Great Places to Retire in the USA
So you have decided to retire in the USA. Now you need to determine the best city to live and retire in the USA. What are the best retirement states, retirement communities, and small towns for retirement and what are the trends?
The latest trend indicates a larger percentage of retiring Baby Boomers are planning to stay where they are when they retire, although they may downsize. This is undoubtedly influenced by the bad economic environment. A staggering number of retiring Boomers are under water in their mortgages; moving means having to sell and kissing their lost equity goodbye. This may not be the only factor. Baby Boomers have established extensive local activity and social networks over the years and may not want to abandon these relationships by moving far away.
Reduced demand is good news for Baby Boomers contemplating finding a new retirement home in warmer climates, particularly in Arizona and Florida. A trend toward lower demand will keep real estate prices in these retirement states stable at levels well below the bubble of 2006 – 2008 for a decade or more. In another trend, many retiring seniors are choosing other Sun Belt states like Georgia, Texas, or the Carolinas. Coastal Alabama and Mississippi have been more popular lately as well. The southern halves of Arizona and Florida share mild winters with only rare freezing temperatures. Both have mostly great year-round weather and plenty of palm trees, and both offer abundant outdoor recreation. They also share challenges like large illegal immigrant populations and often brutal summers.
Retiring in Florida or Arizona offers many contrasts. Arizona is arid, and Florida usually has abundant rainfall. Florida summers are characterized by oppressive humidity while Arizona summers are very hot and dry. Seniors retire in Arizona for abundant sunshine and lack of natural disasters like Florida’s hurricanes. Florida retirees enjoy numerous lakes and proximity to the ocean, offering swimming, boating and fishing. Arizona offers diverse climates, mountains, and the Grand Canyon. Florida offers the Everglades, beaches, and a wider variety of retirement communities for any budget, due primarily to the huge number of retirees living in the state.
What trends do we see for retiring in Arizona? Now that the real estate bubble has burst, housing is once more becoming affordable. We see renewed growth in Phoenix suburbs and more interest in the affordable living in southern Arizona.
For more populous Florida, we see a decade or more of real estate price stability and steady growth in favored retirement areas like Palm Beach and Broward counties, the Space Coast, Tampa Bay, Sarasota, Southwest Florida, and the lakes region between Orlando and Gainesville. With the tragic hurricane decade farther in the past, insurance rates may ease in the next five years or so. And of course, Florida has no income tax.
Texas also has no income tax, and retirement areas from San Antonio to Austin will continue to do well. The bargain towns closer to the Mexican border will become more popular if and when the border violence abates. Texas has summers like Florida, but their winters are colder. Our retirement barometer of palm trees suggests that only the Gulf Coast portion of Texas, roughly south and east of San Antonio, qualifies as warm and sunny year round.
As you have probably been reading, a growing number of retirees are retiring abroad. Visit our Retire Overseas pages for more about living and retiring overseas.
Good luck in your retirement