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The city for those who like their weather hot, and their taxes low.

In summer Phoenix's sweltering citizens call themselves "desert rats." When they can't take the blistering heat, they make a big splash in their backyard pools, nearby lakes and rivers -- or by jogging in the city's numerous air-conditioned shopping malls. For eight balmy months, however, desert rats enjoy excellent outdoor activities including golfing, hiking and biking. "Arizona's urban heart" is tax-friendly, and young and retired couples alike have found recent home foreclosures a cool bargain.

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