Disconnect: Most Affordable Places to Retire Are Not Where Retirees Are Moving

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

December 2, 2014 — It is a hard reality that many baby boomers are very concerned about not having enough money for an enjoyable retirement. Yet a comparison of two studies, one that ranks Metros by affordability and another that tracks the Metros that are attracting the most new 55+ residents, finds very little correlation between the top of both lists. Apparently, housing costs are not always the only drivers when it comes to deciding where to retire!

The first study, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Affordability Index (See the “Complete Listing by Affordability Rank” report) compares home prices to median incomes in in U.S. Metros. The result is an Affordability Index ranking, which, surprisingly, produces a list completely different than that from the second study, the William H. Frey Analysis of American Community Survey data. That study lists the highest population U.S. areas with the most net migration of people 55+. In this article we will provide the highest ranking Metros on both lists and speculate reasons for the disconnect.

First of all – the most affordable Metros
The NAHB/Wells Fargo Affordability Index compares the median income in U.S. Metros to the cost of a home in those markets. The resulting index represents the share of homes that are considered affordable to households who earn at least the median income. According to that list Kokomo (IN) and Cumberland (MD) are tied as the most affordable Metros in the country, with almost 95% of the homes there considered affordable. By contrast, the least affordable Metro is Napa, California, where only 10% of these wine country homes are affordable.

As you can see from the list below from the NAHB/Wells Fargo Affordability Index, homes in the 16 most affordable Metros are concentrated almost exclusively in the mid-west and upstate New York. These are ranked by the affordability index. The number following the Metro name is the 3rd Quarter 2014 Median Sales Price of a home in that Metro ($000s).

– Kokomo, IN $101
– Cumberland, MD-WV $89
– Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL $103
– Mansfield, OH $91
– Springfield, OH $95
– Utica-Rome, NY $90
– Lima, OH $99
– Monroe, MI $130
– Binghamton, NY $108

Sunset in Salisbury, MD

Salisbury, MD $135
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA $85
Lansing-East Lansing, MI $113
– Saginaw-Saginaw Township North, MI $96
– Syracuse, NY $120
– Battle Creek, MI $105
Dover, DE $191

Something to consider is that an Affordability Index is not a perfect measure for retirees. That’s because it is using the median income of everyone in the Metro, and presumably most of those people are working. You are probably retired, and have your own sources of income – which might be higher or lower. But it will give you some insight into the general cost of living in different places. See the entire NAHB/Wells Fargo list for how all U.S. Metros rank.

More 55+ people are moving to these areas
Net migration measures the change in the number of people moving to a region vs. those moving out. If more people move in than out, that area has a positive net migration. Here from William Frey’s analysis of Census data are the the top 15 areas of the country with the highest net migration of people 55+ from 2009 to 2012.

Note that although these hot retirement areas might not be the most affordable, they are not the most expensive either. According to the NAHB the median sales price of a U.S. home was $221,000 in 2014’s 3rd Quarter. So Jacksonville (FL), which ranked #100 for its affordability index (out of 226) with a median sales price in the 3rd Q (2014) of $156,000, looks like a good deal. Likewise Tampa (FL) is ranked #117 with a median home price of $138,000 in the period. Metros like those represent good news; there are some popular places to retire where you can avoid sticker shock!

1. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Metro Area – 18,401

2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metro Area 11,125

3. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area 8,028

4. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA Metro Area 5,713

5. Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Metro Area 3,966

6. Austin-Round Rock, TX Metro Area 3,500

7. Orlando-Kissimmee, FL Metro Area 3,495

8. Jacksonville, FL Metro Area 3,334

9. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC Metro Area 3,128

10.San Antonio, TX Metro Area 2,998

11. Portland,Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA Metro Area 2,427

12. Las Vegas-Paradise, NV Metro Area 2,292

13. Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA Metro Area 1,869

14.Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington,TX Metro Area 1,820

15. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL Metro Area 1,411

An interesting fact about this list is the diversity of states liked by people 55+; 10 different states made the top 15! Another interesting comparison with the Frey list is the difference in net migration for 55+ people vs. millennial-aged folks (25-34). Most of the top 15 Metros are identical on both lists. While San Francisco, Seattle, and Minneapolis are obviously popular with millennials, they do not show up on the 55+ list.

What does this all mean
The differences between the most affordable and the highest net-migration lists are startling – there is no overlap! So what does that say about the choices that baby boomers make when they pick a place to retire. Here are some possible theories – we hope you will contribute your own in the Comments section at the end of this article.

– Although half of boomers are worried about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, they would rather stay where they are now than move to a bargain location with negative aspects like climate or location

– The Sun Belt is a powerful draw – if financially stressed boomers do move, they apparently do something creative like downsizing or searching for an affordable town to retire to get there

– Many boomers have considerable wealth. They can afford to move wherever they want

– There is a reason why some of the “most affordable” Metros are so inexpensive. In addition to cold climates, some (but not all!) have high tax structures, aging infrastructure, urban ugliness, crime problems, and declining populations. Of course another reason is that a lot of people want to move to the Sunbelt, the coasts, or the mountains – reducing growth and resulting demand for real estate in these regions

Bottom Line
This might be good news for you, if you live in one of the affordable places and want to stay there. The same might be true if you have relatives there, or you have your eye on a great place to retire in one of these Metros. But if you are worried about money and are still determined to retire to one of the places that are attracting 55+ people, you will have to deepen your research to find the most affordable places in those regions. See “For Further Reading” below to links to our previous articles with more inexpensive ideas for places to retire.

Comments
Please let us know your theories for why the net migration list is so different from the most affordable list. Also, if you have any suggestions on inexpensive places to retire we would all love to hear them.

For Further Reading
11 Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront – Part 1
Affordable Places to Retire on the Coast – Part 2
10 Affordable, and Highly Livable, Places to Retire
8 More Affordable Places to Retire
2 New lists to Help You Find an Affordable Place to Retire
NAHB/Wells Fargo Affordability Index
William H. Frey Study of Net Migration
Pew Charitable Trusts: Retirement Moves Make a Comeback




Posted by Admin on December 2nd, 2014

35 Comments »

  1. I don’t think most of us begin searching for our retirement destination by looking for the least expensive place to live. We begin by looking for places that meet our own personal goals and objectives for a good life, then we begin comparing prices. We may start with states that offer better value than where we now reside, but that depends on our current residence. Bottom line – we want to live happily for all the years we have left!

    by ella — December 3, 2014

  2. I agree with Ella. We first select places that meet our needs (climate, price, family nearby, etc.) and then compare. Why retire in a place where you don’t like to live?

    San Bernardino, CA is #2??? WOW! I passed through there for many years on trips. It has an unbelievable crime rate and MORE than 30% of the residents are on welfare. I had my car broken into there at a hotel in a “nice” area. It was the first time I have ever stayed at a hotel with a security guard in the lobby. When I asked him why he was there, he replied, “You are in San Bernardino”.

    by Mike — December 3, 2014

  3. The most affordable list includes places that a lot of people shun. Your index seems out of whack. Maryland, for instance, is a high tax state. A lot of other places seem to have dreadful winters, so retirees either hibernate for four, or more, months a year, or snowbird, which add s another layer of expense to the budget. The real cost of living inone of your sffordable places may be just too high

    by Sandie — December 3, 2014

  4. I haven’t made a move yet because I love where I live, but it is not affordable. In looking around the last few years for my ‘next’ place, I have yet to find one that meets the 3 main criteria: Affordability, great livability (walking paths, biking and swimming, other hobbies, others my age/interests, low crime), and weather. Have found several that meet the first two. Can’t afford an area where I have to leave during the hottest or coldest parts of the year. Still looking…:)

    by Rose — December 3, 2014

  5. I don’t get the affordable metro list.There isn’t a town there that I would consider moving to or even near. We moved to Jupiter fl and even though its a little expensive the positives outweigh the negatives by a landslide .Also your recommending Ft Pierce as a retirement destination ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The writer needs to go to these places and not read an story about the town on the internet and recommend t it

    by TOM — December 3, 2014

  6. The various reasons for the “disconnect” is what makes retirement decisions so difficult. And I also note that you have not addressed the cost of moving a household, even if it has been downsized. I live in a retirement area. Occaisionally retirees find that this is not what they want and the house goes up for sale. Usually they sell everything including the vehicles and then buy new at their new location rather than move it. Either way, it is a lot of very expensive work! That alone is a big contribution to why I am still here, two years into retirement. Another big one for me is the solar system on my roof! It’s easier to stay put for a while.

    by Lulu — December 3, 2014

  7. I live in the Utica/Rome NY area, and yes, it IS quite affordable (except energy costs and real estate taxes, perhaps) and where I am has a VERY low crime rate. However, three + decades of the kinds of winters we typically have up here is about enough — even my significant other ( born & raised in these parts — I’m originally from Long Island) agrees.
    So, we’re looking into lower Appalachia (East TN, NE GA, etc.) and the “Four Corners” area as possible once-we-pull up-our-stakes destinations. Other locations also being considered, but these are at the top of our list.

    Again, if not for that severe “fourth season” — which can last 6 months or more, some years — I wouldn’t budge an inch.

    by George Corrigan — December 3, 2014

  8. Many of the home prices in these “affordable” areas are depressed because the area is depressed, with often higher crime, run down housing, few services, and few amenities….you can see that from many of the locations, which were manufacturing powerhouses at one time but now are definitely rust belt: all the Ohio locations, for example, and especially the Utica-Rome area. These “lists” that are always put together are looking at comparing just a few factors, and not the whole picture. For example, how can anything in upstate NY be truly affordable when it’s the highest taxed state in the nation? ….I agree with the earlier posters here: you consider what criteria are most important to you in your own retirement, and THEN compare cost of living among those locations. On a personal note, we’re considering moving back to a nice suburb of Toledo, Ohio, where we know the pros and cons, and it’s a whole lot cheaper living there than where we are in upstate NY. BUT we’d never consider living in Toledo itself, in spite of its real estate being much more of a “deal” than Perrysburg (the suburb) — there are reasons it’s such a deal! Many of these “lists of…” only consider the actual boundaries of a city, and not necessarily an entire metro area, within which you have a wide range of disparity in affordability and desirability. I’ve quit looking at these lists, frankly, for just those reasons, knowing personally some of the cities that get listed.

    by Paula — December 3, 2014

  9. We lived in Maryland for nearly 30 years. The two Maryland listings, Salisbury and Cumberland have many similar problems with poverty and lack of jobs. So…you superimpose high taxes on areas with high poverty, I can’t see many people retiring to those places or even younger people actually moving there. Salisbury is located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where there are other areas that one might consider, such as St. Michaels. However, proximity to the water has caused waterfront property to sky rocket such that most of those kinds of homes are well into the six figure price range; well beyond the average retiree income. Cumberland, located in Western Maryland, used to be a center of commerce because of industry and the railroad. Those days are long gone and the town continues to shrink.

    by Lynn — December 3, 2014

  10. I think the “Affordability Index” used in the first study is not a useful statistic to consider in this case. If I understand the methodology correctly, it compares the median income in the area to home prices (although it’s not clear whether it’s the median home price or the average home price – they can be very different). Using this methodology, City A could have a median income or $40,000 and a median home price of $100,000; City B could have a median income of $100,000 and a median home price of $250,000; and they would both score the same and be considered equally “affordable” because a home costs 2.5 times the median income in both cities. Since most retirees are now living on incomes that are not related to a given area’s work salaries, the real cost of a house in dollars is far more important than “affordability” in this model.

    I agree with previous comments that the cost of a house (or condo or mobile home) is only part of the equation. Weather/climate and overall quality of life are more important factors, then people can choose what’s relatively less expensive among the choices that are appealing.

    One of the biggest reasons why prices are lower in some places than others is that fewer people want to live there.

    Dave Hughes
    retirefabulously.com

    by Dave Hughes — December 3, 2014

  11. There is no disconnect here. Heck, even Wells Fargo does not call their index an “affordability” index, they call it a “housing opportunity” index. Housing is but one aspect of affordability anyway. There are taxes, food prices, gasoline prices, etc. There are also livability considerations. Kokomo, IN? I’ve been there. I don’t really think that dying industrial towns make great retirement locations no matter the cost of housing unless your retirement lifestyle plan involves simply rocking on your front porch while you are waiting to die. Overall, this was a rather poor article.

    by Jeff D — December 3, 2014

  12. MI is not a place you want to move to. The cost of housing is low but your services, roads, police, etc. are very high and your property taxes are going up substantially while the value of your home is going down. Even the Ann Arbor (U Mich) area has problems and it’s probably the most viable in the state. Add to that a tax base that declines by the month and you get a very bad feeling. The others seem similar, old infrastructure with little or no maintenance declining tax base as jobs and people move away. High cost of living because the economy is based on union wages and you’ve got a ‘right to work’ state. It takes a heck of a lot more than housing to gauge affordability.

    by Shumidog — December 3, 2014

  13. Your story really isn’t news. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The most desirable places in the US to live (at any age) almost always have the highest cost of living. That’s because many people want to move there, making the housing market tight. Retirees may not be looking for the best job market but we are looking for a pleasant climate, lots to do, other seniors, good hospitals, and amenities like theater, art, music and lifelong learning. Who wants to live in the Midwest where many states are financially bankrupt, the weather is awful and the population is dwindling?
    We moved to Sarasota, FL and couldn’t be happier.

    by Ava R W — December 3, 2014

  14. The most affordable places are too different than where we spent our time raising a family and working. We live in Portland, Oregon and have what we need here…mountains, ocean, high desert, mild weather, beautiful long summers and great restaurants and entertainment. It does cost a bit more to live in this area compared to the “most affordable” but not enough to make us pack up and move. If we were to downsize and move, it would be to the Bend area in Central Oregon.

    by John — December 3, 2014

  15. I live in Vancouver, in Clark County, WA. My property taxes went up over $200 last year alone and house values have taken quite a jump in the last 18 months or so. Also, financial impact of replacement or new bridge is yet to be determined since 180 million tax payer dollars have been spent and a drawing is all there is to show for it!
    Portland, Oregon, located in Multnomah county, is very expensive. If you plan to buy inner city, prepare for sticker shock. The City of Portland Mayor and Commissioners are doing their damndest to have the resident taxpayers pay for every little thing because they can’t stay within budget. The most recent was a street maintenance fee addition that was supposed to be used for street repair. Investigation shows 45% of said amount would be used only for the repair work snd the rest would not be accounted for. Hell of a way to run a city, must be taking lessons from D.C.

    by maureen — December 3, 2014

  16. Mike–I agree that I would not choose San Bernardino as a good place to retire. Notice the list says “Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA Metro Area”. I think the Metro Area includes such popular retirement cities as Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Indio, and Temecula, as well as many of the smaller desert cities. I live in a nice city at the west end of San Bernardino county (which is the largest county in the US), and many of my aging neighbors have chosen to retire in Palm Desert and Indio. I myself have trouble living in 100+ summers so I wouldn’t consider the desert. I’m looking for a place in a temperate climate that has a lot of opportunities to practice my hobbies and allows me to enjoy cultural activities. I’m considering an active adult 55+ community and I am not looking for the most affordable community.

    by Celecel — December 3, 2014

  17. Living in a community with a strong school district is well worth the extra tax dollar that comes with our yearly bill. Parts of TX, AZ, and FL do not match up at all with an educated community in the Midwest. I have visited those Sun Belt states many times, and the ignorance and bias/prejudice is amazing. Warm weather is wonderful, but not when those who are socially and economically sound can be plain stupid even at age 70.

    by Russ — December 3, 2014

  18. The best part of artcles like this (and magazines like “where to retire”) are the real life comments by readers. I agree with all the comments. I find these article useless. Snowbirding requires 2 houses and travel expenses. Most of these towns have very little culture, very basic “locale cooking” American restaurants, you know the rest of the list.

    Lately I consider the level of medical services available, culture, arts, fitness, something to do, food markets, green grocers, good car repair and servicing, knowledgeable home repair. I think, as a young person, would I want to get out of this town as soon as possible?

    I’m the same person I have been since I can remember: I’m just older and retired.

    by Ed T. — December 3, 2014

  19. Ed T. perhaps the words that come out of the mouths of folks who are “interviewed” in a publication like “Where to Retire” are theirs, but look closely at what areas and communities they are touting, and then scan the pages of Where to Retire for which communities (and chambers of commerce) advertise in the magazine. You will see a correlation. The best way — no, the only way — to determine if a place is right for you, absent friends who have already moved there, is to visit for a few days and, preferably, rent there for a longer period. I would not necessarily trust your friends either; after all, when someone plunks down a few hundred thou for a home, they have a strong inclination to validate their choice. I think most people make the right decisions after careful consideration, and in 10 years I have not had one of dozens of customers tell me they are disappointed in the community they have chosen. Even lists like the ones Mr. Brady shared in his article are confusing at best, as has been pointed out above, and useless at worst, as you have pointed out. I am not a big fan of comparing states for anything; when you reference, say, New York, you are talking about a state that contains New York City and Oneonta, Binghamton and Saratoga Springs. How helpful is that in any regard? There are nuances to one metro vs the next and one community vs the next. The only way to understand the differences is to spend time where you think you might want to live.

    Larry
    GolfCommunities.com

    by Larry — December 3, 2014

  20. My decision to move from where I am now (which I love) is family. I don’t know if other (single) people are in this situation, but I was born and raised in the Northeast, and have lived in the South and on the West Coast for more than 35 years. I missed my nieces and nephews growing up, and now that they are marrying and having children, my parents are gone, and my brothers and sisters are getting older, I feel the need to move back to the Northeast to be closer to family. Other important considerations include being near an intellectual community (writers and artists), being away from a big city (Seattle is getting so overgrown that traffic is horrendous, so I’m seeking a small town), but being near good health care services. It may be that I need to seek a small college community in the Northeast. I have absolutely no desire to live in the Sunbelt or Florida (13 years in hot Texas was enough for any lifetime).

    by Diane — December 3, 2014

  21. I agree with Ed T. Your friends want you to move near them (usually) As we get older our pool of friends shrink and it’s sad really or they get sick or have other issues perhaps you may not like their new spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend or they have changed are cranky/drink too much or other issues. Don’t like to do anything or have undergone some weird religious experience and that is all they talk about! However if you are single you don’t want to retire to some affordable place where you don’t know anyone for example or if your kids or grandkids are close by you might want to be near them or think of a way to get a small condo to visit for extended periods of time.

    Florida and the Southeast/southwest from this publication sound like they are going to get really really crowded when the baby boom bulge hits if weather is the big consideration. True slipping and sliding on ice is not so good if you don’t want to break a hip which can be a life changing event in the later years, meaning the end due to complications, bedsores due to lhospitalization and lack of recovery.

    I agree unfortunately taking the time to try places out and be sort of a gypsy especially if you have no fixed pension is the way to go. it’s called cognitive dissonance too when you make a huge decision like plunking down big money for a place and moving there, you want to believe everything you do is the best decision. Often those that talk about how great their decisions have been are the ones that doubt their decisions the most and we don’t have a lot of time to experiment or maybe we do, but illness is a wild card so is the nest egg as the recession showed many. Hang on…it’s a wild ride that thing called life for good or bad.

    by lydia — December 3, 2014

  22. Several people make good points. Why live somewhere you wouldn’t enjoy spending time. I spent a lot of time looking at the various points on Sperling’s cost comparison, including the demographics. I wanted to know who lives in these places– what kind of education do they have; what are their values; how do they vote? Dick and I are now living north east of Tucson in a wonderful 55+ community. We had vacationed here and are now renting for a year. We figured this was the best way to really experience things. We already knew it was cheaper than we were, but what about the rest of it? It’s an exciting beginning, and so far our expectations are being met. I’m hearing a diversity of thought in conversations and reading it in the newspaper–something I was sorely missing in Hilton Head. All I can say is so far so good, but I’m glad we have had the opportunity to make sure by renting for a year.

    by Barbara — December 3, 2014

  23. Good comments by all. These articles become quite useful simply for the reason that many people are willing to share their experiences and advice.

    by phritzg — December 3, 2014

  24. Interesting thoughts from a variety of people. We are retired and are moving to Charleston, SC in the near future. Why? Specifically because our 2 older children have told us to. ” Dad, it is time to be with your children and grandchildren”. We have told the 2 older ones we want to always be close to them just not near them. They would have none of it. We take this deeply and have told them we MAY pet-sit, we MAY babysit, but our lives will be our lives. They said fine. We want to get in our old Jag and travel across this country for weeks, months. They said fine. Our 2 younger ones want to move there as well. Fortunately, they are still single.
    All this is fine and dandy. I am 10 years older than my wife and they keep talking about, ” when Dad dies”. I Am Not Dead Yet! I want to live. ” Dad we just want you here”. I want to stay put in my beloved Virginia. So does my wife.

    by Jack — December 3, 2014

  25. If half of boomers are worried about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, that means half are NOT. So they can live wherever they want.

    by booch221 — December 3, 2014

  26. The old sayings are true: “Location, Location, Location” and “You get what you pay for”. I think the conclusions presented in the article are mostly correct (What does all this mean?). It takes a lot of research to find the right place. I know, I just went through it.

    by John H — December 6, 2014

  27. Dish, John H. What did you find?

    by Caps — December 6, 2014

  28. We live near Annapolis Maryland but willl move elsewhere at retirement. Yes , this area to include D.C has a lot to offer, medical, entertainment, schools, acceessibiility to northeast and costal vacation retreats. But taxes and fees are significant, traffic is terrible, and the crime is high. Cumberland is a tired old city and Salisbury iis on the lower eastern shore – both cities are a long drive to anywhere to include airports.
    We have looked at Albequerque, Fort Worth, Phoeinix area, Delaware and Sacramento. It appears Sacramento will be our choice. Why? Good medical, entertainment, weather, accessibiity to the Bay Area, mountains and wine country and believe it or not -affordable 55+ communities. However, Fort Worth is truely another city many should consider as it is a charming city, clean and affordable,

    by John — December 6, 2014

  29. John, what communities in Sacramento did u find affordable and what is ur definition of affordable?

    We use to live in Calif and have now found it NOT TO BE AFFORDABLE AS RETIRED SENIORS.

    Curious. tks, Robert

    by Robert — December 7, 2014

  30. How about detailed findings on the good and bad of retiring in the state of New Mexico.

    Editor’s note: Hi Jackie – you might find this article helpful
    http://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/retirement-101-arizona-new-mexico-and-utah.html/

    by Jackie — December 7, 2014

  31. I would second Jackie’s request. New Mexico appears to have a nice climate. We visited and found Albuqurque to have a lot of sprawl, traffic and not to be particularly pleasant as it had one strip mall after another. We did visit some towns just north of the city that seemed to have possibilities. Santa Fe was nice but seemed to be very expensive. And. although Carlsbad has been described by other posters as a “small isolated town”, it seemed more like a sprawling medium size city with bad traffic problems and lots of strip malls, too. I would love to hear from anyone who has retired in New Mexico.

    by Lynn — December 7, 2014

  32. Lynn,

    My husband and I moved to Albuquerque in 1970 from PA and Ohio. I cried for two years because of leaving family, friends, and a forest of trees. Two years later I flew home for a visit. When I returned to NM, I never wanted to leave. I got off the plane and I was home. Twelve years later we moved to Southern California for job reasons and lived there for 33 years. It was beautiful with Great weather, but never Home. We will now be returning to Albuquerque to live and have continued to visit annually for 33 years. We can Breath there. The sky goes on forever, the people are the most tolerate and accepting, and the many families and their extensions formed in the 70’s have old fashioned family values.

    It is now a much larger city and has attracted many CA, NJ, and NY transplants who prefer the suburbs of Rio Rancho. We will live in the Mid -town area which is 6 minutes from the three major hospitals, walking distance to the University, the Fitness Center, and 4 miles from the Mall, Old Town, Downtown, and Uptown for shopping and restaurants – the best food ever. Yes, the houses are older, but they have character. Most neighborhoods have a large neighborhood park. There is a mix of age groups and only 2 just average 55+ apartment buildings and 2 very nice senior Mobil home parks. This is in no way like Florida where my parents retired.

    Just as the East Coast has a large Italian speaking Italian-American cultured population, Albuquerque has a large New Mexican/ Spanish/ Mexican-American population. The old families who moved here from Northern New Mexico are of Spanish and Indian descent. In the 70’s that was the majority of the city’s transplanted population. As the world changed, there is now more immigration from Mexico and Latin America. Yes, there are legal and illegal immigrants. Those who stay in NM, rather than just stopping on their way to California and West, learn to speak English . They are here for a family- valued education and many possess more college degrees than this once snobbish-Easterner. They are good honest people and the culture and traditions they have instilled in this city are priceless, but perhaps not to everyone’s taste. Moving is an individual adventure and requires openness. I’ve learned to Love it here!!

    by Sandy — December 7, 2014

  33. No one wants to move to the cold!

    Florida, Arizona or California. The rest of the country has too much of something I don’t care for.

    by Sweet Sticky Rainbows — December 15, 2014

  34. Sandy,

    Thanks so much. We did think that the central area near the university in Albuqurque looked interesting. It did seem a bit run down, though.

    by Lynn — December 16, 2014

  35. Lynn, regarding Albuquerque,

    If you are still interested, try the established Ridgecrest SE area or the “funky” Nob Hill area. 250-300K range. Otherwise, most other SE areas by the Liberal Arts sections of the University are rented by students and run down. The areas by the NE University, on the Law and Medical school side, have larger, custom, and well built homes ( try Washington between Constiitution and Altura Park areas, some under 300K), just need updating from the 70’s. Four Hills, in the SE but closer to more trees and mountain views, is being revitalized by many Sandia Laboratory and higher-ranked military families. Some attached homes in the 200’s. Was more of a retirement area in the past. Detached are closer to 300K.

    “Mesa del Sol ” in the SE part of town ( check out there website) has more affordable and lovely NEW homes – under 250K, some attached from 199K. It has taken it’s theme from the many TV and movies filmed in the area and is trying to attract professional who work Downtown, in the movies, the University, and Sandia National Labs. It is in the early stages, but hopes to turn in to an area the size of Rio Rancho (30K+) with shopping, theaters, etc.. However, it is close enough right now to the already established hospitals, Old Town , Zoo…

    There are new 55+ developments in the small surrounding towns of Belen, Los Lunas and Rio Rancho. My husband and I just prefer to be in Mid-town within 4 miles of everything we need and the diversity we like. We are not Arizona or Florida people and have already lived in that CA paradise for 33 years. Four light seasons work for us, but not for all.

    by Sandy — December 16, 2014

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Salary Data custom salary reports specific to your state and industry.