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Relocating to Flagstaff

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riverside, ca
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Relocating to Flagstaff

Hi everyone-

My husband and I are very seriously considering moving to Flagstaff because we don't like the direction California is headed. We have visited Sedona and Flagstaff previously several times but really now need to see it from a residential and not necessarily a tourist perspective. We will be visiting in late October/early November to get a feel for Flagstaff. If anyone can give me information about home prices, places to shop(what is there, what is coming), cost of living and general information I would appreciate it. We aren't "those people from California", we are decent middle class people who want to start a family in a sensible clean and safer environment. Thanks to everyone who responds kindly!!!

Madison, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Relocating to Flagstaff

First, I am not an expert on Flagstaff, but we were there this summer, and I liked it a lot, BUT I was stunned by the real estate prices. I thought Sedona high, yes, Phoenix, yes, but surely Flagstaff will be reasonable. It looked like $400,000 wasn't an unusual price, but for someone from Cal...

Loved the downtown, the library, train station, etc. Climate is too much like Wisconsin for me, but other than that, beautiful. Much nicer than I anticipated.

riverside, ca
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2. Re: Relocating to Flagstaff

Yes, our home prices in California are absolutely ridiculous, but we were hoping that it wasn't as bad in Flagstaff. I will keep my hopes up and keep checking, thanks.

Mesa, Arizona
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3. Re: Relocating to Flagstaff

The average inflated price of a home in Flagstaff area is $250,000-350,000 on up. You can get a nice home in Bellmont which is a 10 minute drive outside of Flagstaff west of Flagstaff. There is also Mountainair and Kachina Village just off of I-17 nice areas. Places intown are up in the area around the hospital off of San Francisco St and Cedar/Forrest nice homes if you want in town. Also an area know as Fox Glenn and Solier are nice. Stay away from anything in the area known as Sunny Side lots of gang activity/drugs ect. Not the best part of town.

Unfortunately Flagstaff employers don't pay worth a darn compared to the cost of living which is very high and has been compaired to that of Hawaii/Alaska. Average job in Flagstaff is $8-10 an hour unless you can get in with the government or Gore which is almost impossible. I've been trying for years. I'd look into the Fox Glen area personally and the school is newer in that area as well.

As far as shopping we have the usuall grocery stores (safeway, Bashas, Alberstons, Fry's). We also have a Target and a Wal-Mart (no super center huge debate on that one). There is also the Flagstaff Mall which has the usual Dillards, Sears, JC Penny's ect but its small. We do have the university but jobs are shakey there. Things are suppose to be in the works for an expansion but we have an interesting city council in Flagstaff and well I won't get into it here but lets just say money talks and it also depends on who your family is up here as well to get things done.

This isn't California or Phx so there isn't a whole lot of shopping options though we have a lot of specialty shops downtown. Stay away from the charter school they were doing good for a while but they are having problems right now.

Traffic can be very congested in the am around 7:30-8:30 and around 5 pm.

Flagstaff has a huge following in sports among the schools all grade levels up to college. Its about 60,000+ people if you count NAU and about 40,000 locals and you do run into the same people you work with and go to school with ect. So its still small enough to have that home town feel.

Things to check out are

www.azdailysun.com which is the online Flagstaff paper.

www.flagstaffchamber.com which is the city web page

www.azcentral.com which is the phonenix online paper.

hope this helps.

Phoenix, AZ
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4. Re: Relocating to Flagstaff

that's pretty good info from dragonflylady.

we recently bought a house in forest highlands, which is a little more of an upscale community.

flagstaff is somewhat battling it's image. there is a small petty crime problem there, and some minor gang activity that is mostly confined to an area ironically called "sunnyside".

luckily, most of the riff-raff (not you this time dragonlady) is being forced out to the outlying communities like williams, wislow, and holbrook.

good upper middle class neighborhoods that we considered are university highlands and ponderosa trails.

riverside, ca
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5. Re: Relocating to Flagstaff

well that's a lot of information! Thanks to you all. My husband is in "public service" and I am a nurse, but my understanding is that pay for even these jobs isn't great. I wonder why the cost of living is so high, condsidering route 40 is the major hwy to L.A. and Las Vegas. I thought it seemed a bit odd that there are about 7 Costcos in the Phoenix area and none in Flagstaff. If the cost of living is that high, who can afford a house? We got our house in Southern California just before the prices skyrocketed(even for the shacks) and are surprised to hear that homes in flagstaff are so expensive too. The cost of living is a major factor, because we don't want to go "backwards". We enjoy not living off credit! Dragonfly, thanks for the detailed info, it will help us. I'm hoping to look at some houses next month and check out jobs as well. And I can't wait for some clean air too!

Mesa, Arizona
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6. Re: Relocating to Flagstaff

Unfortuately the cost of living has been driven up by folks who want second homes and the city council knows this. The people with the money are only here for part of the year or only a month or two and it dosen't help the economy since they aren't here to spend it here. SO the city is trying to build all of these quick sale homes to make a profit while the rest of us college studens and middle class workers pay the penalty by high cost of living and jobs that don't pay worth #$%^@!. The Mayor of Flagstaff and many of the counsil memebers are stock owners in Safeway and have loads of money riding on it so anything that is competition for them gets ran out of town.

The people who are moving to the outskirts are not the rifraf, they are the people that can't afford to live in the high price neighborhoods of flagstaff and surrounding communities. Just because people don't have money dosen't mean they are rifraf.

They don't want to share a house with 2 other families in order to make it. Which is what the going statistics are in Flagstaff. Or they like the smaller town quietness and community. You can get the same house in WIlliams for around $200,000+ that you'd pay $350,000+ for in Flagstaff and have land with it as well. To some its worth the 30 minute drive.

The gang problems are the 3rd and 4th generation children/grandchildren who's families have been in Flagstaff for a while and find that being in a gang is the only way out of their current situation. And because their parents work 2-3 jobs they are not home to supervise the kids. They are concerned about being able to pay rent and put food on the table. Unfortunately cost of living, housing and the gang activities are all intertwined.

flagstaffmedicalcenter.com/pp_fmc/fmc_pp_hom…

Flagstaff Medical Center is the only hospital in town. Though not the best place to work (no one really smiles or raves about their jobs) they probably will pay better. There is a need for doctors and nurses in Flagstaff we just lost 6 family practice doctors and now the rest of us are going to get slammed. I work for an ENT in town and its getting really busy now.

Also check out

http://www.usajobs.com/

do a search for Flagstaff there are some good ones on there as well.

Any questions feel free to email me

dragonflyladyofarizona@hotmail.com

Oro VAlley Arizona
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7. Re: Relocating to Flagstaff

Hi. I am not a realtor, but you might be interested in checking out www.longrealty.com. You can get idea's of what houses are for sale, prices, etc and best they usually have pictures.

Good Luck

riverside, ca
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8. Re: Relocating to Flagstaff

As far as I can tell, the economic predictions of last year are holding true. The market has cooled and 2nd home buying has ended except for very wealthy people. Listings are up, foreclosures are up-for the people who really didnt qualify to buy anything- and there is going to be a correction here shortly(I hope). That is so unfortunate about the behind closed doors dealings in Flagstaff, especially considering it is such a small town. We will most likely start in Flagstaff and then get a feel for other areas. Because of my husband's job, we couldn't move right away anyways, so we can take enough time to really evaluate where we would live.

I was wondering if anyone could tell me the property tax situation? Here, we have prop 10 which severely limits the amount of property taxes we can be charged. I am aware that back east, homes may cost less, but property taxes increase every year which is never "paid off" and you end up paying a bigger house payment permanently just because of taxes. So how is it there?

Phoenix, AZ
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9. Re: Relocating to Flagstaff

i dont' think it is 2nd home owners that are increasing the cost of living.

the cost of housing may be increasing (in part) due to 2nd home owners. but what really increases housing prices is: demand.

demand for housing has increased in flagstaff because of:

1. 2nd home buyers - especially from phoenix (we fall into this category)

2. real estate speculators - a common trend here is for parents of college students to purchase a house or condo for their students, and then sell it when they graduate.

3. people "moving up" out of starter homes

4. people "moving in" - especially from the east and west coasts where housing has really skyrocketed. folks cash out of their super inflated equity and buy a house here for cash.

flagstaff's wages have always been below average for one reason: NAU (Northern Arizona University).

flagstaff is a town of 50-60k people (depending on how you count them). 15 thousand of them are college students. this creates a HUGE cheap labor pool. most students are willing to work for small wages to pay for their incidentals: parties, movies, tiddlie winks. Many times parents (or student loans) pay the big stuff: tuition, rent, food. thus, wages for many of the "unskilled" trades: hotel, restaurant, secretarial are very low (in comparison to areas such as PHX).

btw, i'm not sure exactly what property taxes are (we pay them monthly into an escrow acct.), but after all the complex calculations they seem to come out to about 1% of assessed value.

Grand Canyon...
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10. Re: Relocating to Flagstaff

Land is also an issue. There isn't much in private hands. And it's a mountain town, so much isn't buildable. This affects supply and demand, and prices follow.