Sun City and Sun City Grand may only be about 10 miles apart in the Greater Phoenix Area of Central Arizona, but why choose one community over another? They are both non-gated Del Webb communities for the 55+ active adult, but what are the differences between Sun City and Sun City Grand?
Sun City was the first 55+ active adult community in the U.S. when it was built, with work starting in 1960. With 27,492 attached and single-family homes, and condos, it remains the largest such community in Arizona.
Sun City Grand, despite the name, is smaller. Construction here began in 1996, and today, it has 9,802 homes, which are also a mix of attached, condo, and single-family homes. Given that Sun City is almost three times the size of Sun City Grand, residents can expect more by way of amenities as well as active clubs and groups to get involved with.
With a far greater number of homes, buyers can expect a wider choice of homes available at Sun City at any one time compared to Sun City Grand. Prices also start lower at Sun City, with smaller condos and attached homes starting at well under $100k. At the upper end of the market, larger homes command prices in the high $800s.
In contrast, the most affordable homes in Sun City Grand are in the mid $100s and also go up to the high $800s. If your budget for buying your home in Arizona is under $200k, then either place will have options, but there are far more to choose from in Sun City. If your budget is under $100k, then Sun City is where to look.
Hand in hand with house prices normally goes model size. If you're looking to downsize, want a low-maintenance home, or are just looking to be a snowbird in an inexpensive winter vacation home, both communities have options, but Sun City has a wider selection.
The smallest homes at Sun City are studio apartments of 635 square feet with one bathroom and either a carport or one-car garage. The largest homes are 2,137 square feet, and these have two bedrooms, a den, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage.
Sun City Grand offers condos as small as 427 square feet, with one bedroom, one bathroom, and a one-car garage. These do, however, fetch higher prices than the slightly larger apartments in Sun City. If it's space you're looking for, then Sun City Grand wins easily. It has far larger models than Sun City, going up to 3,388 square feet for their Windsor models. These homes have three bedrooms, a den, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and a two-and-a-half-car garage.
There's little to choose between when it comes to location as the two communities are so close to one another, but there are subtle differences. Both are in the extreme northwest of the Greater Phoenix area, with easy access to both city attractions and the great outdoors. In that respect, Sun City Grand is on the very edge of the desert, a 5-minute drive away, while for Sun City residents it's a 20-minute drive.
Sun City Grand is a 10-minute drive from the facilities of downtown Surprise, a city of almost 150,000 people, while Sun City is a 5-minute drive from the city of Peoria, with a population of about 175,000. From Sun City, you can be in downtown Phoenix in thirty minutes, while it's an extra ten minutes from Sun City Grand. These are not huge differences but might influence your decision.
Both communities are large enough to qualify as towns in their own right, but because of its sheer size, Sun City has more to offer. If you plan to have a very active lifestyle in Arizona, then Sun City will probably appeal more. If you're a keen golfer, for example, it has 11 courses compared to only four at Sun City Grand.
Sun City also has amenities that Sun City Grand cannot match, such as its 30 churches, a synagogue, and its own hospital. It also has two libraries, a performing arts theater, an outdoor amphitheater that attracts big-name acts, and two fishing lakes.
While Sun City Grand can't compete with such facilities, it's still a large active adult community with more amenities than most. As well as the four golf courses, the amenities include five recreation centers, two fitness centers, five indoor and outdoor pools, two spas, an outdoor amphitheater, a softball field, and courts for tennis, pickleball, and bocce.
In both communities, residents enjoy a very active lifestyle, with numerous clubs, classes, groups, and activities to take advantage of. Again because of its size, there's more going on in Sun City, but there are enough activities at Sun City Grand to make most other communities jealous. If a particular pastime is a passion for you or you want to learn a particular skill, then it would be worth checking the lists of available options in both places to see if there's an active society or group for you.
However, there's one facility at Sun City Grand that Sun City cannot match—it has its own TV station.