With over 2,000 age-restricted communities throughout the United States, starting your home search might not sound enticing. Fortunately, you can cut this list down significantly depending on what state you’re looking in, what type of home you’d like, or what amenities are a must in your ideal community. But from there, where do you go next?
Some factors you might look into include price points, homeowners’ association (HOA) fees, taxes, or cost of living. That’s a lot to break down, and even then, do you know what you’re really getting from your community?
With so much to consider, we thought it would be beneficial to find out which communities offer the most value. In this sense, value means what you get for the price of your home, ongoing taxes, HOA fees, and more. While there are plenty of 55+ communities offering homes for $100k in low-tax states, what do they offer in terms of amenities, lifestyle choices, and location?
To find the best value communities, we looked at age-restricted and active lifestyle communities across the country to find out their home prices, state taxes, and cost of living. We compared this information to the amenities on offer, lifestyle options, home styles, and more. To learn more about our criteria, check out our methodology section at the bottom of this post.
For now, here are the 25 best value communities of 2020.
1. Sun City - Sun City, AZ
Below $100k - High $800s
After opening 60 years ago, Sun City became the largest retirement community in the world. Since that time, 55+ communities have changed drastically, but Sun City has the size and ability to adapt.
With over 27,000 homes, the amenities to match a town, and an almost infinite list of clubs and groups, Sun City continues to offer retirees huge value. Besides those amenities, price points in the community begin below $100k and go into the high $800s, meaning there are plenty of well-priced homes in the mix. On top of that, the Phoenix area has a relatively low cost of living and a friendly tax-environment for retirees.
High $100s - High $300s
A newcomer on this year’s list is Villages of Wildewood, a mid-sized community in southern Maryland. The community is just under 100 miles from Washington D.C. yet still comes with prices from the high $100s to the high $300s.
With 474 homes, a big draw to the community is its home-to-amenity ratio, which is on the lower side. Buyers also have a choice between condos, attached, and single-family homes. Amenities for a community of this size are also unique, including the Woodlands Grill, a hair salon, and gardening plots.
Below $100k - Mid $500s
Staying in Maryland for No. 3, we have the largest 55+ community in the state. Leisure World of Maryland is an expansive community of 5,600 condos, attached, and single-family homes. What separates Leisure World of Maryland from the rest is its low home prices, offering many properties for below $100k.
Those home prices are paired with an expansive amenity set that includes two clubhouses and a golf facility with an 18-hole course. The community also has community transit, its own post office, a bank, and medical facilities. Plus, it’s located in sought-after Silver Spring just outside of Washington D.C.
Mid $100s - Mid $500s
Pelican Preserve consistently finds itself in the top 10 of many of our awards. Not only is it one of the best communities in the country, but it also provides the best value in Florida. Another community that offers condos, attached, and single-family homes, Pelican Preserve is ideally located near Gulf Coast beaches and more.
There are plenty of resort-style amenities in the community, but it particularly shines when it comes to the outdoors. On-site is a 38-acre nature preserve and boardwalk, a butterfly garden, a fishing pier, and a 27-hole championship golf course. All of that's open to residents who live in homes that range from the mid $100s to the high $500s.
Below $100k - Mid $800s
Fairfield Glade is the first all-ages community on the list. Located outside of Knoxville, it offers the amenities and floor plans people have come to expect from 55+ communities. Homes here come in several dozen floor plans spanning condos, attached, and single-family homes starting below $100k.
Residents of Fairfield Glade have access to two golf clubs and a country club, as well as several other resort-style amenities. If you want a community that has its own marinas, several boating lakes, and even equestrian facilities, Fairfield Glade is for you.
Below $100k - Low $400s
It wouldn’t be an award for 55+ communities without On Top of the World. The Ocala community was named our 2019 Community of the Year for many reasons, but one is the value it provides. Ocala is already affordable, but On Top of the World doubles down on that with many homes priced below $100k.
There are over 50 floor plans to choose from in a community that’s still growing and plans to have 10,000 homes upon completion. What really draws people to On Top of the World are the amenities and lifestyle, which includes unique things like an R/C airfield, a continuing education center, and a model train room.
Mid $200s - Low $500s
Amenities include the 13,500-square-foot Resort club with a state-of-the-art fitness center, a sports lounge, and an outdoor pool. Home prices range from the mid $200s to low $500s, a solid price for the D.C. area.
High $100s - High $200s
Cameron Grove is another Maryland community that makes the top 10. It’s a 740-home community offering a variety of styles all at a low price point beginning in the high $100s and going into the high $200s.
Residents enjoy amenities like an indoor heated pool and spa, a fitness center, an aerobics studio, and hobby rooms. There are also a number of outdoor amenities, including at the softball field, tennis courts, and driving range.
9. Leisure World - Mesa, AZ
High $100s - High $400s
Mesa is one of the Phoenix area’s most affordable suburbs, and Leisure World is one of its most affordable 55+ communities. It’s not just affordable though, it also packs plenty of amenities inside its gates.
That includes two 18-hole golf courses, a state-of-the-art fitness center, pickleball and tennis courts, and RV parking. Homebuyers can choose between condos, attached, and single-family homes with prices starting in the high $100s.
Low $200s - High $700s
Away from D.C., we have our final Maryland community to make the list—this one in the form of Heritage Harbour. Located off the South River in Annapolis, residents enjoy waterside views, a pier, and 30 boat slips. There’s also plenty more going on out of the water, including sport courts, a nine-hole golf course, and a large clubhouse.
The community includes condos, attached, and single-family homes ideally located near downtown Annapolis. Prices start in the low $200s and go into the high $700s.
Below $100k - Mid $100s
For No. 11, we’re heading back to Florida’s Gulf Coast to visit Pine Ridge at Fort Myers, a 55+ community of 462 homes. The big appeal to this community is its low prices, with homes starting below $100k and only going into the mid $100s.
Despite these low prices, Pine Ridge at Fort Myers comes with a good selection of amenities that include an outdoor pool, walking trails, a dock, and a 20-acre lake. The community is just a short walk from the Caloosahatchee River and is located just off of I-75, so day trips up and down the coast are easy.
12. Sun City Grand - Surprise, AZ
Low $200s - Mid $800s
Best of all, plenty of homes start in the low $200s, and buyers have the choice between over 50 floor plans. All of that's located in the growing city of Surprise, which gives residents easy access to the rest of the Phoenix area.
Mid $100s - Mid $300s
It may be surprising, but New Jersey is one of the most popular states for 55+ communities. Knowing that, it’s no wonder Four Seasons at Lakewood comes in at No. 13. The community is ideally located in Ocean County and has homes priced from the mid $100s to the mid $300s.
Buyers have a choice between condos, attached, and single-family homes that are great for downsizing. Amenities in the community are varied, offering a sauna, hobby rooms, sports courts, RV parking, and a nine-hole golf course.
14. Heather Gardens - Aurora, CO
High $100s - Mid $400s
Heading west, we have Heather Gardens in Colorado at No. 14. One of the largest communities in the state, Heather Gardens has almost 2,500 homes, plenty of amenities, and an ideal location just outside of Denver.
Homes offered include condos, attached, and single-family homes spanning several dozen floor plans. Prices for those homes start in the high $100s and are matched with a 50,000-square-foot clubhouse, a billiards room, a nine-hole golf course, RV parking, and several outdoor spaces.
Below $100k - Low $200s
One of the biggest things that stands out about Village on the Green is its location. Just minutes from the water, a sunset viewing on Clearwater Beach is always an option for residents. Despite that good location, homes here range from below $100k to the low $200s. Whether you’re looking for a condo, attached villa, or single-family home, all floor plans are great for downsizing.
Amenities center around the clubhouse and its hobby rooms, while there’s also an outdoor pool, shuffleboard courts, and walking trails.
16. Heritage Hunt - Gainesville, VA
Low $400s - Low $600s
Heritage Hunt comes with the highest price points we’ve seen so far, but considering the D.C. metro locale and amenities on offer, it’s still a best value community. For one, there are homes in all styles and plenty of different floor plans offered throughout the community.
Amenities are split between three buildings: the 28,000-square-foot clubhouse, the Fitness and Aquatic Center, and the 6,000-square-food Marsh Mansion. Between the three, there’s an 18-hole golf course, an indoor pool, and a restaurant.
17. CrossRidge - Glen Allen, VA
Low $300s - High $400s
Staying in Virginia we have CrossRidge, located just outside of Richmond, at No. 17. Residents of CrossRidge enjoy well-maintained grounds and modern amenities in the clubhouse, including a fitness center and an outdoor pool.
There are several home collections in the community, with prices ranging from the low $300s and going into the high $400s. Located just minutes from downtown Richmond, homeowners have plenty to do inside and out of the community.
18. Sun City Huntley - Huntley, IL
Mid $100s - Mid $400s
Sun City Huntley’s amenities can go toe-to-toe with almost any other community across the country. It’s the largest 55+ community in the Midwest, and it's home to two large clubhouses, two restaurants, a fishing lake, a golf course, and two fitness centers.
There’s a huge selection of floor plans here with prices starting in the mid $100s, and opportunities to live in condos, villas, or single-family homes. Plus, its location means a day in Chicago is always a quick drive or train ride away.
19. Heritage Isle - Viera, FL
High $200s - Mid $500s
Florida’s Space Coast is a great retirement alternative to the traditional areas like Tampa, Palm Beach, and Ocala. The region has plenty of untouched nature and doesn’t draw in tourists like the rest of Florida. Heritage Isle comes with that and a great value.
Homes start in the high $200s and come in a variety of floor plans. Amenities on offer include the 21,000-square-foot-clubhouse, a bistro, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a resort-style pool. Residents can also play golf at the nearby Duran Golf Club for a discounted fee.
Mid $100s - Mid $600s
Back in Fort Myers is an unheralded and underrated Florida community, the Legends Golf and Country Club was completed by Lennar Homes in 2006 and continues to get rave reviews. The community offers a great location, homes that start in the mid $100s, and several dozen floor plans.
The community is home to a great selection of amenities. Indoors, there’s a pub and a restaurant if you need to grab a bite to eat. There’s also a fitness center and aerobics studio to get in a workout. Outdoors, there are seven pools, six tennis courts, four bocce ball courts, and an 18-hole golf course.
21. Coral Lakes - Boynton Beach, FL
High $100s - Low $400s
Homes in the community start in the high $100s, and buyers have the choice between several neighborhoods that offer different home styles. Amenities include a 72,000-square-foot clubhouse, a cafe, a sauna, a 500-seat theater, and plenty more options outdoors.
22. Rossmoor Village - Monroe, NJ
Below $100k - Mid $400s
Rossmoor Village has long been one of the most popular communities in New Jersey, and it remains one of the best values in the state. Homeowners enjoy a great location just south of New Brunswick and New York City, while entry-level homes in the community sell for under $100k.
Amenities in Rossmoor Village make it easy to stay active, like the 18-hole golf course and tennis courts. There’s also a woodworking shop, a photography studio, a sewing studio, and a catering kitchen on-site.
23. Sun City Anthem - Henderson, NV
Low $200s - Low $1Ms
Sun City Anthem is our first Las Vegas area community, a region that has been booming when it comes to 55+ communities. While there are several new communities in the area, Sun City Anthem is a more established option.
Homes start in the low $200s, and homeowners get access to some of the best amenities a 55+ community can offer. That includes four clubhouses with everything from a day spa to a theater to pickleball courts. Plus, residents live in desirable and affordable Henderson, just a quick drive away from The Strip.
24. Sweetwater - Jacksonville, FL
Low $200s - Low $400s
Jacksonville has also seen its fair share of new 55+ communities recently, yet Sweetwater is still the one that offers the area’s best value. Built by Del Webb from 2005 to 2016, the community offers condos, villas, carriage homes, and single-family homes.
Amenities include the 22,000-square-foot Summerland Hall, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and hobby rooms. Outdoors, residents enjoy a resort-style pool, a tennis court, a putting green, and the more mild temperatures of Northeast Florida.
Low $100s - High $600s
One of the most popular all-ages communities on 55places is Savannah Lakes Village. While not a 55+ community, it offers amenities retirees crave, plus so much more. That includes boating and fishing access to Lake Thurmond, two 18-hole golf courses, a four-lane bowling alley, and two restaurants.
Savannah Lakes Village allows buyers to find the home they want at prices starting in the low $100s. If you’re dreaming of spending your retirement on the water, there’s almost no better option than Savannah Lakes Village.
Using data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), we calculated the median sold price and price per square foot for over 3,000 active adult communities. We then layered this data with 13 other datasets to determine a community's value as it relates to the active adult homebuyer. The data breaks out into the following categories:
Community: This category includes 55places data to weigh each community’s amenities, lifestyle options, and how many home types are offered there.
Taxes: Using data from the Census Bureau and formatted by The Tax Foundation, we factored in sales and local tax, state income tax (calculated median between all brackets), and the median state property tax.
Area: Using a variety of different sources, we looked at each community’s location by weighing the median income of people above the age of 50, number of hospitals per 100,000 people, and the number of days that reach a temperature of 72 degrees. This data was acquired through the Census Bureau as well as NOIA for the weather.
Popularity: The popularity category combines data from 55places and the MLS to determine if a community is popular and in-demand. This category factors traffic volume, the number of homes sold, and how well a community converts into a sale.
Each metric within each category is individually weighted keeping active adult needs in mind to determine a community’s value and ranking on this list.