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With its numerous amenities, events, and volunteer spirit, Sun City AZ did not happen overnight. But the Sun City AZ idea—a master-planned community built specifically for active adults— forever changed the way Americans traditionally thought about retirement. When The Del E. Webb Development Corporation opened five model homes on January 1, 1960, thousands of cars lined Grand Avenue. Long lines snaked around the model homes and many purchased homes within the first hour. By the end of the first weekend, more than 100,000 visitors had come to see what was being developed in this Arizona desert. Del Webb knew then what we still know is true today, “Concrete, steel, and lumber make the buildings, but people make the community.”

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Sun City AZ—A “City” Like None Other

Located in the metropolitan Phoenix area, Sun City AZ is actually not a city at all. Sun City AZ is an unincorporated part of Maricopa County. The County is responsible for the roads, medians, codes, zoning, and law enforcement. There is no city sales tax and the cost to operate Sun City AZ is considerably less than other cities with a population of about 40,000. Since Sun City AZ is an age-restricted community, residents must be 19 years of age or older and at least one member of the household must be 55 years of age or older. With no schools in Sun City AZ, this means there are no taxes for such. Sun City AZ does have its own fire department, however, which is funded through real estate property taxes. Sun City’s low property taxes range between $300 and $1,300 a year.

There are approximately 27,500 properties in Sun City AZ that are assessed annually by the Recreation Centers of Sun City, Inc. (RCSC) to operate and maintain the recreation facilities, which include eight recreation centers, eight golf courses, two bowling centers, an outdoor amphitheater, a 33-acre man-made lake, and more. In 2016, the first newly constructed homes on the last remaining undeveloped parcel of land in Sun City AZ which added an additional 140 single-family homes for a grand total of 27,632 dwelling units.

The RCSC board of directors is elected and serves voluntarily—a self-governance model that is cost effective and provides great satisfaction to Sun City’s residents. As a matter of fact, RCSC offers the most amenities for the lowest annual property assessment of any retirement community in the U.S. today. The property assessment fee is only $575* per property per year (effective January 1, 2024).

* Please note: Annual property assessments and privilege card fees are established annually by the RCSC Board of Directors.

The City of Volunteers Makes a Difference

Volunteerism does not end with the RCSC managing board. RCSC honors more than 200 volunteers each year who provide an array of services to the corporation and Sun City AZ residents. Other volunteers serve the community and play a large part in the cleanliness, low crime rate, and successful operation of numerous organizations, agencies, and programs that serve the interest and meet the needs of Sun City AZ residents. It is no accident that Sun City is known as the “City of Volunteers.” What does this have to do with the cost of living in Sun City AZ? Since volunteers donate their time, the cost to maintain Sun City AZ is significantly less than in other U.S. communities of like size and population.