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Affordable Places to Retire – On the Water and More

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

January 11, 2017 — Over the years our Members have told us how important it is for them to find great places to retire that are also affordable. So at this point we have quite a collection of articles with specifics on at least 50 such towns. This article has links to all of them, starting with the original: Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 1. We just updated that article with 2016 real estate prices, and are happy to report that 10 of those towns are still affordable (we swapped in a new one to replace Blue Ridge, GA, which has gotten a little pricey.

More Affordable Towns
If you are looking for an affordable retirement town check out all these articles for even more ideas:

Affordable Places to Retire on the Waterfront, Part 2
20 Great and Affordable Towns to Retire – Part 1
10 Affordable and More Best Places to Retire – Part 2
8 More Affordable Places to Retire
Most Tax-Friendly Places to Retire

Posted by Admin on January 10th, 2017


  1. Coastal Oregon can’t be beat. Condos on the ocean starting at $99000 and rentals at $600.

    by areti11 — January 11, 2017

  2. My brother just bought a house in Lincoln City Oregon and he paid $300,000. They considered themselves lucky to get a home at the beach for that price. One must define the word “affordable”. He currently lives south of Portland, Oregon and cannot stand Portland proper–but he has 15 acres and lives in a large log cabin and has run his own business for 26 years. He wants to retire to the beach in a few years–he just turned 60 last year. The beach areas can be very pricey in the most desirable areas of Oregon.

    by Jennifer — January 12, 2017

  3. Hi Areti11

    Where are these condos located in Oregon which has a long coastline, and do you have specific Names of places?

    Thank you.
    Michael Long Island, NY

    by Michael — January 12, 2017

  4. Areti11
    You’ve convinced me!!!!
    I’m looking at coastal Oregon.

    by Florence — January 12, 2017

  5. Jennifer in the last few months even in Lincolncity on the bay facing the marina there were listings for a 1 bedroom condo for $125000. I receive updates from several realestate websites on a daily basis. It depends if one is looking to downsize or not. That’s what we will be doing. I dont want a home larger than 1100 Sq ft. So if you are looking for a larger and newer built home of course the price will be higher….but my options are still open choosing being on the water or going inland such as Medford/Ashland. Roseburg, Medford and even Eugene a can be better for retires on a strict budget. You can purchase nice Mfg homes starting at $25000 with lot rents of $400. It all depends what your needs are. MYSELF, I prefer spending less on the home or renting so I can travel…..

    by areti11 — January 13, 2017

  6. Keep in mind that many of the condos are used as seasonal rentals and that they are not lived in as year round residences. There is a casino in town and so it attracts lots of travelers–this time of year, Lincoln City is nearly vacant of people. You can spend less in most places–just be discriminating or you could end up with less than you planned for. My brother’s home is about 1800 square feet on two levels and cost $300,000–as I stated earlier. It is in a better area of the coast with a full view of the ocean and slight elevation–not on the beach.

    by Jennifer — January 13, 2017

  7. Also, you should note that many of the Oregon coastal towns are quite small.

    by mike — January 13, 2017

  8. Well we are looking for a small town atmosphere especially after living in Sandiego. We won’t be looking for work so it makes the move and choices much easier. After living in a condo with all the assessments every few years, we definitely won’t be doing that again unless we rent one. It can be difficult choosing the best place to live but am excited with the prospect! !

    by areti11 — January 14, 2017

  9. Any idea for the East Coast? NC SC or DE??

    by Staci — January 15, 2017

  10. Staci, If we are talking affordability being the major factor of the 3 states you mentioned, I would say SC. YET anywhere 50 miles inland is usually cheaper than the coast. Little River, SC or Sunset Beach NC are nice areas. Start there and research your way up and down the coast.

    by DeyErmand — January 16, 2017

  11. We’re thinking of the Lewes,DE area. Any input out there?

    by Tom Egly — January 16, 2017

  12. Many of the communities mentioned have nothing under 300K. What are single people supposed to do?????

    (this comment came in from Linda)

    by Admin — January 16, 2017

  13. Linda, I agree. It seems that some people aren’t interested in down sizing so of course the homes will have a higher price. Myself, am only looking for homes less than $125,000. I’d rather have some savings or investment available. Also, alot less time cleaning the house! !!

    by areti11 — January 16, 2017

  14. Hi Tom
    You can find out information about Lewes on the state retirement guide for Delaware. There are many 55+ communities in that area as well. If you check the Forum for Delaware you will see if anyone has posted comments about Lewes and you can post questions there as well. If you enter Lewes and/or Delaware into the search engine articles containing information will appear.
    Hope this helps!!

    by Moderator Flo — January 16, 2017

  15. Linda, you’re right. I would like to downsize and save that extra $$ but it seems hard at time to do, especially with 55+ communities. I would like a small single home, but many affordable ones are on a “land lease” where you do not own the lot but pay a monthly rent. Around here, in the northeast, they have questionable reputations as the lease rentals tend to rise. I’m thinking a townhouse may be a good compromise.

    by Florence — January 16, 2017

  16. Florence, just watch out on the HOA and assessments on the townhouse_type. If they are on the low side it m8ght be ok.

    by areti11 — January 17, 2017

  17. Arte11, I live in the Northeast. Where in the USA are there condos selling at 125k?

    by Marynb — January 17, 2017

  18. To Florence & areti11 – If the COA/HOA fees are too low that can be a red flag too! You want to make sure you read the COA agreement BEFORE you make an offer. The best communities will be setting aside part of that fee to pay for capital improvements or replacements like siding, roof, plumbing, etc. Otherwise, you could be hit with a large assessment down the road, followed by yet another one as things need to be done.

    Make sure you understand the rules and regs BEFORE you sign. Several families in our current neighborhood have complained they never saw the rules before they moved in and are now unhappy about the few we have. Insist on a copy – your realtor can make that happen.

    by HEF — January 17, 2017

  19. MaryNB….you need to do alot of research. But for the more warmer states……southern Oregon, or clearwater, fla. Clearwater is still selling 1 BR condo’s not facing the water, but 5 miles to the beach for $50,000. The coast of oregon, such as Lincolncity, Reedsport can be had you just need to sign up to all the realty websites and you can get daily updates.

    by areti11 — January 17, 2017

  20. HeF, you’re right on that. The condo my parents purchased in 1996 in sandiego for $58000 now has a value of $230,000, but the HOA is $370 and there is additional assessment of $50 monthly for 5 yrs, and they added another $3500 to be paid this yr as well. This is California though…

    by areti11 — January 17, 2017

  21. We live in a condominium that has a commanding water view in Winter Haven, Florida, a city with 50 lakes within the city limits. There have been some references to condo fees on this particular blog. A conservative view is that you should not consider a place without adequate reserves which means higher monthly fees that include reserves. Our condo is 45 years old, has never had reserves and we have made out quite well over those years. Some people maintain their own personal reserves as a separate bank account, some set aside a few thousand when they purchased their units and replace those funds at their own pace when special assessments appear. We also have a number of condo owners that have taken out a HELOC (Home Ecuity Line of Credit) at the bank on their condos so they can pay assessments. The HELOC seems to work well as there is no interest until you use that money and then can have many years if necessary to pay it back. Interest rates for such loans when the money is utilized is quite low. If you have a condo you need to realize that maintenance on the common property is necessary just as in a privater home on a separate lot. Roofs need replacing, swimming pools require work, driveways and gates all require maintenance which can be costly no matter if it is a private home or condo. You can’t live anywhere without those costs unless you rent and that has its high costs as well. Residents where we live do not like reserves maintained by the association because that can lead to problems and even misuse of funds or poor investing. We personally have the HELOC and that works well for us.

    by David Lane — January 18, 2017

  22. The trouble with reserves in HOAs is that I can earn much more on my money than the association can. They are very limited as to what investment vehicles they can use. My association in Minnesota has a huge reserve which I paid into for 25 years. When it came time to replace the decks and landscaping, the new board decided those items would have to be paid for by the individual homeowners. So I never saw one cent back from all the money I put into reserves all those years. I have sold that place and will be free of the new, irresponsible board on January 20. Just took the loss and moved on. My association in Florida is not about piling up a huge reserve. We have some, but not a massive amount earning no interest.

    by Linda — January 18, 2017

  23. I have not seen any information on living in the US Virgin Islands. Here are some frequently asked questions for those who might be interested:

    by Louise — February 15, 2017

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