Tucson beats Valley in Forbes.com comparison - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Tucson beats Valley in Forbes.com comparison

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Posted: Monday, December 7, 2009 5:55 pm | Updated: 2:06 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

It may not achieve the same psychic level of bragging rights as the Arizona Wildcats slipping past the Arizona State Sun Devils in their annual football matchup. But Forbes.com thinks that the Tucson area provides, in its words, a better "bang for the buck" than the Valley of the Sun for anyone looking to settle in Arizona.

Using a matrix of factors ranging from housing affordability to commuting time, the magazine studied the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

Tucson, at No. 62, did fall behind other communities in the region, including Salt Lake City and Albuquerque, N.M. But it still managed to beat the Phoenix metro area by 20 slots.

So what's better?

One major point is the percentage of homes that are actually occupied, a factor the magazine said is the sign of a stable inventory. The Tucson area ranked No. 49, with No. 1 being the best; the Phoenix area ranked near the bottom at 93.

Along the same line, Forbes also looked at foreclosures in October as a percentage of total housing units. The figures for Pima County ranked 16th best in the country; the Phoenix area, which consists of Maricopa and Pinal counties, was at 89 out of 100.

But the other side of the issue - housing affordability - was a negative for Tucson. With figures based on Moody's for the second quarter of 2009, the Phoenix area ranked 29th best in the country. Tucson was at the other extreme, at 80 out of 100.

And Forbes also found that median real estate taxes are lower in the state's largest metro area.

But there are other factors that helped the Old Pueblo come out with a better overall score than its larger neighbor. One is travel time.

Using figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the magazine rated commuting for Tucson-area workers at 48th best in the country. Employees in the Phoenix area were subject to the 87th best - or looking at it from the other perspective, the 13th worst - commuting times of the top 100 areas in the country.

And other factors, including unemployment and forecast for job growth, were relatively even for the two areas.

Finally, using the Case-Schiller Home Price Index for 2009 through 2012, the magazine concluded that home prices are likely to go up somewhat more in the Tucson area than the Phoenix area.

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