Most active adults think about downsizing at some point, but it’s all a matter of finding the right mix of a stellar location, the perfect floor plan, and low-maintenance features. It also helps to have low taxes and nearby conveniences and recreation. Lancaster, Pennsylvania real estate checks all of these boxes, especially the three 55+ neighborhoods listed below.
Lancaster is part of Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country, which has a large Amish population. These peaceful communities give the region a low-key, serene feeling with perks like old-fashioned farms (and delicious farm-to-table restaurants), quaint small towns, and great antiquing. For a more urban feel, folks head to Downtown Lancaster, which has its own Gallery Row, the North Museum of Nature and Science, and renowned restaurants like the Cork & Cap.
Like most of Pennsylvania, Lancaster has warm to hot summers, gorgeous spring and fall seasons, and potentially snowy winters. It's located 70 miles west of Philadelphia and 34 miles from Harrisburg. Both of these larger cities have airports, plus there are two local ones right in town (these last two are mostly for chartered and private flights). Lancaster also has an Amtrak station, with daily trains to major East Coast cities including New York.
Here are the best communities in the area for downsizing.
Mid $100s - Mid $300s
This quiet community appeals to 55+ homebuyers looking to downsize to a smaller, well-established neighborhood. Timber Villa has 102 resale attached homes in a private, wooded setting near a small college town.
Completed in 1999, the attached homes range from 744 to 2,882 square feet with large back yards, one to three bedrooms, one to two-and-a-half bathrooms, and attached one- or two-car garages. Upgrades may include decks, walkout finished basements, vaulted ceilings, granite countertops, and spacious master suites. Timber Villa also boasts low property taxes, and residents pay a reasonable homeowners’ association (HOA) fee that covers water, trash and snow removal, common area and exterior maintenance, and lawn care.
Though there’s no clubhouse, this active adult neighborhood is right between Downtown Elizabethtown and the Susquehanna River. It’s minutes from Elizabethtown College and Elizabethtown Family Health Center, and there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and services, all less than five miles away.
Heading in the other direction towards the river, there are boat launches along the shores and Conoy State Park. Golfers can head to Par Line Golf Course or Sunset Golf Course, the latter of which is near the river. Downtown Lancaster is about a 20-minute drive away.
High $200s - Low $400s
About seven miles outside of the Lancaster, Traditions of America appeals to both downsizers and those who prefer something larger. Planning to construct 244 new attached and single-family homes, the builder broke ground on this 60-acre active adult community in 2013.
There are three attached models, sized from 1,268 to 2,191 square feet, with two or three bedrooms and attached two-car garages. The single-family homes are sized from 1,274 to 3,078 square feet, also with two or three bedrooms and attached two-car garages. Additional options include porches, patios, cathedral ceilings, and lofts.
Like all Traditions of America developments, this Lititz location has desirable amenities at its modern clubhouse. There’s a catering kitchen, a ballroom, a restaurant and bar, and a library. The state-of-the-art fitness center provides homeowners with exercise facilities, saunas, lockers, tennis courts, and a heated outdoor pool. The HOA fee includes lawn and common area maintenance, plus trash and snow removal.
Traditions is also less than a mile from the Shoppes at Kissel Village, which has a grocery store and a Target. What’s more, the town of Lititz has been called the “Coolest Small Town in America” and has its own farmers market, unique shops, yearly events, and foodie-favorite restaurants like the Rooster Street Butcher.
High $100s - Mid $200s
This tight-knit retirement community is known for its natural setting that includes protected wetlands, ponds, and a fully stocked fishing lake. Built from 2005 to 2014, Brookshire has 239 resale attached and single-family homes located about 30 minutes north of Lancaster.
The four models range from 1,520 to 2,050 square feet, and all have first-floor master suites. These well-appointed homes have two to three bedrooms, two or two-and-a-half baths, and attached two-car garages. Upgrades include porches, patios, cathedral ceilings, dens, and fireplaces, and the HOA fee includes common area maintenance and trash removal.
The welcoming Brookshire Community Center has many gathering rooms, plus its own coffee shop. Homeowners can also take classes at the aerobics studio, work out in the exercise room, or play bocce or shuffleboard. There are also over 30 clubs and activities, including double deck pinochle, movie nights, a singing club, Samaritan’s Purse, and holiday parties.
Many residents drive to Lancaster to run their errands, and there’s a Weis grocery store a few minutes down the road. For recreation, the Evergreen Golf Course is right in town; the Manheim Auto Auction is another popular landmark.