3 Fla. towns in top 5 for ‘affordable retirement’

SEBRING, Fla. – Sept. 7, 2018 – With 74 million members, baby boomers are the largest generation on record to retire. And if they follow previous generations, retirement will prompt them to move.

Many will head to warmer climates, but they’re also – unlike previous generations – in search of more active lifestyles too, looking for social and recreational opportunities, nearby restaurants and shopping.

“It’s going to be a tsunami when [all] the baby boomers retire,” Ken Gronbauch, a demographer at KGC Direct in Bonita Springs, Fla., told realtor.com. “The Southern states are going to get hit so hard. Florida’s population is going to explode.”

Realtor.com evaluated the 500 largest U.S. metros to find where at least a quarter of the population is 60 years or older and where members of this age group generally relocated to between 2011 and 2015. The areas were then ranked by the total cost to pay down a 15-year mortgage on a median-priced home to identify the most affordable retirement havens.

The five most affordable retirement towns for 2018 include three in the Sunshine State:

No. 1. Sebring: Median home list price: $180,100

Researchers says that Florida “rules the retirement roost,” and Sebring is the place to “score a home in the central portion of the state for less.”

“We’ve seen an influx of retirees moving to this area for the last eight years,” Dawn Dell, an associate broker at Heartland Real Estate in Sebring, said.

Rising home prices in cities such as Miami, Orlando and Sarasota are driving retiree buyers to look elsewhere in the state, and the study found that homes in the $80,000 to $250,000 range aren’t difficult to find in Sebring.

No. 3. Ocala: Median home list price: $202,000

“Ocala attracts the type of senior who’d rather spend time grooming a mare than walking the shoreline to collect seashells,” researchers noted, calling Ocala “an equestrian’s dream.” But they also note the area’s other outdoor fun – “more than 30 parks filled with ballfields, sand volleyball courts, and tennis courts. And there are more than a dozen golf courses throughout the area.”

No. 5. Homosassa Springs: Median home list price: $221,500

Researchers say Homosassa Springs “isn’t like most Florida retirement towns,” calling it a “friendly place with plenty of mom and pop eateries and a wholesome vibe.”

The area is also in a growth spurt thanks to “all the retirees coming to town,” and filled with “moving trucks and builders.”

Other cities in realtor.com’s top 10 for retirement:

2. Sierra Vista, Ariz.

4. New Bern, N.C.

6. Hickory, NC

7. Hot Springs, AR

8. Glens Falls, NY

9. Roanoke, VA

10. Myrtle Beach, SC.

Source: “Early Bird Specials! America’s 10 Most – and Least – Expensive Retirement Towns,” realtor.com® (Sept. 5, 2018)

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