Last weekend’s newsletter was all about trying to find communities that could be considered competitors to The Villages – the huge and very popular active adult community south of Ocala, FL. We had so many interesting emails with comments about that article we decided to publish them here – and give you the chance to respond in the Comments section below.
In the first installment of the series we provided a sample of east coast competition, a future installment will cover the west coast. Our apologies to the many fine communities we couldn’t include in our comparison.
The first comment came from Jim:
When trying to compare other communities to “The Villages why don’t you compare amenities? The Villages is unique because it has two, going on three, downtown areas complete with banks, clothing stores, restaurants, hotels/motels, a shopping center, a hospital, a town square with nightly entertainment (free) and municipal buildings AND they can all be accessed by a golf cart. Note that it has 75,000 people. If I had my druthers, I would live in a community with less people, same or similar amenities, and closer to my grandchildren. Weather is a factor for us, we escape the summer heat and humidity for the mountains of Virginia. Unlike The Villages, housing prices in the Mid-Atlantic for retirees are too high. I understand there is a Village concept in either NC or SC near the coast, but I can’t remember it’s name.
Editor’s Comment: We agree. The idea of a community with a central hub is appealing. We are not sure what Village concept you might have heard about in the Carolinas. There are a number of new urban style communities going up near Sunset and Ocean Isle, NC. We will add some of them to our NC Directory of Active Adult Communities in the next few days.
Comment 2, from John:
Absolutely love your Newsletter and you have motivated me to search for a community that I will want to retire in. So far I have visited the Villages, in Central FL, and Sola Vita, near Orlando, FL. The Villages was an amazing place, but once you leave the community it is a blighted area. I can’t get my wife to consider the Villages for that reason. As for Sola Vita, unless you play cards, there is nothing to do there in the summer months. We went there a week ago (late September) and the streets were empty. The Gym, tennis courts, Pickle Ball courts and pools were all deserted. We talked to the few people who were there and every one of them said they loved playing cards. We looked in on several meeting rooms and all we saw was people playing cards. I have nothing against playing cards, but I don’t look at that as an active retirement community.
As for your latest issue, we actually laughed when you mentioned Century Village, here in South FL. This place has gone down the tubes the past few years with hundreds of units on the market and no buyers. Our friends who did buy there can’t give their units away and the prices have dropped 60-70%. Lake Weir sounded interesting until the part about no Age Restrictions. That’s now what most of us want in a 55+ Retirement Community.
I don’t want to leave FL, but I will continue to check out your upcoming newsletters about other areas. I learn something from every Newsletter you send.
Editor’s Note: Thanks for the nice comments about us and the insights from your search. Fascinating to hear about your experiences at The Villages and Sola Vita. Most interesting. In regard to your comments about Century Village, we asked Old Nassau, one of our most valued contributors to Topretirements to comment (he lives there). He had an interesting response:
“What’s wrong with prices dropping 60 – 70%, as long as the community
remains in good financial shape? I know our immediate HOA is in fine
shape. Yesterday, I had roto-rooter ream out a jam in the pipe from
our four-unit building to the main sewer. Cost: $256. Already
reimbursed by the HOA.
In the village, new signs, constant lawn and pool maintenance,
security gates manned and constant patrols, movies (saw “Temple
Grandin”) last week, shows, buses, etc. attest to a vibrant community.
I would advise anyone interested to go to
The page is a long, long scroll down, with over 75 links to everything
in/about Century Village, WPB., including clubs for Drama, Karoake,
Sailing, Fishing, Gun, Computer, etc. A large medical group – fifteen
MD’s – set up practice inside the village two years ago.
As you “leave the community”, you will notice the just rebuilt PBC
Library Branch right outside the gate – 25 computers, movies,
discussions, and, perhaps most important, AARP free tax preparation
beginning in February. Then, there’s Dryer Park up the street for
walking and bicycling and alligator watching, a Florida Turnpike
interchange about a 1/4 mile away, PB International Airport 3 miles
away. Five miles south, Okeeheelee County Park has miles of trails –
paved and dirt, a nature center, and a world-class water-skiing
Three miles west is CityPlace, (http://www.cityplace.com/) with its
“over 100″ upscale restaurants, theaters, and shops guaranteed to awe
the eyes and empty the wallet.
Century Village, WPB is not a luxury community: no restaurants, no
golf club. The condos are functional, not elegant. But there’s plenty
For anyone interested in a specific community, I would suggest
googling the name and surfing for member blogs, the community
newspaper, and newspaper articles. Do not depend on official, builder,
or realtor websites: they don’t mention black mold, lawsuits, or
financial wrangling.” Thanks to both John and Old Nassau – illuminating stuff!
Comment 3, from Jeff:
Just received your Newsletter describing communities that might compete with the Villages in Fla – Nice Job!!!
Don’t forget to include Hot Springs Village – the largest gated community in the U.S. We have 9 championship golf courses, 10 lakes 26 miles of walking/biking trails, a world class fitness center and spa, etc
Additionally, we have no crime and one of the lowest costs of living in the U.S.
Currently we have 15,000 residents which is not as large as the Villages but certainly is substantial.
All our amenities are provided for a low $36 per month assessment!!!
Thanks for keeping our name out there and best regards!
Editor’s comment: Thanks Jeff. Seems like a contender. We are sure there are lots of other large communities that can compete with The Villages. Such as Fairfield Glade, Fairfield Harbor, some of the Sun Cities, plus a few of the very large communities in central New Jersey. Of course for many people, the idea of a giant community is not very appealing. For folks who are looking for a smaller scale, please check out our fine advertisers on this site, as well as over 1100 listings in our Active Adult Community Directory
Your turn. Please provide your Comments below.
For further reference:
Original Newsletter – Competitors to The Villages