Canadians Flocking to Arizona

Last year, more Canadians moved to Arizona than any other year in recent history. A bit ironic given the state is going through one of its worst economic crises since the Great Depression. But it is, in fact, one of the biggest reasons there is such a Canadian boom.

Purchasing Property in Arizona

Currently, there are two critical factors making Arizona a much more attractive destination for Canadians wanting to purchase US property:

1The disastrous statewide real estate market

2The value of the Canadian dollar staying on par with the US dollar

These two factors have dramatically reduced the cost of a winter vacation in Arizona and/or purchasing property in the state. In Canadian-dollar terms, Canadians can buy Arizona real estate – on average – at just over one third of what they would have paid three years ago for exactly the same property. With patient bargain hunting, many Canadians have done even better by finding homes with crystal blue swimming pools or on golf course property.

It also helps that Arizona property taxes are amongst the lowest of any Sun Belt state, and the cost of living in Arizona is also amongst the lowest in North America.

Canada-Arizona Business Affairs

Canadian businesses and business folks are flocking to Arizona as well. With the establishment of the Canada Arizona Business Council (CABC) in 2005, there has been active trade being promoted between Canada and Arizona on an increasing basis. Some key statistics:

  • Trade between Arizona and Canada currently exceeds $2.1 billion per year.
  • More than 150,000 Arizona jobs depend on trade with Canada.
  • The key exports/imports between Arizona and Canada are in the aerospace industry.
  • There are currently 100 major Canadian companies with operations in Arizona.
  • Canadian visitors spend more than $500 million in Arizona

Some of the key industries that Canadians are involved in are real estate, tourism, and aerospace. In the real estate field, Canadians have been taking advantage of the depressed real estate prices to make major investments in Arizona, both at the corporate and individual level.

For example, the Walton International Group, a Calgary-based company with offices in Scottsdale, has assembled more than 10,000 acres of land for housing development along the Phoenix/Tucson I-10 corridor in the past few years. And last year, the Statesman Group of Companies, which is also based in Calgary, was the leading builder of multifamily housing units in Arizona while other builders were going out of business or had stopped building altogether.

In addition, Canada’s Bombardier Transportation Corp. was contracted in 2009 to build and operate the $118 million automatic train system extending the Valley Metro Light Rail service into Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. And, the Light Rail system itself was designed by one of the largest construction companies in the world, Stantec, also a Canadian company.

Arizona and Canada also share a close relationship in the trade and manufacturing of airplanes. In 2007, the state supplied Canada with $141 million in aircraft engines and parts and $43 million in aircraft parts, not including engines. In return, the Canadian aerospace industry, which comprises more than 400 firms, manufactured and supplied the state with $102 million in complete aircraft. In total, the partners exchanged $675 million in components and finished goods from the transportation sector, pointing to the high degree of integration shared by manufacturers on both sides of the border.

Other major indicators of the increasingly strong relationship between Arizona and Canada? Arizona is just one of three states with two Canadian Consulate offices, and the Arizona Tourism Office recently established a full-time representative in Toronto, Ontario to promote Canadian tourism in Arizona. In addition, in 2007, former Governor Janet Napolitano conducted the first trade mission ever by an Arizona Governor, and in 2009, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon completed a successful trade mission to Montreal, Quebec to promote trade and tourism between Phoenix and Montreal.

Immigration to Arizona

For those wishing to move to Arizona permanently or at least spend more than six months a year in Arizona, there are numerous new immigration options for retired Canadians, and many business opportunities for those still wanting to or wishing to work or establish a business.

In national tax surveys comparing all 50 US states, Arizona earned “A” ratings based on its forms of income taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes combined, which means Arizona is one of the lowest tax states in the United States. In addition, Arizona is one of the few states that gives Canadians foreign tax credits for income tax paid to Canada.

About Robert Keats is a dual citizen of Canada and the United States as well as the author of The Border Guide: A Guide to Living, Working, and Investing Across the Border, available in our Web store. He first moved to Arizona in the 1980s and works to assist both Canadians and Americans in realizing their dreams of a cross-border lifestyle. To contact Keats, please call 602-955-5007 or visit

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