A Retirement Haven in California: Exploring Inland Empire Homes for Sale

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Sunset aerial view of historic downtown Riverside, California.

9 minute read

What You’ll Gain From Reading This Article: This article provides valuable insights into the appeal and offerings of the Inland Empire as a retirement destination. The detailed exploration covers the geographical expanse of the Inland Empire, its proximity to Los Angeles, and the region’s growing popularity among 55+ homebuyers.

Just east of Los Angeles, the Inland Empire coves 27,000 square miles of Riverside and San Bernardino County. The expansive region features sunny valleys, lush forests, and scenic deserts as well as orange groves and vineyards poised alongside rolling mountain ranges. With LA just two hours away, the Inland Empire is an escape from the city but still within reach of everything it has to offer.

While the Inland Empire used to be a hidden gem in Southern California, its popularity is growing among 55+ homebuyers. The Inland Empire now includes over two dozen active adult communities, making it a top SoCal retirement destination. With desirable weather and a reasonable cost of living for the state, it’s no surprise why retirees move here.

Let’s take a deeper look at this picturesque region of the Golden State. We’ll also explore some active adult communities with Inland Empire homes for sale.

A Mediterranean Climate in the Inland Empire

Canterbury Bells in Joshua Tree National Park during California's superbloom.

The climate of the Inland Empire can vary throughout the region, but it generally follows a Mediterranean climate. This comfortable weather is characterized by rainier winters and drier summers. But even with winter rain, the area only gets about 15 inches of rain each year. From summer to early fall, it’s warm and dry, while fall through spring brings the wet season with cooler temperatures.

According to U.S. Climate data, the average temperature in the area is around 65 degrees. The average low temperature is 51 degrees, and the average high sits at 79 degrees. However, these averages can vary within the Inland Empire due to its diverse geography and elevations.

Elevations within the Inland Empire range from 11,499 feet at the top of the San Gorgonio Mountain to below 220 feet at the Salton Sea. The mountain regions tend to experience cooler temperatures, while the valleys tend to have warmer weather. Overall, active adults who live in the Inland Empire can enjoy pleasant, mild temperatures throughout the year.

Outdoor Recreation

A peaceful lakeside in Southern California's Inland Empire region.

No matter where active adults live in the Inland Empire, they’re surrounded by abundant outdoor recreation opportunities. Bordered by the San Jose Hills and the Santa Ana Mountains, residents can explore the diverse geography of the Inland Empire.

The San Bernardino National Forest, San Gorgonio Mountain, and Mount San Jacinto all offer adventurous trails and scenic drives through pine forests with awe-inspiring vistas. Also, at Joshua Tree National Park, active adults can hike around rugged rock formations, desert landscapes, and bristled Joshua trees.

At Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake, visitors can enjoy fishing, boating, and kayaking, all within alpine scenery. Big Bear Lake features over 100 miles of walking and biking trails, plus winter sports when there’s snow. Big Bear Mountain Resort offers skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.

Culture and Attractions

Daytime view of the Civic Center's public clock tower in Ontario, California.

While outdoor enthusiasts can hike, swim, fish, boat, and ride horses to their heart’s content, there are even more activities in the scenic Inland Empire. Golfers can play on any of the renowned courses in the area. Two of the area’s oldest and most exclusive golf clubs include Redlands Country Club and Arrowhead Golf Club.

Additionally, active adults who want to explore the Inland Empire area also have access to plenty of cultural and entertainment attractions. Temecula Valley Wine Country and Cucamonga Valley boast several wineries and vineyards to explore. The Fox Performing Arts Center and the Glen Helen Amphitheater host concerts, plays, and productions. With plenty of charming downtowns and peaceful parks, active adults in the Inland Empire can pursue any passion or interest.

Cost of Living and Home Prices

Sunset aerial view of Downtown Riverside in California and Inland Empire homes for sale.

California isn’t known for being affordable. However, the Inland Empire area allows active adults to live in the state for a lower price tag. Active adults living in 55+ communities in the Inland Empire experience a lower cost of living than those living west or south of the area.

According to Best Places, living in the Inland Empire costs much less than the Los Angeles area. A comparison of Beaumont to LA reveals that Beaumont is 38.5% cheaper, with the median home costing 79.8% less. As another example, Menifee is 38.5% cheaper than LA, with the median home costing 70.1% less.

In many 55+ communities in the area, active adults can find Inland Empire homes for sale at a lower price point than many other cities in California.

California Taxes

Day time view of the historic County Courthouse in Riverside, California, a city with Inland Empire homes for sale.

Taxes in California are relatively high. However, homeowners can qualify for a property tax exemption if their primary residence is in the state. The state fully taxes all income from retirement accounts and pensions. There’s also a 2.5% penalty on early distributions from retirement plans, annuities, and IRAs. However, Social Security and Railroad retirement benefits are exempt.

The state sales tax is a minimum of 7.25%, while local taxes can increase that rate to as high as 10.25%. But, food and prescription drugs are exempt from sales tax.

The taxes in California seem to run high with few breaks for 55+ active adults. But, those who have their hearts set on California may find that the Inland Empire offers a more affordable cost of living.

55+ Communities in the Inland Empire

The entrance to The Colony in Murrieta, California with Inland Empire homes for sale.

Many of the active adult communities in the Inland Empire are located near Menifee, Hemet, Murrieta, Apple Valley, and Beaumont. Whether active adults are looking for affordable communities or communities without golf courses, the area has plenty of options.

Here are some recommendations for 55+ communities to explore if you’ve been looking for Inland Empire homes for sale. Let’s explore the amenities and lifestyles in these neighborhoods.

Sun City – Menifee, CA

Low $200s – Mid $300s

With 4,762 single-family and attached homes, Sun City is the largest active adult community in the Inland Empire. The three gathering spaces—Civic Hall, North Town Hall, and Webb Hall—host activities and house a woodworking shop, a lapidary studio, a ceramics studio, a card room, a billiards room, and a fitness center.

Residents of this 55+ community also enjoy outdoor amenities. There are two swimming pools, an outdoor amphitheater, a patio with a barbecue, horseshoe pits, and lawn bowling as well as bocce ball and tennis courts.

Sun Lakes Country Club – Banning, CA

High $100s – Mid $400s

Two private 18-hole golf courses and three large clubhouses make Sun Lakes Country Club feel like a resort for residents. This community features fitness centers, libraries, card rooms, an arts and crafts studio as well as two onsite restaurants. The Sun Lakes Restaurant serves casual and fine dining next to a lounge with live music and entertainment. The Sandwedge Grill offers sandwiches and burgers on an outdoor patio.

In addition to the golf courses, residents can use miles of scenic walking and biking trails that wind through the community. Additional outdoor amenities include six tennis courts, bocce courts, pickleball courts, two swimming pools, and two patios.

The Colony – Murrieta, CA

Low $300s – High $400s

The 55+ golf community The Colony consists of 1,501 homes in the heart of the Inland Empire. The onsite Colony Country Club gives the community a luxurious feel, but even residents who don’t play golf can enjoy the amenities here. The clubhouse boasts a fitness center, hobby and craft studios, a grand ballroom, a billiards room, a theater, a library, and even a beauty salon.

Additionally, the outdoor amenities include a pool, several miles of walking and biking trails, and sports courts. As a bonus, an onsite activities director and travel coordinator both schedule events and trips to explore the surrounding area.

Four Seasons at Hemet – Hemet, CA

High $300ks – Low $500ks

Four Seasons at Hemet includes 1,106 single-family homes on the southern edge of the Inland Empire. This ideal location means that everything—from mountains, lakes, deserts, and beaches—is accessible within an hour. However, with a variety of world-class amenities, residents won’t need to leave the community to have fun.

The 14,859-square-foot clubhouse includes a ballroom, a billiards room, a fitness center, a movie theater, a computer room, a card room, a library, an arts and crafts room, a barbecue area, a salon, and a bistro. Outside, residents can also find a resort-style pool and courts for tennis, pickleball, and bocce. The Hemet Golf Club provides fairway views from many homes and a challenging game for beginners and weekend novices alike.

55places Can Help You Buy a Home in California!

Exploring Inland Empire homes for sale unveils a promising retirement haven in the heart of California. The diverse and vibrant communities within the Inland Empire offer more than just residences; they provide a lifestyle rich in amenities, natural beauty, and a sense of community.

If you’re drawn to the picturesque landscapes, cultural attractions, or the warmth of a close-knit community, 55places is ready to help you retire in the Inland Empire. We have a network of local real estate agents who can guide you through the process of finding your dream home. Contact us today to jumpstart your sunny California retirement plans!

Discover what’s next.

To learn more information or connect with a real estate expert, contact us today.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

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Subscribe to Our Newsletter

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I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting optout@55places.com. Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

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