After crunching all the numbers, Realtor.com has released a list of the most and least expensive places where the rapidly expanding baby boomer population can spend their retirement years.
Realtor.com looked at cities already popular for seniors, and, not surprisingly, three of the most affordable locations are in Florida, with Sebring, Fla. and its $180,000 median home list price leading the pack. Following Sebring, in order, are Sierra Vista, Ariz.; Ocala, Fla.; New Bern, N.C; and Homosassa Springs, Fla, according to the analysis.
Malcolm Tennant, president of Access Reverse Mortgage Corporation in Clearwater, Fla., said he is not surprised by Florida’s favorable ranking, pointing out the mild weather, array of outdoor activities, and financial benefits.
“We have no personal income tax, reasonable sales taxes, world-class subsidized university system, and health care to go along with our reasonably priced housing,” Tennant said.
At the other end of the spectrum, retirees less concerned about finances can shop around in San Luis Obispo, Calif., where the median home list price is $729,600 — topping Realtor.com’s rankings. Following San Luis Obispo are Santa Rosa, Calif.; Santa Fe, N.M., Barnstable Town, Mass.; and Naples, Fla.
To get these results, Realtor.com looked at a number of factors in 500 of the largest metropolitan areas across the United States. The company focused on places where at least a quarter of the population is 60 and older, as well as places that saw an influx of relocating seniors between 2011 and 2015. Using their own listings, Realtor.com searched for cities whose listings commonly mentioned “retirement,” “aging in place,” or other related preferences, such as “ground floor master bedrooms.”
The final factor was financial, looking at the total cost to pay down a 15-year mortgage on one of the area’s median-priced homes, assuming a 20% down payment and a 5% interest rate.
While Florida’s towns ranked highly for affordability, Tennant said that Home Equity Conversion Mortgages for Purchase and some of the new proprietary reverse mortgage products could stretch seniors’ dollars even further.
“The reverse for purchase program, combined with Florida’s amazing value, opens up retirement opportunities for baby boomers, and selling opportunities for Realtors beyond what many ever considered possible,” Tennant said.
Written by Maggie Callahan