The Sun Cities, master planned communities for the Active Adults
Del Webb started on Sun City in 1960 as the first Master Planned Community for people over 55 (active adults). Sun City was actually a partnership between builder Del Webb and cotton farmer J.G. Boswell who owned the land. It opened in 1960, was an instant success selling 237 homes the FIRST THREE DAYS! The local historical society there has recently just refurbished one of the original model homes to its opening day condition.
Sun City is age restricted, individuals under 55 years of age can purchase homes in Sun City. However, they may only live in the home if they are at least 19 years of age and so long as another individual who is at least 55 years of age also lives in the home, such as a spouse or relative. No one under 19 years of age may live in a Sun City residence (they can visit however for up to 90 days each year).
The Sun City HOA (SCHOA) is responsible for enforcing the CC&R’s of the community; but while compliance with the Sun City CC&Rs is mandatory for all, membership in the Home Owners Association is voluntary ($20/year as of 2012).
There is a separate non profit private corporation that runs the recreational and social facilities in Sun City (RCSC), who is responsible for the seven recreation centers, eight golf courses, five snack shops, two bowling centers, two restaurants (leased) and an outdoor amphitheater. There is a mandatory $444 yearly assessment to the RCSC for its use (if used or not), and when purchasing a home, there is a $300 one time transfer fee and a $3,000 one time Preservation and Improvement fee (as of 2012). These fees are on top of condo fees if buyer will be living in a condo. Some added details for you:
- Located at the recreation centers are a variety of Chartered Clubs (over 120 clubs) offering something for everybody.
- The eight golf courses…five regulation and three executive courses span 1,100 acres, and are within six miles of each other. The courses are open to RCSC cardholders and the general public.
- Seven recreation centers in which to play. Every center offers a myriad of activities and amenities such as swimming pools, fitness centers, social halls and special-interest clubs.
Sun City West
Started in 1978 by Del Webb in the desert two miles to the west of the origina lSun City, Sun City West was built mostly on farmland. The community was completed by 1998 and has most of the same ammenities such as golf courses, pools, fitness facilities, clubs and other social activities (see below for more details). American Water (private company) provides the water and service to the community.
Sun City West is an age restricted community, as such one member of the household must be at least 55 years of age and no one under the age of 19 may reside in SCW. Visiting children may stay a maximum of 90 days in one year. The Sun City West HOA is called PORA, and is responsible for enforcing the CC&R’s of the community; but while compliance with the Sun City West CC&Rs is mandatory for all, membership in the Home Owners Association is voluntary ($20/year as of 2012).
There is a separate non profit private corporation that runs the recreational and social facilities in Sun City West, Recreation Centers of Sun City West (RCSCW) who is responsible for all of the recreational facilities (four recreational centers), and the over 100 chartered clubs, seven golf courses, state-of-the-art bowling and countless other activities. There is a mandatory $385 yearly assessment to the RCSCW for its use (if used or not), and when purchasing a home, there is a $230 one time transfer fee and a $2,500 one time Preservation and Improvement fee (as of 2012). These fees are on top of condo fees if buyer will be living in a condo. The recreational facilities include:
- 4 Fitness facilities, each includes treadmills, steppers, stationary bikes, isometric equipment, free weights and limbering and stretching equipment
- 6 Swimming pools – 3 indoor, and 3 outdoor; they are separated into lanes for lap swimmers and a section for leisure
- 30 Bowling lanes
- 24 Tennis courts
- 14 Pickleball courts
- 2 Mini-golf courses
- 2 Outdoor and 1 indoor walking tracks
- 14 Bocce courts
- 32 Lawn bowling rinks
- 30 Pool, Billiard and Snooker tables
- 2 Racquet/Handball courts
- 1 Softball field
- 5 Shuffleboard courts
- 2 Large ballrooms
- Work space for the over 100 clubs
- Space provided for 270 garden plots for those wishing to grow fresh vegetables and flowers year-round
- Sun Cities Saddle Club offers residents a place to keep a horse and to join others in trail rides.
- A large secure storage lot provides space for RV’s, boats and trailers when they are not being used
Detailed Guide to Sun City West Recreation (Large PDF, could take a bit longer to load)
By the Numbers
Sun City Sun City West
2010 population 37,499 24,535
Sq. Miles 14.4 10.9
People/sq mile 2,610 2,245
% over 65 years old 74.9 83.6
Not a separate city, Sun City Grand was built next in Surprise by the same developer (Del Webb). Since the name is very close to the above cities, we decided to include some information about this community below:
Sun City Grand
Started by Del Webb in 1998 in Surprise, but completed by Pulte after their purchase of Del Webb. The community has 9,550 homes and 252 condos on 4,000 acres. 400 of those acres are “common area” and include 4 -18 hole golf courses, 2 fitness centers with pools, three activity centers, a pet park, fishing lake, and walking trails.
Sun City Grand is also an age-restricted community primarily for occupants age 55 and over, but they allow up to 15% of the owners to be age 45-54. They have 2% of our homes in the under-55 category.
The current annual assessment is $1,104 per home (which entitle owners to two Activity cards for the age-qualified occupants for use of the amenities).
Note: During construction, starting in 2006, over 800 homeowners filed suit against Pulte for contraction defects in their homes. In early 2012, an arbitration panel awarded $13 million to 460 of those homeowners, while the non-arbitration homeowners may have to wait a year or two to see what their outcome will be from the courts.