August 13, 2014 — (Note: This is Part 3 in a series of under-appreciated places to retire. Find the links to Parts 1 and 2 at the end).
We get a little tired of seeing the same towns and cities get picked for “Best” this or that for retirement. Seems like everyone doing the selecting is drinking at the same water trough. So when our friend Bob Powell at MarketWatch asked for input on some under-appreciated places to retire, he got our attention (his article, “Five Lesser Known Places to Retire”, was published last Sunday in USA Today).
Our goal in coming up with 5 less discovered towns was to find places that have lots of things going for them, along with a reasonable cost of living. There has to be plenty to do, and the town needs to be livable.
Our 5 Latest Under-Appreciated Towns
Here are the 5 we came up with:
Greenville, NC. This all-American city is suitable for all ages as well as retirees. The city has applied to become a Certified Retirement Community. The population grew 44% from 2000 to 2012. East Carolina University’s 26,000 students make it a college town. The county has 20 parks, 4 lakes, and at least 6 golf courses. In fact it is very active for sports – named “Sportstown USA” by ”Sports Illustrated”. City-data.com reported the median home sold for about $155,000 in early 2014.
Gulfport, Florida. This cute little town is on the same peninsula as St. Petersburg. There is a small downtown, great community center, Casino (great dance hall), and beautiful beaches and bays. Walk to the beach. It is decidedly low-key, but has the advantage of being just outside St. Pete and its many attractions. City-Data.com reports the median home sold for $100,000 or less in early 2013, while Zillow reported a Home Value Index of $123,000 in June, 2014. No state income tax is another attraction.
Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s the capital of Nebraska with over 250,000 residents. Those who live here are happy to host the Cornhuskers (U of Nebr.) and over 100 parks. Historic Bungalow District has some interesting architecture. The median home sold for $145,700 in 2014’s 2nd quarter according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Unemployment is very low at around 3%.
Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville is famous for its NASA Marshall Space Flight Center , the Redstone Arsenal, and as a high-tech center. It is a popular destination for retirees from all over the country, based on availability of desirable housing, beautiful parks, and a vibrant cultural infrastructure. The Twickenham Historic District features homes in the Federal and Greek revival styles. Alabama is not a place northerners first think of retiring to, but Huntsville is unique and very appealing. According to the NAR the median selling price of a home was $179,000 in the second quarter of 2014.
Ruidoso, New Mexico. This resort in southcentral New Mexico has about 10,000 people and is steadily growing. Some of the local attractions beyond the climate and scenery include good skiing nearby at Ski Apache, and Ruidoso Downs, a flat horse racing track, the Billy the Kid Casino, and the Hubbard Museum of the American West. City-Data.com says the median selling price of a home in early 2014 was about $220,000.
For more ideas see:
Most Under-Rated Places to Retire – Part 1
Beyond Asheville – More Under-rated Places to Retire – Part 2
10 Affordable Places to Retire Where You Might Actually Want to Live
Comments? Please share your ideas for more-underappreciated places to retire, as well as the reasons for your pick. We look forward to reading them in the Comments section below.