Snowbirds opt for RVs over houses

A Class A motorhome with slide-out extended floors
A Class A motorhome with slide-out extended floors

According to a study from Arizona State University, an estimated 3,000 or more “snowbirds,” the retired individuals who migrate from upper North America to the warmer regions in the winter, flock to Arizona cities each year. While it’s evident that snowbirds are abundant in many Arizona cities, there is little research to suggest whether they have a large presence in the East Valley.

Cronkite News  reports an associate at a Costco in Gilbert had the following to say, “Now that you mention it, I do (notice fewer people during the summer). I wouldn’t have noticed it before though. It’s subtle.” Similarly, a Wal-Mart in Mesa confessed a drop in the number of seniors during the summer months but not enough to create a substantial loss of business.

According to David Roney of Arizona Real Estate, Ahwatukee is one of the more expensive places to live in the Valley. Many of the snowbirds make the decision to live in RVs rather than splurging on a winter house. According to a study from Arizona State University, 84,000 winter residents lived in Phoenix-area mobile home parks in 2003.

While snowbirds primarily choose to live in more affordable communities during their stay, a large number of those winter travelers that do migrate to Ahwatukee often choose to become a permanent citizen in the community, effectively becoming “staybirds.”


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