Are you moving to Arizona and want to know more about 55+ communities in the area? In this episode of The Great Escape, I’m going to show you Sun Lakes, one of the 55+ communities in the East Valley of Arizona. We’ll explore everything from the location and amenities to housing costs so you can see if Sun Lakes is right for you.

Welcome To Sun Lakes

Whether you’re looking for the best place in Arizona to retire or you want information on 55+ active communities in the area, you’ve come to the right place. Sun Lakes is located on the southern border of the East Valley, just west of Arizona Avenue, north of Hunt Highway, and south of Queen Creek Road. It’s about three miles east of the I-10 and five miles south of the 202 Freeway.

Sun Lakes is also 24 miles southeast of Phoenix and only 30 minutes away from two different airports: The Sky Harbor International Airport and the Mesa Airport. This community is also close to everything, including the freeways for easy access to the valley. You can go north to Costco and the Chandler Fashion Center in just 15 minutes, while the hospitals are just 5 to 10 minutes away.

This community is also close to several different activities. These include the Firebird International Raceway, casinos, and Rawhide—and 1800s old west town. Additionally, health care providers and the Gilbert Chandler Community College campus are nearby. There are also two other 55+ communities located just east of the community—including all the support facilities in the area to take care of all of them. You’ll never run out of places to eat, shop or golf.

The Resort Lifestyle

Sun Lakes provides a vacation lifestyle with resort-like living. It has several gated communities and five country club communities. It was established in 1972 by Ed Robertson, who purchased 2,560 acres of farmland to compete with Sun City. Building continued through 2006, and now just under 15,000 people live here within 5.4 miles.

You’ll find 6,683 homes in Sun Lakes. Additionally, it’s the only adult community that is a 40+ community versus the typical 55+ years of age. Even so, 95% are over 55 years old and 40% are above 75—with a median age of 73 years old. Of the residents, 55% are females and 45% are males. The crime rate is 34%, which is lower than the national average.

The cost of living in Sun Lakes is 15% higher than the US average and about 13% higher than the Arizona average. There are many employment opportunities within 20 minutes from Sun Lakes, including American Express, Intel Corporation, and Honeywell.

Included Communities

Sun Lakes consists of five different communities and includes single-family detached, attached, and manufactured homes. As a non-gated community, Sun Lakes is surrounded by Sun Lakes Boulevard and has 2,139 homes built in 1978. Cottonwood has 2,736 homes built in the 1980s and includes both single-family and Villa homes—which are like duplexes.

Palo Verde is the first gated community with 1,073 homes built in the 1980s and 90s. It also features access to the Cottonwoods facilities. There’s also IronOaks, the second gated community, which includes the Ironwood Country Club built in the 1990s. Finally, there’s Oakwood Country Club, the newest community. It has both single-family and Villa-style homes. These two communities combined have 734 homes.


All of the communities have access to the Sun Lakes Community Facilities. HOA fees range from about $1,300 to $2,400 annually. As far as golf courses, there are two of them: Ironwood and Oakwood. These courses are open to the public, but homeowners do receive preferred reservation times. For snowbirds, you can buy seasonal passes so you don’t have to buy annual memberships.

There’s so much going on all the time at Sun Lakes. Activities include year-round golf at the four 18-hole golf courses, three 9-hole golf courses, five clubhouses, cafes, restaurants, seven tennis courts, hot tubs, billiards, pools, spas, saunas, tennis, pickleball courts, fitness centers, Zumba, and a ballroom. You can also join one of the clubs, like photography, computer, theater, and card games like Bridge and Bunco. There’s just so much more.

There are also other things in the area to do like fishing, lakes, Sunset Grill, and Mulligan’s Bar and Lounge. Residents claim that it’s the best active community in the valley. It has HOA-sponsored events, including taking bus trips to professional sporting events in surrounding cities.

Manufactured Homes

Next, let’s talk about the cost of living. The price of housing varies, so if you have additional questions, I can send you some more detailed information. However, here are some general pointers to get you started.

Manufactured homes currently range from $229,000 for a 960-square foot, two-bedroom house built in 1982. A 1,777 square foot house on the golf course with two bedrooms and a two-car garage built in 1979 costs $399,900.

Single-Family Homes

Single-family homes range in style, from ranch style with composition shingle roofing and Spanish-style with tile roofing. This is one of the reasons for the large value range. Prices mostly range from $285,000 to $2.5 million—with one currently available for $14.6 million. The $285,000 house is an 1,115 square foot home built in 1984 with a two-car garage and two bedrooms.

Some additional examples would include a Spanish-style home built in 1987 with 1,823 square feet, three bedrooms, and a two-car garage for $440,000. There’s also a 2,076-square-foot house built in 2003 that has two bedrooms and a two-car garage in Sun Lakes for $555,000—located in a gated portion of the community.

Finally, there’s a 22,868-square-foot house built in 2009 in the gated subdivision of Oakwood. Located on a 1.6-acre golf course lake lot, this home will set you back $14.6 million.

Villas And Rentals

The last category of houses is the Villas, or attached homes. One example is 1,380 square feet with a two-car garage and two bedrooms, built in 1981 for $344,000. These homes range up to a 1,573 square foot unit built in 1999 with a two-car garage and two bedrooms for $425,000. Most of the lots in that area are 2400-4500 square feet.

If you’re looking to rent, prices vary greatly depending on the length of stay and the view. Most of the units available right now are seasonal rates, ranging from about $1,800 to $3,500—while some run as high as $5,000. One house is currently available for a long-term rental for $2,400 a month. Sized at 1,841 square feet and built in 2001, this home has two bedrooms and a two-car garage.

Make Sun Lakes Your Home

I hope this gave you a good idea of what Sun Lakes has to offer. If you should have any additional questions about this community, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. I can send you whatever information that you need to better know the area.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel so you never miss The Great Escape, where we talk about everything moving to and living in 55+ communities here in Arizona. Stay tuned to see what I feature next!