What to Consider When Choosing Your Retirement Community, Part Three

What does it cost to move to an active adult community? There are a few fixed and sometimes variable costs that come with homeownership in our retirement communities of the West Valley. What may look inexpensive at first glance may be costlier when you dig a little deeper into fees and taxes.

We’ve long held that Sun City and Sun City West are among the nation’s best value but there is a price to pay for that value. Let’s start with Sun City. Sun City was the first of its kind in the nation and as it grew to its current size of just under 30,000 homes so did its amenities. Residents of this community now enjoy unrivaled access to activities. There are 7 recreation centers that house everything from arts and crafts, bowling alley, pool hall and swimming pools. There are hundreds of special interest clubs for those with a shared interest in almost any subject or hobby. Even though this community started almost 6 decades ago you’ll find contemporary and up to date facilities. Visitors are often stunned at the quality available to every resident. Returning to the cost and value of these facilities the first noticeable ‘value’ is the recreation fee charged each household. To fund all these facilities each household is charged an annual fee of $474 (there is a planned fee increase to $496 pending approval of the board at its Dec. 22 meeting). This is just under $40 a month to access all these very nice facilities have to offer. Sun City’s recreation fee is without doubt one of the best values in the nation. Shop and compare and we think you’ll agree.

Sun City West is one of the very top rated retirement communities in the nation and for good reason. People are moving into this community because of the activities available. Sun City West has four excellent recreation centers housing almost any activity or special interest you can imagine. Like it’s older sibling Sun City West facilities are kept up to date and well maintained. Unlike the older Sun City, the administration of Sun City West has chosen a recreation fee based on the individual rather than the household or lot. The recreation fee is $435 per person on title per year. As you can see that can be a bit more expensive that the original Sun City but keep in mind that these fees buy an awful lot of first class amenities.

Third in our line of active adult communities is Sun City Grand. The recreation fee in this attractive active adult community is $1291 annually. As you can see it’s a giant step up in cost for this newer community. While you may flinch at the cost keep in mind that this fee is still below the norm nationally and most residents think it well worth it for what you get at two gorgeous recreation centers that, like their older siblings, offer almost everything under the sun.

Moving on up the date line for West Valley communities we find the luxurious Corte Bella, the Country Club in the desert. This gated community is centered around golf but it’s rec center is among the finest. You’ll find an interior that looks more like a luxury spa than an active adult community club house. Fee for this community’s recreation center (and of course swimming pool) is charged on a quarterly basis at $448. Yet another step up in cost that is common in newer communities.

Del Webb’s newest retirement community is Sun City Festival. This community just west of the city of Surprise (although it’s officially in Buckeye, AZ) features a huge recreation center, ASU learning center and all the activities you have come to expect. In addition to this center there is a separate arts and crafts building and plans to build 2 more rec centers. The charge for these amenities is again based on the quarter and currently stand at about $417.

But as you compare costs you should also consider another fee that is usually paid at the time you purchase your property. Going back to Sun City with it’s very low recreation fee we see an added $3,500 one-time fee called a “Capital Preservation Fee”. In Sun City West, there is a similar fee of $3,500 called an “Asset Preservation Fee”. Sun City Grand has a similar one-time fee which equals the annual recreation fee cost of $1,291. Corte Bella has a ‘Reserve Fund’ fee is $896 and Sun City Festival has a similar one-time fee which is .25% of the purchase price of your house.

Add the monthly, quarterly or annual recreation fees to the one-time fee charged by each community to get a more realistic cost of recreation. We think you will find there is still great value in our 55+ communities here in the West Valley.