Think you can’t afford the retirement of your dreams? Think again.
55 Places is excited to announce our annual list of the 25 best value communities for 2015. As this list shows, living in a luxurious 55+ community does not require a gold mine for a retirement fund, as several communities provide incredible homes, resort-style amenities, and in-demand locations at prices attainable by most active adults.
Our list contains some active adult community heavyweights in popular locations and some lesser-known locales and neighborhoods that might come as a surprise. As in previous years, we determined this year’s list by looking at our 100 most popular active adult communities for 2015. We then narrowed down our list by the average home selling price, best amenities, and the number of clubs and activities that residents take part in.
The team at 55 Places travels around the country to visit hundreds of active adult communities every year, making this list not only an exercise in numbers, but also in our experiences visiting these communities.
So pack your bag, put down the checkbook, and get ready for the retirement you never thought was possible. Here are the best value communities for 2015, in no particular order:
Sun City Arizona has the distinction of being the first active adult community in the country, opening to much fanfare and large crowds on New Year’s Day in 1960. Since that day 55 years ago, Sun City has become synonymous with active retirement living and still provides a terrific deal for snowbirds. With home prices that seem like a downright bargain, homeowners get access to seven amenity centers, eleven golf courses, restaurants and cafes, and even bowling alleys.
A community of over 27,000 homes, Sun City Arizona has hundreds of groups and events ranging from racquetball to ukulele club to chorus. Even with over a thousand 55+ communities throughout the country, it wouldn’t be possible without Del Webb’s risky experiment that is now the prototype for active retirement communities. Not only does Sun City Arizona still have everything an active adult could want or need, for a very low price they could own a small slice of history.
With 10,000 homes, On Top of the World is one of Florida’s largest active adult communities and also one of the best deals. The Recreation Center, housed in a classical Greek-style building, is the focal point of this community although homeowners have four other amenity centers to choose from. Enjoying the Florida sunshine is easy with miles of walking trails, four outdoor pools, tennis, bocce, and shuffleboard courts, as well as Town Square, a shopping complex. There are clubs for nearly everyone, whether it’s crocheting or ceramics.
Just 30 miles from Chicago’s city center, Carillon is not only a great value for active adults looking to retire near the nation’s third largest city, it was also the first 55+ community in the area. Carillon boasts more than just affordability, it also has a massive 32,000 square-foot clubhouse with features ranging from a ceramics studio to a poker room to a 27-hole golf course. Having over 2,000 homes (available as single family, attached, and condominium units) means that there are enough groups and activities to represent any interest and to create a bustling clubhouse, where residents get swept up in this constantly buzzing community.
Three clubhouses anchor the active lifestyle at this large 55+ community just outside of Brick, New Jersey. Although the price point for New Jersey skews lower than its neighbors, few in the Garden State offer the diversity of amenities and activities like Leisure Village West. A lot of homes have views of the two 9-hole courses that residents have full access to and, with snow removal, landscaping, and common area maintenance taken care of by the association, homeowners will have more time to enjoy the range of resident-organized groups.
What more could be said about The Villages? We’ve spent a lot of time writing about this unprecedented active adult community on 55places.com and for good reason: spanning three zip codes and containing nearly 50 recreation centers, over 40 golf courses, and hundreds of activities, The Villages has more amenities than any development per capita.
The point of entry for The Villages is also relatively low considering that it resembles more of an active adult city than a community (and it’s also the fastest growing city in the country). The Villages continues to grow everyday, making room for active adults and retirees from all walks of life.