Snowbird migrations shifting back to pre-pandemic norms

Posted 3/14/22

During the early onset of the pandemic, many Snowbirds with homes in Arizona hunkered down and stayed in place. But now experts say migrations ­— seasonal residents typically leaving for …

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Snowbird migrations shifting back to pre-pandemic norms

Posted

During the early onset of the pandemic, many Snowbirds with homes in Arizona hunkered down and stayed in place. But now experts say migrations ­— seasonal residents typically leaving for cooler states in February through May — are shifting back to normal.

National Home Watch Association accredits companies such as Signature Home Management, which provide visual inspections of vacation or primary homes while local homeowners are not in residence, offering a range of concierge services from landscaping to grocery delivery.

Executive Director Jack Luber said throughout the pandemic, many people were locked down, especially Canadians, who have stricter COVID-19 protocols than Arizona.

Now things are getting back to normal, but some Canadians have still not seen their homes in more than two years, Luber said.

“There were many more empty homes in Arizona at that time,” he said. “This increased business by double digits, and we were watching more homes for longer.”

With migration patterns returning to normal, there are many things Snowbirds in the West Valley can do to protect their properties while they are gone.

Peoria Police spokesman Andrew Oehlwein encourages Snowbirds to visit the police department website, peoriaaz.gov/government/departments/police, and sign up for the city’s vacation watch program that lets officers know which houses are going to be vacant for extended amounts of time so they can keep a close eye on them.

He said the department has a strong relationship with Peoria retirement communities, including a volunteer section that stays connected with those local areas.

“As far as a police standpoint, we advocate security cameras, having friends/family pick up your mail for you, and following the local police department’s social media accounts to keep up with any recent crime,” Oehlwein said. “We also highly encourage subjects to get onto the Nextdoor app and the Neighbors app, which helps neighbors communicate with one another about any problems going on throughout that particular neighborhood.”

Some retirement communities in Peoria, such as Westbrook Village, are equipped with posses that patrol the community and offer a vacation watch program, much like the Peoria Police Department.

Westbrook Posse Capt. Mike McDade said some residents have already left and generally the mass exodus is completed by early to mid May.

“Our residents are continuing to leave for the summer,” he said.

Sun City West also sees a migration, but General Services Officer Katy O’Grady said they don’t track the numbers.

“During a normal time period we might be able to get a feel for how many people are here or not based on usage, but as we are still coming out of the pandemic, it’s hard to make any sense of numbers,” O’Grady said. “I can say golf is up and events are selling out, so we have healthy usage all around right now.”

Sun City West officials recommend residents update their emergency contact info, email and phone numbers with member services. They also recommend residents updating the contact information of their emergency contact person, if it has changed.

Residents may send an email to membership@suncitywest.com, or call 623-544-6100, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please include the resident name, member ID #, and property address.

This can be complete online at suncitywest.com/ under Member Services, Membership Forms, and Information Update form.

Once completed it will automatically be sent to membership@suncitywest.com.

Philip Haldiman can be reached at phaldiman@iniusa.org, or on Twitter @philiphaldiman.

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