Sierra Vista is a small city of about 45,000 people in Southern Arizona, and it appeals to homebuyers who want smaller communities of a few hundred people rather than the larger communities you find around Phoenix and Tucson. It's very much for those who like small-town living rather than the big city, but there 's still a lot going on and the place has great character. It also has beautiful scenery—after all, the name in English means "Mountain View."
Sierra Vista is surrounded by mountains, with several ranges on the horizon: the Huachuca, the Dragoon, the Whetstone, the Mustang, and the Mule Mountains. Homes with mountain views are in great demand. Popular tourist towns are also nearby with the former mining town of Bisbee and the old west town of Tombstone each only a 30-minute drive away.
Tucson International Airport is about a 75-minute drive northwest, mostly on Interstate 10, and Downtown Tucson is just a little further. It's a similar distance to the Mexican border town of Nogales, where many residents take advantage of cheaper dental care and prescription drugs, though Sierra Vista also has two hospitals for medical care.
Sierra Vista enjoys the typically mild Southern Arizona climate. Snow isn't common, though a bad winter will see a few inches, which usually melts quickly as the days warm up. Nights can be cold, with occasional freezes. There are usually only a few rainy days per month, except in July and August when the summer monsoon rains provide spectacular thunder and lightning, turning the surrounding mountains into a light show.
From April to October, temperatures range from the mid 70s through to the low 90s, but some years, you'll get periods when it goes over 100 degrees for days, sometimes weeks, at a time.
Cost of Living and Taxes
Homes here are cheaper than around cities like Tucson and Phoenix, and the cost of living in Sierra Vista is lower than both the national average and the average for Arizona. Arizona also has several tax advantages for retirees.
Culture and Events
The city also has a thriving cultural life. It has its own symphony orchestra, and in the summer, there are regular music concerts in Veterans' Park. There's an annual cowboy music and poetry festival, a birdwatching festival, and many events at the city library. The city's two active adult communities also organize events for their own residents.
Mid $100s - Low $400s
Winterhaven is the larger of the two communities with 630 single-family homes. It's a gated 55+ community located right on the edge of the city, only a 5-minute drive from the city center. Home models here range from 1,200 to 3,000 square feet with two or three bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, and an attached garage.
For a comparatively small community, it offers attractive amenities. Within Winterhaven itself, there are two clubhouses, two outdoor pools, a spa, an exercise room, billiards, a card room, and courts for bocce and shuffleboard. Residents also have the option of joining the neighboring Pueblo Del Sol Country Club, an 18-hole golf course which also has a clubhouse, an outdoor pool, two tennis courts, and The Grille restaurant.
Winterhaven residents also have access to a number of clubs, groups, activities, and classes including neighborhood cook-outs, a bocce club, swimming and tennis activities, and parties on holidays.
Below $100k - Mid $100s
Vista View Resort is on the eastern edge of the city, backing onto desert land, and it's about a 10-minute drive from downtown. It's a gated community with a 55+ age restriction, and it has 355 single-family homes.
Amenities here include a clubhouse, a fitness center, a catering kitchen, a computer room, a library, an outdoor pool and spa, and hiking and biking trails. Residents also organize plenty of social activities and clubs, including potluck suppers, water aerobics, dancing, live music, casino trips, card groups, and computer and technology classes. There are also several golf courses within a 20-minute drive of the community.
The smallest models are 1,088 square feet with one bedroom, a den or small second bedroom, one-and-a-half bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage. They also have a covered patio, and some homes have opted to extend their garage space to accommodate either a workshop or a golf cart. The largest models are 1,865 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage.