View of the outdoor pool and patio surrounded by palm trees at Sun Village in Surprise, Arizona

Arizona has many active adult communities offering attractive amenities and affordable homes.

If you’re looking for the best lowest-priced communities in Arizona for a retirement or holiday home, there are plenty of choices. A simple way to narrow down your search is to look for any 55+ active adult community with the word ‘sun’ in its name. Our researches reveal that communities with ‘sun’ in their name tend to have the lowest prices and the best amenities. That’s partly because they're mostly larger communities, so they're more likely to have a number of smaller homes and, therefore, lower prices.

Most of the best lowest-priced communities in Arizona are located in Central Arizona. The climate there is nearly perfect, and if you love golf or other outdoor activities, then Central Arizona (mainly the area around Phoenix) provides you with virtually year-round opportunities. Southern Arizona has a similar climate of hot summers and mild winters, while Northern Arizona does experience winters, sometimes severe ones. Before choosing your Arizona retirement location, it’s important to check the climate in these three parts of the state.

1. Sun City - Sun City, AZ

Below $100K - High $800s

Sun City is the oldest and biggest 55+ active adult community in Arizona, but it still offers the best combination of lower-priced homes and top-class amenities. It has 27,492 attached and single-family homes as well as condos, and homes here sell for well below $100K.

If you’re able to downsize, then there are several models available at under 1,000 square feet with the smallest model being a studio apartment at a compact 635 square feet. Some models offer two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a one-car garage, while others have one bedroom, one bathroom, and a two-car garage. There are also duplexes that have one bedroom, one bathroom, and no garage.

Sun City was the first purpose-built active adult retirement community in the USA. It’s located between the cities of Peoria and Surprise at the northwestern corner of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. As such, Downtown Phoenix is less than thirty minutes away, as is the city’s major international airport. In complete contrast, a similar drive in a different direction takes you to several outdoor recreational areas, including the Sonoran Preserve, which offers almost 10,000 acres and 36 miles of trails to explore. 

However, you don’t need to leave Sun City at all, if you don’t want to, as its first-class amenities can keep anyone occupied 24/7. It has no fewer than 11 golf courses, 19 shopping areas with groceries, banks, and pharmacies, and 31 places of worship. It has its own hospital, a ballroom, a performing arts theater, an outdoor amphitheater, numerous indoor and outdoor pools, and facilities for many different arts and crafts. There are several fitness centers and countless sporting activities to choose from.

2. Sun City West - Sun City West, AZ

Low $100s - High $600s

Sun City West is Arizona’s second-biggest active adult retirement community, located just a few miles northwest of the original Sun City. It has a 55+ age restriction and contains 16,900 attached and single-family homes. Prices start here in the low $100s, slightly higher than at Sun City.

The most compact and, therefore, the most affordable properties are their attached patio homes. These start at 761 square feet with one bedroom, one bathroom, and a one-and-a-half-car garage. If you want two bedrooms, their smallest single-family homes offer 800 square feet, two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a double carport.

Sun City West is also large enough to offer a hospital among its amenities. There are nine golf courses, nine restaurants, 18 places of worship, as well as banks, pharmacies, groceries, and other shops within the community. There are four recreation centers which offer such amenities as indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centers, indoor and outdoor walking tracks, ballrooms, hobby and craft rooms, a theater, a concert hall, and a library. Sporting facilities include courts for tennis, bocce, pickleball, shuffleboard, volleyball, and basketball, plus a softball field and lawn bowling rinks.

3. Fountain of the Sun - Mesa, AZ

Below $100K - Mid $200s

Fountain of the Sun is a gated community for the 55+ active adult, and it has 2,296 attached, manufactured, and single-family homes. Prices here start below $100K for smaller models, with larger homes available in the low $100s. The community is in Mesa, a city within the Greater Phoenix Area, a 35-minute drive from Downtown Phoenix but only 15 minutes from the 3,648-acre Usery Mountain Regional Park.

Amenities include a country club with an 18-hole golf course, a clubhouse, a ballroom, a fitness center, an arts and crafts studio, lakes and ponds, a heated outdoor pool and spa, and courts for shuffleboard and pickleball.

4. Sunbird - Chandler, AZ

Below $100K - Mid $200K

Sunbird is a gated community for the 55+ active adult, and it has 1,631 single-family homes. The smallest models are 745 square feet with one bedroom, one bathroom, and a one-car garage. Prices start below $100K, but as this is a smaller community, the lower-priced homes are not always available so register your interest with a reliable realtor.

Sunbird is located in Chandler, a city at the very southern edge of the Greater Phoenix Area. It’s 40 minutes from Downtown Phoenix but only a few minutes from the start of the unspoiled Arizona desert. Amenities include an 18-hole golf course, a fitness center, an outdoor pool, an arts and crafts studios, four tennis courts, and six shuffleboard courts.

5. Sun Village - Surprise, AZ

Below $100K - High $200s

Sun Village is a gated 55+ community with 1,382 attached and single-family homes. The smallest homes are 634 square feet with one bedroom, one bathroom, and a one-car garage. Prices start at around $100K, but as with all smaller communities, register your details with a realtor so you know when lower-priced homes come on the market.

Sun Village is in the city of Surprise, a 40-minute drive northwest of Downtown Phoenix on the edge of the metropolitan area, just a few miles from the Arizona desert landscape. Amenities include an 18-hole golf course, a community center, a fitness center, a library, ballroom, an outdoor pool and spa, tennis and pickleball courts, and arts and crafts facilities. It’s the smallest of these best lowest-priced communities in Arizona but by no means lacking in amenities for its residents.