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Record Setting Winter Driving Retirees South

by Susan Quilty on 1 Comment

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Record setting snowfall is prompting many retirees to seriously consider making the move south.

All across the Midwest and Northeast, active adults have felt the bite of winter storms. And while those who live in northern regions are used to shoveling snow, recent winter storms have been far from typical. Dangerous white-out conditions grounded flights and prompted many states to advise residents to stay home. Yet, for many, being at home meant coping with extensive power outages. Was all of this enough to drive retirees south?

Some people think that retiring to hot, southern climates is a typical part of retirement. However, that is not always the case. Many retirees who live in northern states prefer to age in place. This lets them stay near family and friends, and also enjoy all four seasons. Active adult community builders have noticed and responded by opening more developments in northern settings like New Jersey and Illinois.

Though this year’s dangerous winter storms may be shaking some retirees’ resolve to stay in their northern homes, it may be too soon to tell if it will lead them to relocate before next winter. Still, some homebuilders in the south are optimistic about expected home sales, particularly those who build active adult communities.

Del Webb, the country’s largest active adult community developer, has big plans in southern states. In Florida alone, Del Webb has plans for several community expansions and grand openings. Del Webb Naples has plans to add 2,000 more homes and a spacious new clubhouse and Del Webb Orlando’s new 38,000 square foot amenity center is set to open on March 5th.

When it comes to existing homes, the National Association of Realtors also reports some good news for the South. While home prices were down in January, home sales were on the rise in most regions. In the South, existing home sales increased 3.6 percent and were 8 percent higher than they had been in January 2010.

Of course, not all active adults who want to flee winter weather will decide to pick up and permanently move south. Some retirees choose to have the best of both worlds by keeping their current homes in northern areas and traveling south during the cold winter months. Because of their migratory patterns, these retirees are aptly named “snowbirds.”

A desire to leave winter weather for a warmer climate is one of the top reasons given when retirees relocate. Though they may like experiencing all four seasons, snowy winter months often become more than retirees can bear. Active adults who have been on the fence about moving to a hot climate may be pushed into making a decision after this year’s harsh winter storms.

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One comment

  1. Every time i watch the news and see snow and freezing cold blanketing the northern states and Canada i ask myself: “why do people live there if they don’t have to?” Don’t get me wrong, i had to endure those frigid temps and the constant shoveling of snow for my entire adult life. The day i retired, that all changed.

    Now days, when my friends are digging out from those 2 foot Minnesota snowfalls, i do feel sorry for them. I have some similar issues in Sun City Arizona; heck, on cold days when we are in the 50’s, i’m having to zip down the enclosure on my golf car before i trudge off to play.

    The point is, life is good and the prices are down right ridiculous on properties in Sun City these days. For less than $50,000 you can buy a 1 bedroom 1 bath 900 sq condo and escape the cold weather and enjoy amenities beyond your belief. While we may be the oldest active age restricted community, we have as much or more to offer than any on the market today.

    Whether it be the original Sun City or any of the other great choices, the next time you are buried in snow up to your back pockets, just ask yourself; “why the heck am i living here?”

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