America’s Top 10 Retirement Towns for 2024 Have It All—At An Affordable Price

Realtor May 29, 2024

Buyer

America’s Top 10 Retirement Towns for 2024 Have It All—At An Affordable Price

America’s top retirement spots for 2024 have it all—nice weather, access to urban centers, and close proximity to medical centers. And on top of that, they’re affordable.

This year, Sun City Center, FL, comes in at the top spot, according to the Realtor.com® annual rankings of America’s best retirement towns. This community—which came in third last year—has the magic combo that aging populations prioritize: a warm beach and a big city nearby.

“This top-ranking retirement town, on the south side of Tampa, [offers] buyers easy access to the beach and to the amenities and resources of the large metro area,” explains Hanna Jones, economic research analyst at Realtor.com.

The same is true of the other top-ranking retirement towns, which include Green Valley, AZ, King City, OR, and The Villages, FL.

“Similarly, Green Valley is just outside Tucson, King City is on the outskirts of Portland, and The Villages is just outside Orlando,” Jones points out.

These locations give residents that nice weather they’ve been dreaming of, while keeping them close to top-notch medical services should they need them. However, some distance from urban centers is appealing to retirees—not just to avoid congestion but for reasons of affordability, too.

“These areas tend to be more affordable than areas within the city center and still benefit from proximity to the area’s health care system, entertainment, and other activities,” says Jones.

But spots with year-round sun aren’t the only ones that made our list. In fact, Jones notes that some of the Northeastern retirement spots offer more urban appeal.

“The New Jersey locales on this year’s list are all near one another and within convenient driving distance of both Philadelphia and New York City,” she says. “These areas may appeal to local retirees hoping to stay in the Northeast, perhaps to be close to family.”

 
What makes a town retirement-friendly

To determine the best places to retire, Realtor.com pulled together the median list prices for all U.S. cities over the past year, as well as median age data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Then our economists combed through all single-family, condo, and townhouse listings on Realtor.com over the past year to pinpoint the percentage of those listings that used keywords in the description that indicate a retiree-friendly community.

The results prove that Americans have plenty of options across the country.

Here are the top 10 retirement towns for 2024. We also provide the median age of residents, median list prices, and more that might entice you to head to these relaxing pastures once the time is right.

 
1. Sun City Center, FL

Percentage of retiree-friendly listings: 84%
Median age of residents: 71
Median list price: $315,000

There’s a good reason why the 55-plus community of Sun City Center just 30 minutes outside Tampa has jumped to the top spot for retirees looking for somewhere new to settle down: Residents who relocate here can ditch many of the trappings of their pre-retirement life, including their car and their lawn mower.

Irma Sanabia, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, says this Hillsboro County community is completely accessible by golf cart or scooter.

Another benefit of retirement living here: You won’t be faced with some of the higher costs that Florida residents see when they live elsewhere. For instance, Sun City Center boasts lower homeowners association dues than many other places in the state, which lowers the overall cost of living for its residents.

“A lot of people are moving up from Southern Florida because of the price of the HOAs down there,” Sanabia says. “The senior community here at Sun City Center has better control over HOA fees, which they are able to keep lower.”

That’s great news for anyone on a fixed income since those fees can add up.

But, it’s not all sunshine in the Sunshine State. People looking to relocate here should be aware of some drawbacks, says Sanabia. They include the 55-plus community’s strict age restrictions—something doting grandparents should keep top of mind before they move in.

“You can’t have your grandchildren stay with you for the summer,” she explains. It’s more common for residents to go visit their families instead of having their families come to them.

But even without young children running around, Sanabia maintains that the area is still vibrant and full of active retirees who choose to move here for plenty of green spaces and very little responsibility when it comes to upkeep.

 
2. Green Valley, AZ

Percentage of retiree-friendly listings: 83%
Median age of residents: 74
Median list price: $349,900

This picturesque community was considered the fourth best place to retire in 2023. Now, it has jumped to No. 2 on our list due in large part to the natural wonders of the area, which include bird-watching at the world-famous Madera Canyon.

Outdoor enthusiasts will love Green Valley’s easy access to golf courses, pickleball courts, swimming pools, and hiking trails. Those who’d rather spend their golden years relaxing and working on their artistic endeavors will appreciate how close they are to Tubac, which has a thriving arts community full of galleries and studios.

 
3. King City, OR

Percentage of retiree-friendly listings: 81%
Median age of residents: 63
Median list price: $375,000

This Pacific Northwest retirement spot also jumped up a bit higher on our list from last year, when it was No. 6. Part of this is due to its focus on sustainable living, plus its easy access to top doctors. King City is just 21 minutes outside of the bustling city of Portland, which is home to some of the best hospitals in the state.

Those hoping for an active retirement can hit the links at King City Golf Course or explore some of the local flora and fauna at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.

As a bonus, King City has a 0% sales tax rate, which helps contribute to the low cost of living that makes this such a desirable retirement location.

 
4. The Villages, FL

Percentage of retiree-friendly listings: 93%
Median age of residents: 73
Median list price: $400,000

It should be no surprise that another Florida town has made our list for the second year in a row. The Villages is experiencing a bit of a population boom, seeing a 4.7% increase in residents between July 2022 and July 2023. Fortunately, the area is big enough to accommodate the new residents because it spans three counties.

One reason this bustling planned retirement community has become popular among the 55-plus demographic is that it has almost everything someone in their second act might desire: more than 50 golf courses, plus libraries, restaurants, movie theaters, and several town squares—all of which are easily accessible by the community’s extensive network of golf cart–friendly roads.

Fees here are manageable, too. Unlike communities with hefty membership costs, The Villages charges only $195 a month to access everything it has to offer.

 
5. Manchester, NJ

Percentage of retiree-friendly listings: 83%
Median age of residents: 65
Median list price: $309,900

Manchester township held on to its fifth place spot from last year, largely due to its proximity to everything from coastal hot spots to Philadelphia’s center city, which is about 52 miles away.

In this midsized East Coast township, retirees can enjoy a four-season lifestyle. In addition to sunny summers, they can expect to see the occasional white Christmas, too.

Retirees in Manchester township might pay more in taxes—the state has the ninth-highest taxes in the country—but residents also get a lot of bang for their buck by way of preserved open spaces and public parks. The quality of life is pretty good, too, with low crime rates and easy access to doctors.

There are plenty of retirement communities to choose from, including Renaissance at Manchester, Leisure Village West, and Leisure Knolls. They all offer a variety of amenities, including clubhouses, fitness centers, indoor pools, libraries, and more.

 
6. Monroe, NJ

Percentage of retiree-friendly listings: 70%
Median age of residents: 56
Median list price: $424,000

The Northeast has much to offer residents who still want to stay connected to urban centers like New York City and Philadelphia while stepping back a bit from the hustle and bustle. That’s what puts Monroe on our list.

This Middlesex County location offers a lot of affordable housing, including condos priced in the $200,000s.

Active seniors looking for something to do with their time will appreciate how easy it is to access everything from Atlantic City casinos to Rutgers Gardens to Geology Museum.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also have plenty to do, since Middlesex County is also home to Cheesequake State Park, where visitors can swim, bird-watch, and fish.

 
7. Seal Beach, CA

Percentage of retiree-friendly listings: 72%
Median age of residents: 61
Median list price: $369,000

Sprawling retirement communities, agreeable weather, and a small-town feel are part of what make Seal Beach a great place to settle down. Unlike some of the other sunny spots on this list, this California town doesn’t often experience extreme heat—temperatures don’t often break the 90-degree mark—and the dew points often stay low as well, which is perfect weather for seniors who want to spend their retirement strolling down Seal Beach’s Main Street.

There’s lots for retirees to do while they’re enjoying those endless gorgeous days.

Located in Orange County, this area is home to a vast amount of wildlife and parks, including the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, Seal Beach Wetlands, and Seal Beach State Park.

Fun fact: Seal Beach was once called Bay City, but the municipality changed its name after becoming a popular destination for the seals and sea lions that call this town home.

In addition to all the beautiful scenery, California has another thing luring retirees: no state Social Security taxes.

 
8. Sun City, CA

Percentage of retiree-friendly listings: 86%
Median age of residents: 58
Median list price: $370,000

Nestled in the deserts of Southern California, Sun City has several retirement communities in its 4-square-mile city, where thousands of folks settle in for their second act. These planned retirement communities offer various amenities, including golf courses, public and private tennis courts, swimming pools, and a commercial center.

You can choose from resort-style facilities like Sun City Palm Desert or locations that offer more hands-on care like Pacifica Senior Living. Just remember, with a name like Sun City, there’s bound to be lots of sunshine here, so don’t forget your sunscreen when you pack your bags.

 
9. Laguna Woods, CA

Percentage of retiree-friendly listings: 99%
Median age of residents: 75
Median list price: $409,900

Previously ranked No. 8, Laguna Woods still tops the country’s list of the best places to retire thanks to its affordability: This area boasts a median list price of $422,000, while nearby Orange County hovers at $1.3 million.

If you can manage to nab a home in this hot market, you’ll have plenty to do, thanks to local draws like Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Dana Point.

 
10. Whiting, NJ

Percentage of retiree-friendly listings: 78%
Median age of residents: 69
Median list price: $179,000

Located near the state’s Pine Barrens, Whiting can provide residents with the benefits of an adult community setting where they can still appreciate plenty of wide-open spaces lush with greenery. This is also the perfect spot for anyone who wants easy access to the beach in their golden years but has found themselves priced out of the more expensive coastal towns.

Whiting is also centrally located between several major cities such as New York City and Philadelphia.


We are Your GPS to Success Let’s Get Started

We Guide Homeowners through the complicated process of selling their home using our 4 Phase Selling Process and 3 Prong Marketing Strategy that alleviates their stress and moves them effortlessly to their next destination. Schedule a 15 Minute Complimentary Strategy Session Today

Follow Us On Instagram