Mesa, AZ homebuyer's guide
Enjoy a lower cost of living and easy access to the city in this Phoenix metro area suburb.
Michelle Streeter, Local Expert
6/1/2022 · 7 min read
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Those looking to move to the Phoenix area will find a lower cost of living about 20 miles east of downtown. And while it’s a suburb, Mesa certainly isn’t small — it’s the third-largest city in Arizona by population and one of the most populous communities in the U.S., with well over 500,000 residents.
This size means there are plenty of options when it comes to neighborhoods and activities. Plus, there’s ample public transportation if you’re commuting into Phoenix or simply want to visit the city on the weekend. Although home prices are trending upward in a hot market, Mesa still offers a cost of living slightly lower than the national average.
Houses for sale in Mesa, Arizona
- 3 br
- 2.5 ba
- 1328 sqft
- 6 br
- 4 ba
- 4361 sqft
- 4 br
- 2 ba
- 1838 sqft
- 2 br
- 1.5 ba
- 1200 sqft
- 3 br
- 2 ba
- 1106 sqft
- 3 br
- 2 ba
- 1892 sqft
- 3 br
- 2.5 ba
- 2323 sqft
- 3 br
- 2.5 ba
- 1756 sqft
- 2 br
- 1 ba
- 873 sqft
Look & feel
Fresh Foodie Trail, Mesa, AZ
The housing market
Median Home Price
Median Price per Sq. Ft
Average Monthly Home Sales
The housing market in Mesa, AZ is hot
While the housing market has been on a hot streak just about everywhere recently, it’s especially hot in Phoenix and surrounding areas, including Mesa. At the start of 2022, Phoenix home prices were up nearly 33% from the previous year.
Cost of living
Housing Median Rent
Enjoy a slightly lower cost of living in the Phoenix area
The average cost of living in Mesa is about 7% lower than the national average. Housing is 10% below the average, while transportation is 8% lower. Utilities and groceries are 4% and 3% under national averages, respectively.
The job market in Mesa
As of February 2022, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metropolitan area had an unemployment rate of 3.1%, which was lower than the state’s overall unemployment rate at that time (3.6%) and the national unemployment rate (3.8%). Leading employers in Mesa include Boeing and Banner Medical Centers.
Average Salary per Year
Job growth is booming in Arizona — especially in the Phoenix metro area
The rate of job growth in Arizona is expected to be more than triple the overall U.S. growth rate in the next decade. Over that time, it’s projected that over 700,000 jobs will be created in Arizona, according to a report released by the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) in November 2021. The Phoenix–Mesa–Scottsdale metro area in particular could be a standout, as it placed No. 2 among the best labor markets in the U.S. in rankings by SaaS company Thinkwhy based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Bus: Valley Metro
Light Rail: Valley Metro Rail
EV Charging: ChargeHub
Catch the light rail
The light rail system can get you around the larger metro Phoenix area, including Mesa. In Mesa, it’s available along Main Street, running from Sycamore/Main Street (at Dobson Road) to Gilbert Road/Main Street. You can also catch the light rail to get to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and to areas of Tempe and downtown Phoenix.
Take advantage of numerous bus offerings.
Mesa offers a slew of bus options to help you get around the larger Phoenix area. Lines include a local bus, an express bus, various neighborhood circulators, and a rural route. There's also a free passenger bus that can connect you to major bus routes in the city as well as other attractions, such as the Mesa Arts Center. This bus, called The Downtown Buzz, runs every 40 minutes Monday through Friday and every 60 minutes on Saturdays.
Family Median Income
Neck and neck with Tucson
Before the most recent census data was released, there was some speculation that Mesa would pass Tucson in population and claim the title of second-largest city in Arizona. Mesa came close, but ultimately the southern Arizona town held on to its title, with a population of 542,629 versus Mesa’s 504,258. Mesa can still claim higher rates of growth with booming Phoenix in its backyard. Like Mesa, Tucson has a wealth of outdoor activities, but Mesa can also offer the urban activities of a big city.
Crime & safety
While not as highly ranked as some of its neighboring cities, including Gilbert and Scottsdale, Mesa is included on WalletHub’s annual list of safest cities. Its police department reported a drop in overall crime rates between 2019 and 2020, the most recent statistics available.
This Phoenix suburb has an abundance of neighborhood options to choose from, which can make it easy to find a location that suits you. Here's a look at four of the most popular neighborhoods in Mesa.
1. Alta Mesa — A safe neighborhood with more affordable options
The neighborhood of Alta Mesa is home to a golf club, a large RV park, and Gene Autry Park, a city park. There are a range of home types in this neighborhood, from luxury custom homes to townhomes to patio homes to condos. Many are just minutes from shopping and dining. And while Mesa is already safe, Alta Mesa is noted for being a particularly safe neighborhood.
2. Eastmark — A master-planned community for young families
Eastmark is a large master-planned community near the southeastern edge of Mesa. The neighborhood is known for its top-notch schools, and it also has parks, playgrounds, and paved bike and walking paths, among other amenities. Plus, it's close to shopping. It's been rated a best-selling master-planned community in Arizona multiple times.
3. Red Mountain Ranch — A country club community with views and amenities
Like many communities in Mesa, Red Mountain Ranch is centered around a country club. The club offers an 18-hole championship course, a pool, a gym, and tennis courts. Around the country club are single-family homes and townhomes that boast views of either the mountains or the golf course. The neighborhood has options for a number of price points and size preferences.
4. Las Sendas — Luxury homes with desert views
If you're looking for luxury, Las Sendas could be a neighborhood worth checking out. The upscale neighborhood has top schools, community centers, parks, trailheads, and the Las Sendas Golf Club. There aren't many affordable options in the master-planned community, but if it's within your budget, you can enjoy views of the Superstition Mountains and custom finishes on homes.
The top 5 things to do in Mesa
1. See a show at the Mesa Arts Center
Arizona's largest arts center is right in the heart of downtown Mesa. The center houses four theaters, five art galleries, and 14 art studios. Plan to catch one of the live performances — there's everything from classical and jazz to theater and comedy — or simply check out the latest art exhibitions.
2. Visit the dinosaurs at the Arizona Museum of Natural History
Especially if you have kids in tow, the Arizona Museum of Natural History is worth checking out. The 80,000-square-foot museum offers visitors a glimpse into the Southwest’s prehistoric past. You can see dinosaur bones and fossils and witness the dinos come to life on Dinosaur Mountain, a massive diorama.
3. Take a hike at Usery Mountain Regional Park
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, don’t sleep on Usery Mountain Regional Park. Located at the western end of the Goldfield Mountains, this park offers impressive views and over 29 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
4. Take a culinary road trip
Recognized as a gourmet getaway, the Fresh Foodie Trail is where Mesa’s top chefs source local goods for their ever-changing menus. The farms that make up the trail feature culinary tours, on-site restaurants, local beer and wine tastings, and even offer a variety of hands-on classes and special events year-round.
5. Play a round of golf at one of Mesa’s premier courses
Mesa is home to a number of world-renowned golf courses, and the sun-filled days make it easy to play a round just about whenever you want. Some courses to check out for tee times include Las Sendas Golf Club, which was recently rated one of the best golf courses in the Phoenix area by PHOENIX magazine, as well as Augusta Ranch Golf Club, Superstition Springs Golf Club, Dobson Ranch Golf Club, and many more.
Continue exploring the Phoenix area
Becca Stanek has worked as an editor and writer in the personal finance space since 2017. She previously served as the managing editor for investing and savings content at LendingTree and an editor at SmartAsset. Prior to that, she was a staff writer at The Week. She's freelanced for publications including SoFi, Forbes, LendingTree, Finance of America Mortgage, and Policygenius while she earns her MFA in creative writing from Queens University in Charlotte. She currently lives in Valatie, NY.
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.