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Best Places to Live: Tucson, AZ

April 17, 2012

Breathtaking Sonoran Desert scenery, balmy winters, historic sites, excellent golfing—there’s no wrong reason to fall in love with Tucson. Here are four of our favorites:

1. Tucson quality of life.

Warm, sunny days and cool, comfortable nights make any outdoor activity in Tucson delightful. The area enjoys an average of 350 days of sunshine per year, consistently low humidity and average winter temperatures of 53.2° F. That, combined with its affordability, opportunities for adult education and access to high-quality healthcare earned Tucson a #4 spot on the “10 best places to retire in the U.S.” (The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, 2012) and in CNNMoney’s “25 Best Places to Retire.”

2. Tucson affordability.

At 8% below the national cost of living index, Tucson is considered to be one of the most affordable places to live in the Sunbelt.

Home prices: A median home price of $175,000—also well below the national average—is one of the many reasons Tucson was ranked #1 on Realtor.com’s “Top 10 markets to invest in.” The other reasons? Job growth, an 8.19% drop in real estate owned properties and a 3.03% year-over-year increase in median house list prices as of February 2012. It’s no wonder that homes are selling 12% faster than they were last year.

Interested in what’s available? Browse new homes in Tucson, AZ »

3. Tucson jobs.

According to TREO (Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities—now Sun Corridor, Inc.), Tucson is expanding in the alternative energy, aerospace/defense and clean manufacturing fields. The region’s bioscience sector has also defied the recession economy, with employment growth of 7.4% from 2009 to 2010, and more expected in the future.

Public sector: The University of Arizona, one of the top 20 public research universities in the nation, is the largest public employer in Tucson. It’s responsible for over 10,400 jobs, attracts roughly 39,000 students and brings almost half a billion dollars in research and development funding to the area.

Private sector: Raytheon Missile Systems is the largest private employer in the area, providing 10,500 jobs. Other companies with corporate offices in the Tucson area include Texas Instruments, IBM, Ascent Aviation, Ventana Medical Systems, UniSource Energy and Universal Avionics Systems Corporation.

Looking for Tucson jobs? Try Tucson.Jobing.com »

Military: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is the third-largest employer in the Tucson area. In 2011, it directly employed nearly 10,000 military and civilian personnel, indirectly supported over 4,500 more and circulated approximately $1.6 billion into the local economy (see figures). The base was honored with the 2012 Commander-in-Chief’s Award for Installation Excellence, and will receive $1 million for quality-of-life improvements. The US Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca are also major contributors to the Tucson economy, employing over 6,200 residents.

Assigned to Davis-Monthan AFB? Browse new homes minutes from base »

4. Tucson’s neighbors.

Like most metropolitan areas, Tucson has a number of smaller towns within its area of influence. These Pima County communities are an integral part of life in the Tucson area.

Marana: Northwest of Tucson, the city of Marana is making a bid to become the “Recreation Capital of Arizona.” With 145 acres of parkland, hiking and biking trails through the scenic Tortolita Mountains and world-class golf courses, Marana is well on its way. The city is already home to a PGA championship and part of the El Tour de Tucson, a bicycle race that draws athletes from around the globe. Browse new homes in Marana, AZ »

Sahuarita: Located south of Tucson in the historic Santa Cruz Valley, Sahuarita is the site of the celebrated Rancho Sahuarita masterplan. This all-in-one community encompasses convenient shopping, neighborhood schools, a fishing and boating lake, a 15,000 sq. ft. recreation center with fitness equipment and childcare, a private water park, trails, playgrounds, an amphitheater, a dog park and more. Browse new homes in Sahuarita, AZ »


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