Retirement begins a new chapter in the lives of many working Americans. For some retirees, this could mean relocating to an environment where the costs of living, taxes and climate are more favorable than one’s current digs. With that in mind, Forbes recently released its list of The 25 Best Places to Retire in 2016.
This year’s picks are situated across 19 U.S. states, with a concentration skewed toward warm or moderate climates—in line with research from the National Association of Realtors and the U.S. Census, which shows Baby Boomers approaching retirement favor sunnier weather when they relocate.
Four of Forbes’ choices are located in Florida, three in Texas and two in North Carolina. The list also includes Fargo, N.D., Pittsburgh and Traverse City, Mich. for retirees who can handle hardy winters.
In compiling its 2016 list, Forbes sifted through information on more than 500 communities, with the primary objective to identify places that provide what it thinks is the best retirement value. As with previous years, Forbes didn’t rank its 25 picks, meaning no place on this list can claim to be No. 1.
This year, 14 of the entries did not make the cut in 2015’s compilation, although several places have been on Forbes’ earlier-year or more specialized retirement places lists. Some of the newcomers for 2016 include: Corvallis, Ore.; Meridian, Idaho; and Walla Walla, Wash.
Cost of living and home prices were one data facet Forbes analyzed in determining cities worthy of making the 2016 list. The publication also took into account the general state tax climate for retirees; expenses; and local economy.
To gauge cost of living, Forbes used general data from bestplaces.net, as well as home price data from various sources, including quarterly reports of the Realtors and data from Trulia, Zillow and Coldwell Banker.
The average home price for the 25 cities on Forbes’ 2016 list was $184,000. Seven places were at or below that value, including Apache Junction, Ariz. ($129,000); Athens, Ga. ($145,000); Bella Vista, Ark. ($127,000); Grand Prairie, Texas ($146,000); Largo, Fla. ($150,000); Mount Airy, N.C. ($126,000); and Pittsburgh ($140,000).
Only two places were more than 15% above the national median: Corvallis, Ore. ($280,000) and The Villages in Florida ($260,000).
Cost of living, meanwhile, was expressed as an index, with a reading of 100 being the national average. Forbes tends to seek out places with indexes no higher than 105, however, this is not an absolute requirement as three places topped that level: Corvallis (121), Bluffton, S.C. (107) and Meridian (106).
At the low cost end, five places had indexes less than 90, including Abilene, Texas (83); Bella Vista (88); Largo (87); Lincoln, Neb. (90) and Pittsburgh (84).
See what other cities Forbes included in The 25 Best Places to Retire in 2016.
Written by Jason Oliva