View from atop of the hills of the Shenandoah Valley during sunset

Central Virginia combines natural beauty with affordability.

In the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service recent study on “retirement counties,” counties and cities where the number of residents over the age of 60 grew 15 percent or more between 2000 and 2010, about half of the counties were in Central Virginia. The region is home to 48 active adult communities, a little less than half of the state’s total number, including many new and developing communities with under 150 total homes.

Central Virginia includes the greater Richmond area and the Charlottesville area, as well as Lexington and Harrisonburg along Interstate 81. Homebuyers over 55 look to these areas for a variety of reasons, including the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains, and ample outdoor opportunities with the benefit of remaining close to the major thoroughfares of the East Coast.

These areas are also known to be less expensive than Northern Virginia. The National Association of Realtors estimates that the Richmond area has an average home price almost 50 percent lower than that of homes around D.C. Many prospective homebuyers are looking for an affordable home with great amenities.

Here are the 4 best lowest prices communities in Central Virginia.

Rock Creek Villas - Quinton

Mid $200s - Low $300s

The community of Rock Creek Villas provides residents with peace and quiet in the Richmond suburbs. When complete, this age-restricted community will include 60 homes built by Shurm Homes and Cunningham Homes.

Prospective homebuyers can choose both from homes offered for resale, or they can custom design a villa with vaulted ceilings, tiled walk-in showers, and quality kitchens. The single-family and attached homes range in size from 1,507 to 2,020 square feet.

While the clubhouse is not yet built, residents enjoy the gazebo, walking trails, and natural space around the community. Next door, residents can play a round of golf at the Brookwoods Golf Club, and a convenient shopping center is located down the road.

The Villas of Autumn Run - Henrico

Mid $200s - Low $300s

The Villas of Autumn Run is another active adult community in the Richmond suburbs. Located on the west side of the city in Henrico, the community offers 106 attached homes for resale.

The two- and three-bedroom homes feature single floor layouts for low-maintenance living. The clubhouse provides a meeting room, multi-purpose room, and exercise room. During the summer, homeowners enjoy sitting on the outdoor patio or taking a swim in the community pool.

Residents are also walking distance to the West End Farmers Market and two small shopping centers.

University Village - Charlottesville

Mid $200s - High $500s

Located just outside of downtown Charlottesville, University Village allows active adults residents to take advantage of everything this Central Virginia college town has to offer.

94 condo units make up the building, where two bedroom and two bathroom homes list from the mid $200s. Residents of the tight knit community enjoy games, classes, and planned activities held in the community spaces of the building.

They stay active in the pool and exercise center, and take in views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the meeting room and library. Residents also enjoy the shops, restaurants, and theaters on the nearby downtown mall.

The Villages at Nahor - Palmyra

Mid $200s - High $300s

For prospective homebuyers looking for a single-family or attached home in the Charlottesville area, The Villages at Nahor offers new and resale homes in an intimate setting. When complete, the community will include 106 homes.

The amenities include a clubhouse with meeting rooms, an exercise room, and an outdoor pool and patio. The Villages at Nahor also offers residents opportunities to enjoy the scenic surroundings of the Shenandoah Valley. The picnic area, walking trails, community garden, and gazebo all encourage time outdoors in the community, while nearby, residents can enjoy Pleasant Grove Park and the Rivanna River.