Northwest Florida is different from other parts of the state. There’s still plenty of sunshine, lots of golf, and miles of sandy beaches; the difference is the landscape. It’s a bit more wild, a little more natural, and a lot less crowded. Locals and visitors have described the Florida panhandle and its surrounding areas as similar to southern states and less likely to have snowbirds and transplants from the north.
It’s a great time to consider a Florida retirement in the northwestern part of the state, especially for active adults who enjoy the water and all its boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities. Homebuyers in Northwest Florida will have to decide if they’d prefer to live closer to Panama City, Pensacola, or the state capital, Tallahassee.
In this part of the state, three communities in particular are making waves by offering buyers new construction homes and move-in ready resale properties in diverse neighborhoods with a wide range of models, amenities, and floor plans.
Mid $100s - High $200s
The most affordable 55+ community in Northwest Florida is Windsor Villas in Milton. This gated and intimate collection of 145 single-family homes is about 20 miles from Pensacola. Most of the properties are available on a resale basis.
Construction of this community began in the early 2000s, but buyers looking for new construction homes can purchase one of the remaining lots and build from the ground up. Several models offer 1,300 to 2,000 square feet, two to four bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, and private backyards. Some homes also have a screened patio.
A community clubhouse is available to residents who want to gather for classes, meetings, or social events. There are plenty of meeting and multipurpose rooms, and the clubhouse also has an outdoor pool and patio. Low-maintenance living is easily achieved, thanks to the active homeowners' association which handles landscaping, security, and exterior maintenance.
Milton is in Santa Rosa County, which is known for its pilot training program at Naval Air Station Whiting Field. Also, it’s been called the Canoe Capital of Florida thanks to a trio of rivers that invite canoeing, kayaking, and tubing. The Blackwater River is protected for its rare aquatic plant species.
An official groundbreaking can be expected later this spring at Latitude Margaritaville Watersound, a 55+ community just minutes from Panama City and Panama City Beach. People are excited, and for good reason. The Margaritaville community in Daytona Beach has been wildly popular among active adults interested in music, happy hours, private beach clubs, and ongoing social events. Jimmy Buffet-inspired properties will be available in this planned, gated collection of 3,500 new construction single-family homes.
Homebuyers seeking homes for sale in Panama City and the surrounding area may want to consider this waterfront community, where amenities are likely to include the same types of features offered at the Daytona Beach community. These might be pools, pickleball and tennis courts, a spa, a fitness center, game rooms, and retail space.
The four pillars of a Margaritaville lifestyle are described as food, fun, music, and escapism. The Watersound community will embrace all of those things and provide buyers with a list of spacious and comfortable home models to consider. Floor plans haven't yet been announced, but they'll likely include at least two bedrooms, two bathrooms, attached two-car garages, additional space to be used as a den or office, and large, open floor plans conducive to modern lifestyles and easy entertaining.
The Watersound location is optimal for buyers who want Panama City homes for sale but who also value a little extra privacy and waterfront fun. It’s just minutes from the shopping, restaurants, and nightlife that Panama City has to offer, and the immediate surroundings are more secluded and quiet. Residents will be close to Deer Lake State Park, known for its dunes, endangered wildflowers, and excellent hiking.
High $500s - Low $800s
Over a thousand single-family new construction homes are planned for Watersound Origins, a new 55+ community just outside of Panama City. The best beaches on the northern Gulf of Mexico are merely minutes away, and there’s also a lot of shopping and golfing available in the area as well as an abundance of nature.
Several builders are contributing to Watersound Origins, providing buyers with a lot of options when it comes to selecting and designing a home that meets their unique needs and lifestyle. Huff Homes is a local builder creating nine three- or four-bedroom floor plans ranging from 1,750 to 2,615 square feet. These homes will have high ceilings, granite counters, and drought-tolerant landscaping.
Romair Homes is a luxury builder that will offer five floor plans with 2,278 to 2,948 square feet, three or four bedrooms, three-and-a-half to four bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. Upgrades such as private pools and outdoor fire pits will be offered to buyers who want to customize their homes.
Amenities at Watersound Origins are particularly impressive. All residents are invited to enjoy the clubhouse, fitness center, pool, patio, and six-hole golf course. There’s also a cafe, an outdoor patio, and plenty of parks and walking trails. For something special, residents can purchase a membership at the Watersound Beach Club. Amenities here include a day spa, eight restaurants and cafes, a golf course, and a marina. There’s also a private beach and boat slips. Buyers who don’t want to invest in a full membership can pay as they go.