territorial times of Arizona, is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, with the Census Bureau reporting a 2010 population of 161,719. The city is named after the Vale of Tempe in Greece. Tempe is located in the East Valley section of metropolitan Phoenix; it is bordered by Phoenix and Guadalupe on the west, Scottsdale on the north, Chandler on the south, and Mesa on the east. Tempe is also the location of the main campus of Arizona State University.

The median income in Tempe comes in at $54,210 and the median home value is $255,800 for 2020.

Cottonwood, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 11,826
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.7x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 37.7x (1st most expensive)
More on Cottonwood: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Cottonwood comes in at $34,209 and the median home value is $159,600 for 2020.

Prescott, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 42,068
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 6.1x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.3x (40th most expensive)
More on Prescott: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Prescott is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 39,843. The city is the county seat of Yavapai County. In 1864 Prescott was designated as the capital of the Arizona Territory, replacing the temporary capital at Fort Whipple. The Territorial Capital was moved to Tucson in 1867. Prescott again became the Territorial Capital in 1877, until Phoenix became the capital in 1889.

The median income in Prescott comes in at $54,037 and the median home value is $328,000 for 2020.

Payson, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 15,439
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (12th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.2x (20th most expensive)
More on Payson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Payson is a town in northern Gila County, Arizona, United States. Its location puts it very near to the geographic center of Arizona. Payson has been called "The Heart of Arizona". The town is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest and has many outdoor activities year round. As of the 2010 census, the population of Payson was 15,301.

The median income in Payson comes in at $50,049 and the median home value is $221,700 for 2020.

Prescott Valley, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 43,198
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.1x (19th most expensive)
More on Prescott Valley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Prescott Valley is a town with a current population of about 45,500 residents located in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States, and a suburb of Prescott. Prescott Valley was the seventh fastest-growing place among all cities and towns in Arizona between 1990 and 2000.

The median income in Prescott Valley comes in at $48,375 and the median home value is $210,500 for 2020.

Cave Creek, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,569
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.7x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 64.9x (49th most expensive)
More on Cave Creek: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cave Creek is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. It is 27mi northeast of Phoenix. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 5,015.

The median income in Cave Creek comes in at $85,529 and the median home value is $485,400 for 2020.

Surprise, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 132,904
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (28th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.6x (12th most expensive)
More on Surprise: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Surprise is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona. The population was 30,848 at the 2000 census; however, rapid expansion has boosted the city's population to 117,517 at the 2010 census, an increase of 281%. As such, it is the second fastest-expanding municipality in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area and, between 1990 and 2000, it was the sixth fastest-expanding place among all cities and towns in Arizona.

The median income in Surprise comes in at $65,160 and the median home value is $225,200 for 2020.

Tolleson, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,184
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.8x (21st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 47.7x (6th most expensive)
More on Tolleson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tolleson is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 6,545.

The median income in Tolleson comes in at $42,935 and the median home value is $162,400 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Grand Canyon State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Arizona
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Arizona to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 57 places in Arizona that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Arizona according to the data is Sedona. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Arizona For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in Arizona that have the highest cost of living, with Sedona ranking as the most expensive city in the Grand Canyon State.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in Arizona according to the data:

  1. Holbrook
  2. Winslow
  3. Safford

For more Arizona reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Arizona

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Sedona 3.67 10,315 7.7x 48.2x
2 Flagstaff 5.67 71,202 5.8x 46.7x
3 Tempe 10.0 183,652 4.7x 48.7x
4 Cottonwood 14.0 11,826 4.7x 37.7x
5 Prescott 16.67 42,068 6.1x 60.3x
6 Payson 17.0 15,439 4.4x 52.2x
7 Prescott Valley 17.67 43,198 4.4x 52.1x
8 Cave Creek 18.67 5,569 5.7x 64.9x
9 Surprise 19.33 132,904 3.5x 50.6x
10 Tolleson 19.33 7,184 3.8x 47.7x
11 Scottsdale 20.0 246,026 5.4x 65.9x
12 Paradise Valley 20.33 14,215 7.4x 109.6x
13 Lake Havasu City 21.0 53,952 4.6x 57.9x
14 Fountain Hills 21.0 24,490 5.0x 66.1x
15 Phoenix 21.33 1,610,071 4.0x 54.8x
16 Camp Verde 22.33 11,169 4.6x 55.0x
17 Litchfield Park 22.67 5,899 3.6x 57.5x
18 Chino Valley 22.67 11,376 4.1x 54.6x
19 Mesa 24.0 491,194 3.8x 55.4x
20 Glendale 24.33 245,514 3.8x 54.6x
21 Oro Valley 24.67 43,815 3.9x 64.2x
22 Youn 24.67 6,747 3.4x 43.5x
23 Bisbee 25.0 5,231 3.9x 49.4x
24 Tucson 25.0 539,216 3.5x 50.5x
25 Avondale 26.0 83,392 3.3x 51.8x
26 Nogales 26.0 20,288 4.2x 51.3x
27 Goodyear 27.33 77,476 3.4x 60.2x
28 El Mirage 28.0 35,004 2.8x 46.2x
29 Chandler 28.33 248,631 3.5x 64.8x
30 Show Low 28.67 11,014 3.3x 51.2x
31 South Tucson 29.0 5,666 3.5x 38.1x
32 Peoria 29.33 164,572 3.4x 60.6x
33 Queen Creek 29.67 36,053 3.5x 67.8x
34 Gilbert 30.0 237,484 3.4x 64.6x
35 San Luis 30.67 32,279 3.4x 49.0x
36 Wickenburg 31.0 7,021 4.3x 72.3x
37 Maricopa 31.67 47,314 2.7x 51.8x
38 Casa Grande 33.0 54,316 2.9x 52.0x
39 Snowflake 33.67 5,724 3.6x 63.4x
40 Kingman 33.67 29,244 3.0x 53.1x
41 Bullhead City 35.67 40,024 3.0x 52.9x
42 Sahuarita 36.0 28,949 2.6x 56.6x
43 Somerton 36.67 15,932 3.0x 53.4x
44 Yuma 37.33 95,573 2.8x 53.5x
45 Sierra Vista 37.67 43,550 2.9x 62.6x
46 Marana 38.0 43,606 2.9x 69.1x
47 Guadalupe 38.33 6,405 2.8x 51.1x
48 Florence 40.0 26,350 2.9x 60.2x
49 Page 41.67 7,547 2.7x 60.8x
50 Globe 42.0 7,346 2.8x 57.4x
51 Douglas 45.0 16,453 2.8x 58.5x
52 Apache Junction 45.0 39,674 2.3x 55.3x
53 Coolidge 47.33 12,503 2.1x 56.7x
54 Eloy 49.67 18,083 2.2x 58.1x
55 Safford 50.67 9,735 2.6x 79.1x
56 Winslow 51.0 9,505 2.4x 63.5x
57 Holbrook 55.67 5,037 1.9x 67.0x

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.