Video: Differences Between Sun City and Sun City West

Carla Young
Carla Young
Published on July 20, 2021

Sun City vs Sun City West

Differences between Sun City and Sun City West. If you are considering Sun City as a place to retire, you might also want to consider Sun City West.  These two communities have a lot in common.  They are close to each other in location.. and have similar home styles and recreation options.    But there are some important differences.   We’re comparing Sun City and Sun City West right now.

Sun City, Arizona is America’s first active retirement community.   Developer Del Webb brought his vision to life in 1960.  Here residents can enjoy a number of sports, clubs, games and hobbies.   There are 8 golf courses to play.   The development started with one recreation center and now there are 8  including this new center on Grand Avenue.  Del Webb built 27,492 condo and single family home units between 1960 and 1978.    This community spans a 7 mile long and 3 mile wide area just west of Peoria and Glendale.     

 When Sun City was completed.. Del Webb expands to a new area northwest and calls this community Sun City West.  Sales begin here in 1978 and continue until 1997 with a total of 16,900 homes and condo units being built.     Residents have 4 recreation centers here and can play at 7 community golf courses.    Sun City West is just north of Grand Ave and Bell Road,  east and south of the 303 freeway and west of El Mirage Road.

Both Sun City and Sun City West are unincorporated areas of Maricopa County.   Both communities have lower taxes because school taxes are not included.   Both communities have no city sales taxes.   Both are serviced by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office.. however they have separate fire services; Sun City Fire Department and in Sun City West it’s the Arizona Fire and Medical Authority. 

Another of the differences between Sun City and Sun City West is privacy. Sun City West is mostly surrounded by a wall… with limited entrances to the community..  making it more shielded  from the surrounding areas.  Shopping, healthcare and recreation are all located within the walls of Sun City West, and residents can drive their golf cars on all inside streets because the speed limits do not go above 35 miles per hour.    There are no major streets which cut through Sun City west…. This is the first major difference between the two communities.

Entrance to Sun City West

      Sun City has some walls but has many openings to the surrounding neighborhoods.   Most streets along the edge of Sun City are accessible from the outside.    Also, many people drive through Sun City on two major roads: Grand Avenue and Bell Road.   Because of this, there’s often heavy traffic during rush hour.   Golf cars are allowed in Sun City, but Grand Avenue, Bell Road and 99th avenues have speed limits above 35 mph and golf cars can’t travel on those roads.    Drivers can go across those streets in the golf car and continue on the other side… so they can still drive all over Sun City.    The walls you see in Sun City are located in housing areas and they do not surround the whole community. 

So the first big difference between these two is privacy and access from outside areas. 

Types of homes:    In both communities buyers can choose from condos or townhomes, attached homes or single family homes.     All of these properties are similar in both communities.   Generally homes in Sun City west have more modern styling like vaulted ceilings and more open floor plans.     But because both of these communities are older… many of the homes have been fully remodeled to reflect new building styles and features . 

Here’s one difference:     In Sun City West, you’ll see some single family homes which are in an HOA and have HOA fees.   They are generally on smaller lots and the fees include maintenance of the outside of the home and/or landscaping.     These kinds of homes are not in Sun City… all single family homes in Sun City are free of HOA fees.    

Sun City West home in an HOA

So the 2nd Difference is that some single family homes in Sun City West are in an HOA.

Recreation Fees:    The two communities have different rules regarding recreation fees.    As of the time of this video the recreation fees in Sun City are assessed per property… But Sun City West Assesses per titled owner.   So a couple who owns a home in Sun City would pay one recreation fee  for both people  to use the recreation centers.  But in Sun City West a couple who owns a home would pay two recreation fees…  one per person. 

Differences in Recreation Center fees between Sun City and Sun City West

So the 3rd of the differences between Sun City and Sun City West is the way recreation fees are charged.

Home Prices:  Homes are a little more expensive in Sun City West than in Sun City.  In June of 2021 the average sales price of a single family home in Sun City West was $359K… and in Sun City it was $322K.  By price per square foot Sun City West is just a little higher at $204 than Sun City’s $200 per square foot.     Homes in Sun City West may be higher in price because they are newer and many are larger than in Sun City.

So there are some similarities and differences between Sun City and Sun City West.  They are both great places to enjoy the Arizona weather. 

For more information about Sun City and Sun City West click to view more videos,

Sun City West information:

Sun City information:

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