For a variety of reasons, Florida continues to be one of the most popular retirement destinations in the United States. Whether you’re considering buying a house, a condo, or a luxury beachfront home, there are a lot of appealing properties available on the market. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, many of them are relatively inexpensive, too.
One strategy for starting your search for a place to retire to in Florida is to examine your lifestyle goals and create a short list of preferred locations that would offer you the features and environment you’re looking for. Grandparents sometimes opt for a home near Orlando, so they can be close to Disney World and other fun theme parks. Avid golfers looking for ocean views and slightly cooler temperatures often put Jacksonville on their short list of possibilities. Jacksonville, which is Florida’s largest city, has many other attractions, too, including wildlife sanctuaries, beaches, state parks, theaters, sporting venues, concerts, and other recreational places. U.S. News & World Report ranks Jacksonville as the 24th most desirable place to retire in the country. Interestingly, a handful of other popular Florida cities rank even higher.
The six other Florida cities that also made it to the top 25 list are, in order of ranking: Fort Myers (#2), Sarasota (#3), Lakeland (#10), Daytona Beach (#13), Miami (#21), and Melbourne (#23). With advantages that include mild winters, easy access to beaches, and no state income tax, there are many reasons Florida is mentioned so frequently as a desirable place to buy a retirement home. Although oceanfront properties are predictably higher in price, the median price for a Florida home is surprisingly affordable. Here’s how the seven cities fared, in terms of median home prices for residents 60 years and older: Fort Myers ($233,100), Sarasota ($239,100), Lakeland ($146,500), Daytona Beach ($185,300), Miami ($261,000), Melbourne ($191,200), and Jacksonville ($200,800). Although these median home prices will fluctuate from time to time, they do make the prospect of retiring in Florida an attainable goal for many people approaching their retirement years.
The rankings were tabulated from survey results and a variety of research and data, including the quality of healthcare, housing affordability, taxes, and the local job market. Two other key elements factored into the rankings were a “happiness index” and a “desirability index.” Those two aspects of the scoring system comprised about 37% of the results.
Whether you’re looking to retire in Florida, buy a vacation home, or relocate your family here, one of the best starting points is to contact an experienced, local real estate agent to guide you in your search. It’s also helpful to learn as much as you can about different locations you’re targeting, as well as the features that matter most to you. Those could run the gamut from weather conditions and beach proximity to recreational facilities and nearby shopping areas.
If you are ready to begin your search, don’t delay, your retirement dream home could be waiting for you.