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.
Request more information about Sun City.
2. Villages of Wildewood – California, MD
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.
Request more information about the Villages of Wildewood.
3. Leisure World of Maryland – Silver Springs, MD
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.
Request more information about Leisure World of Maryland.
4. Pelican Preserve – Fort Myers, FL
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.
Request more information about Pelican Preserve.
5. Fairfield Glade – Crossville, TN
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.
Request more information about Fairfield Glade.
6. On Top of the World – Ocala, FL
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.
Request more information about On Top of the World.
7. Central Parke at Victoria Falls – Laurel, MD
Mid $200s – Low $500s
Back in Maryland and the metropolitan D.C. area is Central Parke at Victoria Falls at No. 7. Located in Laurel, the community has a wide variety of home styles and amenities on offer.
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.
Request more information about Central Parke at Victoria Falls.
8. Cameron Grove – Upper Marlboro, MD
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.
Request more information about Cameron Grove.
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.
Request more information about Leisure World.
10. Heritage Harbour – Annapolis, MD
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.
Request more information about Heritage Harbour.
11. Pine Ridge at Fort Myers – Fort Myers, FL
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.
Request more information about Pine Ridge at Fort Myers.
12. Sun City Grand – Surprise, AZ
Low $200s – Mid $800s
Sun City Grand is another high performer across many awards from 55places. With just under 10,000 homes and resort-style amenities, the community really packs a punch.
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.
Request more information about Sun City Grand.
13. Four Seasons at Lakewood – Lakewood, NJ
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.
Request more information about Four Seasons at Lakewood.
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.
Request more information about Heather Gardens.
15. Village on the Green – Clearwater, FL
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.
Request more information about Village on the Green.
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.
Request more information about Heritage Hunt.
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.
Request more information about CrossRidge.
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.
Request more information about Sun City Huntley.