13 Florida Cities on U.S. News & World Report List of Best Places to Retire
With its golden beaches, outdoorsy lifestyle, and tax breaks, Florida (aka the Sunshine State) is recognized as THE state for baby boomers when they look to retire. Florida provides a year-round sunny and warm climate that attracts both US and international retirees and makes it a favorite. It’s no wonder Florida dominated U.S. News’s Top Places to Retire in 2021.
Why Is Florida So Popular for Retirees?
Boomers control 70% of disposable income in the US, according to the report titled Demographic Shifts: The World in 2030. They not only control an outsized portion of this disposable income but will likely spend a larger part of that income on real estate investment in coming years.
“You’ve got these cashed-up baby boomers in retirement or racing towards it who are making the most of their lifestyles,” cites Dominic Brown, one of the report’s authors.
That’s where Florida comes in. Florida has so much to offer retirees who want to make the most of their retirement life. For example, Florida boasts a variety of popular dedicated communities that cater to an older audience. These communities often include world-class golf courses, gymnasiums, spas, dedicated transport services to grocery stores, doctor and hospital appointments, and a plethora of other amenities.
Investors Should Consider the Sunshine State
It can be very lucrative to invest in cities along Florida’s Gold Coast in regular and retiree communities.
Alex Villacorta, Clear Capital’s VP of research, states, “Florida has traditionally been regarded as prime real estate by retirees and the baby boomer share of homeowners is clearly on the rise here.”
When investing in a property specifically in a retirement community, there are many advantages. Monthly fees often cover homeowner maintenance, including exterior yard work. Having outdoor space and not having to maintain it is attractive to an aging population. There is less wear and tear to a property as there are no children living there, and the environment is typically quiet.
Younger baby boomers in their late fifties are usually in the best position to buy a home. Their median household income is $93,400, the highest average salary among all the generational age groups. The median price they pay for a home is currently $200,000, which is 10% higher than the average for all buyers. Real estate agents are likely to get a larger paycheck when working with younger boomers than when working with millennials.
Many middle-aged adults are savvier in the home-buying process. According to the National Association of Realtors (NARS), 53% owned another residence prior to buying a new one or a second home. They are also more likely to use a Realtor to buy a home than millennials, who are used to searching online for a property.
Florida’s Top Cities for Retirees
Of the cities that are listed in the U.S. News & World Report article, 13 out of 25 are in Florida.
The greater Sarasota area has the honor of capturing the top spot for places to retire — it’s the 16th best place to live in the US! Its access to Tampa and Orlando is a great pull, along with award-winning beaches, a vibrant art scene, and top restaurants. This makes it #1 in the country for baby boomers to retire to.
Coming in at #2 is Fort Myers. Although it is a midsize metro area, Fort Myers still has a small-town feel. It has a fabulous downtown that’s chock-full of great restaurants, museums, art galleries, parks, and retail stores.
Aside from all that, the beaches are fabulous. The beautiful Sanibel Island is only 40 minutes away, offering golden sands and palm trees. Any baby boomer looking to experience a little rest and relaxation will fall in love with this location.
Port St. Lucie
Ranked at #3 is the alluring Port St. Lucie. Located on the Treasure Coast and near Miami, Port St. Lucie is where the New York Mets have their spring training ground. That’s perfect for all of the snowbirds from the North who come to live in Florida for the season.
Beautiful Naples on the West Coast landed fourth on the list, but it has the added distinction of receiving the top ranking of Best Place to Live in Florida. Naples has an older demographic. Retirees will find beautiful, almost cookie-cutter landscaping that’s perfectly manicured in this smaller Florida city. It’s also close to beaches and the extremely desirable Marco Island.
Another Florida metro area that rounds out the top 25 of the 150 best places to retire is Ocala, which is the Horse Capital of the World. It came in at #6. Ocala offers a lifestyle for baby boomers that is rich in relaxation, discovery, and fun.
Retirees in Ocala have access to much-needed outdoor recreation at state parks, dining at unique local restaurants, concerts, and live theatre (pre-COVID-19, of course). It is also close to major cities like Daytona, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Orlando and is minutes away from Gainesville.
Miami takes spot #9 on the U.S. World & News Report of Cities to Retire In. Let’s be honest — Miami is known for its spring break vibe and as a party haven for millennials, but it also has some great advantages for baby boomers who are leaving the work force for a well-deserved life of relaxation. It has an abundance of recreational outlets, including golf courses, waterways, and pristine golden beaches. The world-famous South Beach is located here.
Miami also boasts dozens of world-class museums, such as The Bass, The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, which is now a national landmark.
Finally, Jacksonville lands on the list at #13. The city is based in northern Florida but shouldn’t be overlooked. It is the largest city by area in the United States, with more than 840 square miles. Jacksonville is home to just 926,000 residents, which makes it far less congested than many other metropolises.
Jacksonville is located on the banks of the longest river in Florida, St. Johns River, which runs 300 miles. The riverwalk spans more than three miles on the north and south banks downtown, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely scenic stroll for all those baby boomers who now have the time to explore and take afternoon walks.
Jacksonville is also home to more than 400 city parks, 7 state parks, and 2 national parks. If you are looking to invest in property in Jacksonville, the cost of housing is a mighty 11% below the national average (according to PayScale).
What Are You Waiting For? Invest in Florida
Apart from year-round warm weather, golden sands, and intracoastal waterways, one of the biggest pluses for retiring in Florida is that income — including retirement and Social Security benefits — is not taxed. There is no estate tax or inheritance tax, either. On top of that, Florida residents 65 and older may be able to take advantage of additional homestead exemption of $50,000 or more.
So, what are y’all waiting for? Come and hang up your hat and boots and enjoy retirement in the Sunshine State!