I guess it depends on what you're looking for... - 7/7/2015
I've lived in Palm Springs (PS) for 13 years & vacationed here from Seattle, WA 1-3 times per yr for about 8 yrs before that. PS has changed a lot in the past 21 yrs, esp. the past 10. I moved here to escape the intense overcast & damp climate of Seattle that kept me depressed much of the time. I wanted to live in a place with an abundance of sunshine, a lower cost of living, a village feel vs. city, suburban or rural, and where I already knew a few people. I loved PS when I vacationed here and it met all my criteria at the time I was ready to relocate (2002). My 1st few yrs in PS were all I hoped they'd be, but gradually I've become increasingly disenchanted with living here. Yes, the summers are unbearably hot, and contrary to what some folks may say, it is NOT mostly just dry heat. It seems it's gotten a lot more humid here each summer with massive watering of golf courses & lawns, increasing numbers of swimming pools, fountains & such, + a shift in the monsoonal air that comes up out of Mexico. Summers are beyond hot... They are mostly miserable except late at night. And while some will say the weather the other 9 months of the yr is great, be advised, each season here has it's extremes. We're in a drought the last few yrs, but when weather patterns are more normal, Dec & Jan can be quite wet to the point of water flowing 6-9" deep in the streets because there's little place for it to drain or run off. Winter nights generally don't get below freezing, but even 45-50 degrees in the dry winter air of the desert can feel like sub-zero... very bitter cold. Spring can be quite lovely, but is also the windy season. If you choose to live here, find a place that's not in one of the known wind belts because the desert wind can be fierce and at the very least is almost always messy or destructive, stirring up lots of dust, blowing sand, blowing anything not bolted down off patios, making for a lot of allergens in the air, etc. From March to June, the wind is not occasional; it's almost daily. Autumn in PS can also be very nice... In fact I have little negative to say about the fall here (Oct/Nov), but that is only 2 months out of the year without much extreme of one sort or another. I moved here for the sun, which I've had 13 yrs of in abundance, but have also learned the sun, when intense like in PS, is also very corrosive & deteriorating of just about everything. Outdoor things that might last 10-20 years elsewhere, often only hold up for about 5-7 yrs in the sun here. I've never spent so much on replacement patio cushions, shades, flower boxes, ground lights, etc. etc., all due to the intense sun & summer heat. Water quality is also poor with very high mineral content. It's fine for drinking, but it's very hard on pipes, faucets, appliances, etc. I've never replaced so many faucets so often as I've had to in PS, and recently had to spend over $3,000 to replace all the plumbing in my house due to corrosive & clogging minerals in the water. I'm really surprised water softeners haven't seemingly caught on more than they have here. Add to all this the fact the cost of living here has skyrocketed in the past 10 yrs. As Sperling's indicates, it is 25-30% higher than the national average. Rents used to be reasonable, but not so any more. What was once a good retirement locale in terms of cost of living is now pretty much only a place for rich(er) folks. Many local businesses, knowing there's a great deal of wealth here, charge higher than average prices for things like veterinary care, home maintenance & repair svcs & such, making it very difficult for folks on lower, fixed incomes to make it in the local economy unless they simply do without a lot of things. The days of the $8 per hr Mexican maid or yard maintenance person are long gone... More like $25 per hr these days. Lastly, in this age of adavancing electronics & telecommunications, for whatever reason, cell phone reception in PS is generally not good & it doesn't seem to matter much which carrier you're with. There may be exceptions, but it seems most folks experience an inordinate number of dropped calls & interference. I have many friends here now in the 55-75 yr old age bracket & nearly all say they no longer find PS to be the desirable place to live it once was, and that as we've aged, the summer heat (& humidity) has gotten harder & harder to handle. All this is a shame, because it used to be a fairly decent place to live in a lot of respects. I guess if you're well off financially, it still can be.
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