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Gilbert, AZ homebuyer’s guide

Find a slower pace in this family-friendly desert town outside Phoenix, AZ.


Allison Williams



Michelle StreeterLocal Expert


6/1/2022 · 6 min read

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Fast-growing Phoenix continues to draw new residents, but rising home prices may send you looking to its many suburbs and exurbs. You’ll find a range of home prices, high-quality schools, and plenty of outdoor activities in the town of Gilbert. It’s a bit further out than cities like Tempe, but with its focus on parks, a quaint downtown, and an abundance of neighborhoods, Gilbert is a hub for families. 

Singles will also find a bustling brewery and restaurant district, but there’s definitely a slower pace here best-suited for families and retirees. Active families will appreciate parks that showcase the desert landscape and 54 miles of bike trails along Gilbert’s canal system. Little-known fact: the Phoenix area has more canals than the European cities of Venice and Amsterdam combined.

Latest homes for sale in Gilbert, Arizona

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    • 4 br
    • 2 ba
    • 1838 sqft
    517 W Ensueno Ct, Gilbert, AZ 85233
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    • 5 br
    • 3 ba
    • 2469 sqft
    1169 E Oriole Dr, Gilbert, AZ 85297
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    • 6 br
    • 3.5 ba
    • 4195 sqft
    2443 E Ficus Way, Gilbert, AZ 85298
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    • 3 br
    • 2.5 ba
    • 1730 sqft
    995 W Leah Ln, Gilbert, AZ 85233
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    • 4 br
    • 2 ba
    • 1555 sqft
    1915 S 39th St #118, Mesa, AZ 85206
  • Listing main image


    • 5 br
    • 4.5 ba
    • 3778 sqft
    3103 E Killarney St, Gilbert, AZ 85298
  • Listing main image


    • 5 br
    • 4 ba
    • 3287 sqft
    24217 S 183rd Pl, Gilbert, AZ 85298

Look & feel of Gilbert

Houses at the edge of a canal system

The Islands, Gilbert, Arizona

Source: Gordon Baker Realtor

The Gilbert housing market



Median Home Price



Median Price per Sq. Ft



Average Monthly Home Sales

The scene is family friendly 

With a charming downtown, an abundance of outdoor activities, strong schools, and low crime, it’s no wonder Gilbert has been named one of the best U.S. cities in which to raise a family.

Cost of Living in Gilbert, AZ


Housing Median Rent


Rent Affordability Index

Housing’s a bit more expensive 

The average cost of living in Gilbert is 9% higher than the national average. Utilities and groceries are 4% and 3% below the average respectively. Housing, on the other hand, is about 35% more expensive than the national average.

The job market

As Arizona continues to attract tech, STEM, and manufacturing jobs, Gilbert is home to notable employers such as GoDaddy, Deloitte, and Northrop Grumman. ZEV, a maker of light- and medium-duty electric vehicles, plans to open a new headquarters and manufacturing facility in Gilbert. Keep in mind that many Gilbert residents commute to work in Phoenix, about 20 miles away. 


Unemployment Rate


Average Salary per Year

It’s a new talent magnet

With more than a dozen colleges and universities nearby, Gilbert is a draw for new talent. “We have four graduates with patent filings in less than six months of development—that is rapid innovation,” said ZEV President Jim Maury.

Public transportation

Services offered in Gilbert


Bus: Mesa/Gilbert Express


Light Rail: Valley Metro Rail


EV Charging: ChargeHub

You’ll need a car in Gilbert

There is public bus service in Gilbert and plenty of bike trials, but you’ll most likely need a car to get around. Neighborhoods and shopping are fairly spread out, and if you commute to Phoenix, it’s still quicker by car, despite growing congestion. It can take commuters up to an hour to get to the center of Phoenix by car during rush hour. Or, take the bus to Mesa where you may pick up the light rail into Phoenix — this route tacks on about 30 minutes.





Median Age


Family Median Income

Gilbert is a young and well-educated town

What began as an agricultural community and “Hay Capital of the World” is now considered a suburb of Phoenix. Tempe and Mesa are a bit closer to downtown Phoenix, but Gilbert has held onto its small-town roots, even though it’s predicted to reach about 300,000 residents by 2030.  The town is particularly proud of the fact that 70% of residents have some form of college education.

Crime & safety

Gilbert is routinely named as one of the safest cities in the U.S., according to WalletHub. The personal finance website takes into account community safety statistics but also the risk of natural disaster and financial threats such as unemployment, poverty rates, and more.

Neighborhood guide

At almost 73 square miles, Gilbert has quite a few neighborhoods to choose from. Here’s an overview of the three most popular ones, according to residents. 

Val Vista Lakes

Single-family starter homes to lakeside custom builds, there’s plenty of waterfront property, even in this desert town. Neighborhoods like Val Vista Lakes and The Islands (next on our list) made the No. 2 spot on PHOENIX magazine’s  best neighborhoods list. Val Vista Lakes is a 900-acre planned community with a clubhouse, bicycle paths, and nearby grocery stores, medical facilities, and more.

The Islands

Like Val Vista Lakes, The Islands is a planned community with access to the water and recreation facilities including a basketball court, sand volleyball, and bocce ball court. “It has the feeling of a country club while maintaining the family atmosphere you’ve come to expect in your typical Gilbert neighborhood,” Realtor Ryan Meeks told PHOENIX magazine about The Islands. 


One of the biggest advantages of this neighborhood is its proximity to Freestone Park, Gilbert’s largest park with a (miniature) Ferris wheel and train, antique carousel, batting cages, skate park, lake, and multiple sports fields. “Beautiful and green mature trees,” one resident said. “Nice waterfall, pool, green areas, playground, tennis court and basketball court. Quiet and clean neighborhood located perfectly in north Gilbert.”

3 things to know before buying a home in Gilbert, according to locals

1. Summers aren’t just hot, they’re blistering

Most newcomers understand they’re moving to a desert environment—the temperate climate is one of Gilbert’s drawing cards after all. However, they may not realize that temperatures reach 105 degrees or more in the height of summer. Locals know to restrict outdoor activities to early mornings and evenings between May and September. 

2. Cost of living is on the rise

Phoenix home prices are setting new records, but the cost of living is going up on the city fringes, too, including Gilbert. There might be less expensive suburbs and exurbs including Maricopa, Buckeye, and San Tan Valley. 

3. It’s a town, not a city

Though Gilbert’s population tops 240,000, making it one of the larger municipalities in Arizona, leaders kept its structure as a town. In fact, that might make it the largest town in the world.  

The top 4 things to do in Gilbert

1. See a play at the Hale Centre Theatre

There’s not a bad seat in the house when you experience theater in the round. The Hale Centre also holds a record as the longest-running privately owned theater in America. Catch a play most weekends.

2. Have a ripping good time at the Riparian Preserve

At the heart of Gilbert’s 600 acres of open space is the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, an 110-acre wildlife sanctuary. Walking trails circle Water Ranch Lake and seven ponds. Come out for a free family bird walk on Saturdays. 

3. Grab a cold one at a local brewery

Gilbert is home to several craft breweries including the original location for Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company, plus 12 West Brewing Company, Desert Monks Brewing Company, and Flying Basset Brewing.

4. Shop at a year-round farmers market

Mild temps mean the Gilbert Farmers Market operates every Saturday, though its fall/winter season has longer hours and, typically, more vendors. Insider tip: check out the homemade tamales.

Continue exploring the Phoenix area


Allison WilliamsAuthor

Allison Williams is an experienced writer and editor whose work has been featured in such Inc. magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business North Carolina and more. She's a long-time resident of North Carolina but has traveled extensively across the U.S. and abroad.


Michelle StreeterReviewer

Michelle Streeter is chief communications and content officer for Visit Mesa, where she has hosted national and local reporters, television personalities, internet influencers, and others across the region’s food scene, national forests, and desert and mountain landscapes. She’s a graduate of Arizona State University and lifelong resident of Mesa.