Age Limits in Northwest Valley Retirement Communities

When the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, preventing discrimination in housing in seven different categories including age, an exception was given for age-restricted communities.

If a community was declared an age-restricted area and more than 80 percent of the homeowners were age 55 or over, then the restrictions were not a violation of the law.

In communities such as Sun City (founded by Del Webb and essentially the first of its kind), Sun City West, Leisure World in Mesa, Sun Lakes in Chandler and elsewhere, the caveat provided by the 80 percent rule was irrelevant. The age limit was 55 and that was the end of the story.

(This also was the case in the entire town of Youngtown, immediately south of Sun City, which until the past 15 years had been an age-restricted municipality.)

Then times changed. People started retiring at earlier ages, more and more folks sought second homes here in the sun at earlier points in their lives and a demand developed for housing in age-restricted communities for those under 55. And so now, there are several communities in the Phoenix area and particularly the Northwest Valley that allow buyers under age 55 to purchase homes.

Here are the age limits for the Northwest Valley’s retirement communities, with the caveat that in all of these areas at least 80 percent of the homes must be owned by at least one person 55 or older:

Westbrook Village (Peoria) – 40 years old

Pebblecreek (Goodyear), Sun City Festival (Buckeye), Sun City Grand (Surprise) – 45

Sun City, Sun City West, Arizona Traditions (Surprise), Corte Bella (Sun City West), Sundance (Buckeye), Sun Village (Surprise) – 55

Want more information about any of these areas along with those in the East Valley? Check out our dedicated website, Phoenix Retirement Real


Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Another Investor 6 years ago

    I think the occupant has to be 55, not the property owner.  I own rentals in Sun City and Sun City West and no one was concerned about my age when I bought the properties, just the age of the tenant.

  • Jonathan Dalton 6 years ago

    Actually not, Elizabeth. It’s based on the owner. The HOAs don’t review renters, only buyers.
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  • Another Investor 6 years ago

    When I bought the Sun City house 10 years ago, I filled out paperwork stating I was not 55 but the property was intended for rental for people age 55 and up.  I bought that house as an individual, but lots of Sun City and SCW rental properties are bought and owned by LLC’s and other entities that do not meet the requirement of being a person age 55 or older. 

    I also have a property in a retirement community in California.  Every couple of years I get something from the HOA about my age or the age of the occupant.  They then ask the tenant to certify he is over 55.

    Perhaps some of the other retirement communiries prohibit rentals so the buyers in those communities must be 55.

  • Jonathan Dalton 6 years ago

    Re-read the language and it’s “one permanent resident” needs to meet the age requirement. The situation you’re describing in Sun City sounds like the exception to the rule; you’re filling out paperwork to that effect, but the POA isn’t going to be verifying. I can’t see them knocking on the door with the Sheriff’s Posse behind them FBI raid style to verify IDs and make sure someone’s not 52.

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