6 of the Best Retirement Communities in Florida

Disclaimer: Links and mentions of Florida retirement communities in this post do not constitute an endorsement. Price ranges, services, and amenities can change — please visit a community’s website for the most up-to-date information. HomeLight always recommends doing your own research to determine which community destination is best for your situation.

You’ve worked hard all your life, looking forward to the day when you could trade in your work computer for a set of golf clubs. But now you’re facing one of the most important decisions you’ll ever have to make — where to retire.

Florida was the leading retirement destination last year, with nearly 12% of the nation’s retirees relocating there, reports a study by online moving resource Hire A Helper. Among the states with the highest percentage of persons 65 years and older, Florida is one of the most desirable locations for American seniors who are retiring or downsizing as they prepare for retirement.

“Florida is such a popular choice for many seniors,” says Carrie Courtney, a top-producing HomeLight Elite agent and retirement specialist in Central Florida who has 19 years of experience. “And the reason why they’re coming down is basically because of the active lifestyle that these communities do offer,” she explains.

With its tropical climate, stunning beaches, and tax breaks for seniors, you’ll want to pack your bags to start the next chapter of your life in one of Florida’s best retirement communities.

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Head south to a tropical paradise

According to the most recent U.S. Census data, 147,168 seniors migrated to the Sunshine State in 2021. This influx of mature residents plays a role in the demand for retirement communities for older Americans seeking a lifestyle that fits their golden-years goals and financial resources.

Retirees make up 21.1% of Florida’s total population or about 4.7 million of the state’s 22.24 million residents.

In this post, Courtney shares expert insights attained while helping seniors find their retirement dream home in Florida. We’ve also researched some of the best retirement communities in terms of lifestyle, location, affordability, and safety.

To compile our list of premier communities for retirees we looked at:

  • Location of each community
  • Access to quality healthcare
  • Nearby amenities, services, and recreation
  • Established and enforced age restrictions such as 55+
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Affordability
  • Top real estate agent recommendations
  • Safety and security

What is a retirement community?

A retirement community is a residential housing neighborhood, subdivision, or complex designed for independent older adults seeking an active lifestyle with others of similar age and interests. Many planned retirement communities give mature residents a sense of belonging and a low-maintenance way of life, allowing more time for recreation and fitness. Amenities typically include pool, clubhouse, exercise center, as well as social, leisure, educational, and cultural activities.

Residents are generally able to care for themselves and do not require help with daily living or medical services available in assisted living and skilled nursing establishments. Retirement communities may be conveniently located near healthcare providers, while continuing-care retirement facilities offer supportive and medical options when independent living is no longer feasible.

Contrary to popular belief, a retirement community is not exclusively for retired individuals. The stigma that may be associated with the term “retirement community” does not do justice to the engaging lifestyle and numerous benefits of an age-restricted or independent living community. These communities, often with designations such as “55+,” are popular with Americans making a move to retire, downsizing as they prepare for retirement, or just looking to simplify their lives.

Age-restricted vs. independent living communities

While age-restricted and independent living communities allow seniors to lead an active life with a variety of social, recreational, and fitness opportunities, there are significant differences.

Age-restricted communities are typically designated 55+ and require that at least one occupant is age 55 or older. While residents are often in their 60s-70s, rules set minimum ages for others who live in the household, usually 40 for spouses and 18 for children.

Although some independent living communities may not have specific age requirements, they generally attract people in their late 70s-80s. They offer additional services not commonly available in 55+ communities, such as restaurant-style dining, housekeeping, and transportation.

If you prefer living in a more diverse neighborhood, age-targeted and leisure communities are geared toward seniors but do not have age restrictions.

Retirement communities offer a range of housing options, including single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses, and rental apartments. Exterior maintenance and repairs are generally included in the monthly homeowner’s association (HOA) or condominium fee, so there’s often no need to spend your golden years mowing the lawn or weeding the garden. While smaller properties usually meet the needs of empty nesters, luxury communities may offer homes exceeding 5,000 square feet.

No matter which type of community you choose, you’re likely to find engaging activities and desirable amenities for an active and fulfilling retirement.

What are the most popular retirement cities in Florida?

According to U.S. News and World Report, some of the most popular or best cities in Florida for retired or older Americans include:

Daytona Beach
Port St. Lucie
Fort Myers

Why seniors choose Florida

There are many reasons why Florida is an appealing destination for Americans making a move to retire or to downsize in anticipation of retirement. Some of the most notable include:

  • No personal income tax to stretch your Social Security benefits, pensions, and retirement savings.
  • No inheritance, gift, or estate taxes to benefit loved ones.
  • Homestead exemption of up to $50,000 for property owners and additional property tax benefits for senior citizens.
  • Comfortable year-round climate with abundant sunshine and mild winters.
  • Limitless opportunities for both relaxation and an active lifestyle, including beaches, golf courses, and parks.
  • Theme parks and family-friendly attractions.
  • Large senior population and a myriad of retirement communities.
  • International airports and cruise terminals for adventure or family visits.
  • Cultural attractions and entertainment, including museums, concerts, and restaurants.
  • Availability of quality healthcare and geriatric services.

Our picks for some of the best retirement communities in Florida

There are a number of outstanding retirement communities in Florida. Based on the parameters we listed above, here are some we feel are worth considering:

The Villages of Citrus Hills

Website: citrushills.com
Phone number: 800-511-0814
Location: Citrus Hills

Price range: $400s to over $1M

About: With more than 20 styles of homes ranging in size from 1,666 square feet to over 4,000 square feet, the Village of Citrus Hills has many options to suit your lifestyle and budget. Maintenance-free single-family homes are offered, as well as houses where owners care for the exterior and grounds. This community is open to all ages, which may appeal to people taking early retirement or whose adult children have moved back home. Residents enjoy an active lifestyle with several clubhouses, fitness centers, tennis and pickleball courts, championship golf courses, full-service spa, on-site restaurants, and swimming pools.

Ratings and reviews: Rated 4.1 out of 5 on Google reviews, residents praise the community for its friendly neighbors, beautiful homes, numerous activities, ample parking, and laid-back rural setting. With a rating of 4.0 out of 5 on 55places.com, seniors enjoy the “world-class facilities,” including restaurants, golf courses, and entertainment. “This is an amazing community with so many things to do it’s often hard to decide what to do next,” states one reviewer.

Noteworthy nearby amenities or attractions: With Tampa and Orlando just over an hour by car, residents have access to two international airports, sports arenas, and theme parks. The nearby Shoppes of Citrus Hills has a Publix supermarket, pharmacy, bank, dry cleaner, restaurants, hair salon, and other shops. The community is a half-hour from Ocala’s Paddock Mall, with its major retail chains and unique boutiques in the historic downtown area. Emergency room services are right across the street, while quality healthcare is available a short drive away at HCA Florida Citrus Hospital and Bravera Health Seven Rivers.

Carillon Lakes

Website: carillonlakes.com
Phone number: 863-701-0051
Location: Lakeland

Price range: Low $300s to low $400s

About: Carillon Lakes is a gated community offering single-family residences and carriage home condominiums amid a picturesque backdrop of nature preserves, freshwater lakes, and scenic trails. With properties ranging in size from 1,400 to nearly 3,000 square feet of living space, there’s a variety of floor plans with two to four bedrooms, attached garages, and screened lanais. A maintenance-free lifestyle allows time to enjoy amenities such as tennis, pickleball, and basketball courts, two clubhouses, fitness center, pool, hot tub, and social events. This community has no age restrictions.

Ratings and reviews: With a 4.8 out of 5 rating on both Google reviews and 55places.com, residents remark that Carillon Lakes is a “friendly place to live” with well-kept grounds, great security, and resort-style living. Reviewers state that the “amenities are a dream come true” with pools, fitness center, and organized activities.

Noteworthy nearby amenities or attractions: With Lakeside Village close by, residents have easy access to shopping, movies, and eateries. Healthcare facilities convenient to Carillon Lakes include Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center and Watson Clinic. For avid sports fans, Tampa is 30 miles to the west with pro teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa International Airport allows for worldwide travel, while Busch Gardens has rides and attractions for the young at heart.

Lakeside Landings

Website: lakesidelandings.net
Phone number: 352-330-4305
Location: Oxford

Price range: $200s to $500s

About: Lakeside Landings enables homeowners of all ages to lead a maintenance-free lifestyle while having time for social events and physical activity. This gated community offers a clubhouse with a ballroom, fitness center, library, and rooms for cards, crafts, and billiards. Other features include swimming pools, hot tubs, pickleball and tennis courts, and a beach with a boat dock on Lake Miona. In addition to condominiums and attached villas with two or three bedrooms, dens, and garages, new single-family homes are available in The Enclave at Lakeside Landings. Ranging from 1,300 to over 3,000 square feet with two to four bedrooms, there are many options for seniors looking to either downsize or purchase a spacious home.

Ratings and reviews: Receiving 4 out of 5 stars on Google reviews, residents describe Lakeside Landings as “quiet, peaceful, and very well kept” and a “great place to bike, walk, and relax at the clubhouse.” They appreciate the convenience of nearby stores, banks, and hospital facilities. Reviewers on Facebook give the community a 4.7 rating and note that it is a “wonderful retreat for daily life” with excellent quality homes and friendly neighbors.

Noteworthy nearby amenities or attractions: Situated in Central Florida, nature lovers are only a short drive from the beach or state parks such as Lake Griffin State Park and Withlacoochee State Forest. Popular attractions that are slightly more than an hour away include Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, and SeaWorld. Shopping, dining, and entertainment are conveniently located outside the community’s gates in Oxford.


Website: solivitasales.com
Phone number: 407-414-8514
Location: Kissimmee

Price range: Low $200s to mid $700s

About: Solivita is a gated 55+ community offering both resales and new construction. Single-family homes range from just over 1,000 square feet to more than 3,000 square feet. Numerous floor plans feature two to four bedrooms and options for media and flex rooms. Aquatic and exercise enthusiasts will appreciate Solivita’s 14 heated swimming pools, two state-of-the-art fitness centers, and two championship golf courses. Residents engage in friendly competition on the community’s baseball field and bocce, pickleball, and tennis courts. The dog park keeps pets fit as well. Solivita also has three on-site restaurants, pharmacy, and downtown area with art and ceramic studios, billiards and meeting rooms, and concierge services.

Ratings and reviews: Rated 4.7 out of 5 on 55places.com, residents commend Solivita for its top-notch amenities, relaxing resort-style living, friendly neighbors, energy-efficient homes, and wide variety of floor plans and models. According to Google reviewers who rate the community 4.5 out of 5, Solivita has beautiful landscaping, lots of activities, and responsive management and staff.

Noteworthy nearby amenities or attractions: While Solivita has so many recreational and social activities that you might not want to venture beyond its gates, Orlando International Airport is about a 30-minute drive for those seeking the thrill of travel. The community is an hour away from popular attractions that are fun for all ages, such as Disney World and Universal Studios Florida. The surrounding city of Kissimmee offers plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

The Villages

Website: thevillages.com
Phone number: 352-753-6655
Location: The Villages

Price range: Mid $100s for manufactured homes to $1M+ for custom designer homes

About: As Florida’s largest 55+ community, The Villages offers new and pre-owned homes for just about any lifestyle and budget from cozy villas starting at 1,225 square feet to luxurious designer homes with over 3,000 square feet. If you want the flexibility of renting or would like to give this gated community a try before making a financial commitment, you can rent a one to three-bedroom apartment in The Lofts. The possibilities for recreation and socialization are almost endless, with miles of nature trails, 50 golf courses, swimming pools, pickleball, bocce ball, shuffleboard, tennis, fitness centers, live entertainment, bowling alleys, horseshoe pits, and clubs for just about any interest. The Villages also accommodates seniors as their needs change with options for assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing care.

Ratings and reviews: With a rating of 4.1 out of 5 on 55places.com, residents depict The Villages as a “golfer’s paradise” where you “feel like you’re on vacation every day.” They applaud the gorgeous landscaping, beautiful views, and golf cart accessibility to entertainment, shopping, and medical facilities. Rated 3 stars on Yelp, reviewers on both sites mention that the community’s immense size results in crowded activities and long waiting lists.

Noteworthy nearby amenities or attractions: This self-sustaining, golf cart-friendly community offers the convenience of major chains like Publix and Target, restaurants such as Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse, and numerous retail shops. On-site pharmacies and healthcare facilities are available, including the UF Health The Villages Hospital. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy hiking, fishing, and boating at Ocala National Forest, less than an hour away. Orlando is just about an hour’s drive, where you can visit some of the nation’s best theme parks or take a flight from Orlando International Airport to destinations on your bucket list.

Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach

Website: latitudemargaritaville/daytonabeach.com
Phone number: 866-464-7137
Location: Daytona Beach (This brand also has communities in Panama City Beach, Florida and Hardeeville, South Carolina.)

Price range: High $200s to low $900s

About: Inspired by the music and lifestyle of iconic singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett, Latitude Margaritaville offers attached and single-family homes from 1,205 square feet of living space to more than 2,500 square feet. This gated 55+ community has diverse floor plans with two or three bedrooms and two or three-car garages, as well as features such as hobby room, den, and covered lanai. Amenities include a resort-style pool, poolside bar, fitness center, courts for tennis, pickleball, and bocce ball, restaurant, retail establishments, dog park, and live entertainment.

Ratings and reviews: Rated 3.5 on 55places.com, residents describe the community as “very active, fun-loving, and social with more to do than time to do it.” They refer to Latitude Margaritaville as a “total paradise” with “friendly neighbors” and “awesome amenities.” Mixed reviews, which are mainly from seniors who toured the complex, note the close proximity of homes as well as the lack of shade and storage for boats or RVs. Reviewers on Google give the community a 4.2 rating, depicting it as a “cruise ship on the ground” where residents feel like they are on vacation every day and enjoy the “relaxed vibe” and “great beach club.” Some reviews mention a long waiting list for a new home, so resales may be an option for a faster move.

Noteworthy nearby amenities or attractions: For seniors seeking sun, surf, and sand, Latitude Margaritaville has free shuttle service to its own private beach club and miles of Atlantic coastal beaches within a short drive. Nearby Daytona International Speedway offers the thrill of auto racing, while Tanger Outlets provides a relaxing shopping experience. A golfer’s paradise with multiple courses, there’s also hiking, biking, and boating at Tomoka State Park. Retirees can start their journey around the world at Daytona Beach International Airport, just a few miles away. Halifax Health Medical Center provides convenient access to quality healthcare.

The most important thing is for that real estate agent that they’re working with to be familiar with these particular communities, what they can offer, what the costs are.

How can I find a retirement community near me?

There are many other retirement communities in Florida. One way to see your options is to search the internet with phrases such as “retirement communities near me” or “55 and older communities near me.” Check ratings, reviews, and comments posted on the Better Business Bureau site, Google Reviews, and industry websites.

Another way to find a quality retirement community in Florida is to consult a top real estate agent in the area. An experienced agent who knows the market can provide valuable insights into community characteristics such as crime rates, affordability, home construction quality, and the reputation of the governing association.

“The most important thing is for that real estate agent that they’re working with to be familiar with these particular communities, what they can offer, what the costs are,” says Courtney. She points out that retirees may not be aware of expenses that some communities charge, such as CDD fees.

A Community Development District or CDD is a governmental unit permitted by Florida Statutes that develops, operates, and maintains infrastructure and services within the community, including roads and landscaping. Residents typically pay CDD fees along with HOA dues for enforcement of rules that keep homes and neighborhoods well maintained. Courtney says monthly costs amount to $600 or even more, but notes that the lack of personal income tax and lower cost of living in Florida help offset these fees.

“It’s really important for the agent to get to know their client and what’s going to best suit them,” Courtney stresses. “Are they social butterflies, or do they want more of a quiet place where they can fish?” By getting to know you and asking the right questions, a knowledgeable agent can navigate you to properties that best fit your lifestyle.

14 questions to ask before you buy a home in a retirement community

Ask these 14 important questions before you commit to purchasing a home in a Florida retirement community:

1. Will I own the home, or is this a lease community?

The answer to this question may seem obvious, but when it comes to retirement communities in Florida, there are multiple options ranging from small rental apartments to spacious single-family homes and much more in between. You may want to cash out the equity in your home to purchase your retirement property, or you may prefer the flexibility of renting if you plan on being a snowbird or traveling around the world. More than half of top agents surveyed by HomeLight predict that retirees will put their homes up for sale and downsize when they make their next move. Even though you’re an empty nester, you may not be ready to part with all of your prized possessions, so evaluate square footage and floor plans to make sure they meet your needs.

Some communities have a land-lease structure in which you purchase the house, but lease the home site. This arrangement may eliminate or lower property taxes, but you’ll incur monthly bills for the property lease, water, sewer, trash removal, and amenities.

2. What is included in your monthly payment?

It’s important to find out all the costs of living in the community, in addition to the monthly rent or mortgage payment, to evaluate if they fit into your budget. While you might be enamored with the state-of-the-art clubhouse, fitness center, and social events, ask yourself if you will take advantage of all the amenities the community offers. Many retirees intend to utilize these facilities, but they often do not give serious thought to whether pricey fees are worth the money.

Consider the following costs as well as the sales price or rent:

  • Monthly HOA, CDD, or other community fees and what services they include
  • Closing and other transactional costs
  • Entrance or buy-in fees
  • Cost of living in the area
  • Property taxes including any reductions or exemptions for seniors
  • Landscaping and pool maintenance
  • Shuttle service and admission to restaurants, classes, clubs, spas, or other amenities located on the premises

3. What are the community rules?

Most active adult communities in Florida have a set of rules that must be followed. As a homeowner, you’ve had the freedom to do things your own way, so review the regulations and decide if you will be comfortable abiding by them. These might include:

  • Restrictions for visiting children, grandchildren, and other guests, such as how many visitors allowed, length of time, and use of facilities
  • Pet policies including number permitted, types, breeds, and sizes
  • Parking regulations such as number of cars, location, space for RVs or boats
  • Dress codes in public areas
  • Renting limitations or restrictions
  • Regulations for home renovations, improvements, and exterior paint color
  • Lawn/landscaping maintenance enforcement
  • Noise parameters including daytime and nighttime decibel allowances

4. What are your new neighbors like?

Having good neighbors with similar interests and views has a significant impact on your quality of life, especially when you retire. If possible, attend a few community events and get to know some of the residents so you’ll discover what it’s like to live there. Many retirement communities provide opportunities for socialization like book clubs, art classes, and fitness programs, so you’ll want to see if your interests align with the activities that are offered. Knowing what life is like in the neighborhood will help you make the all-important decision of where to spend your retirement.

5. What plans are there for the adjacent property?

This is a critical question for newly constructed retirement communities because the breathtaking ocean view that attracted you to the property could be obscured by a strip mall or high-rise building if neighboring areas are developed.

You should also look into plans for vacant land near established communities to avoid traffic and congestion that might come with future development. Are adjacent properties zoned for residential housing, or will a regional airport be constructed? The answer could greatly impact your home’s value and appeal.

6. What type of assessments have been made?

Assessments can be expected for any community, but for seniors living on a fixed income, it’s vital to know what improvements or repairs have recently been completed and what assessments are anticipated for the near future. You want to avoid surprises like additional fees for a new pool or clubhouse when you’re trying to balance your budget each month. Since property taxes differ depending on the community’s location, take note of the cost and whether they have a history of soaring upward.

7. Is the community financially sound?

You will want to know if the developer and association are on solid financial ground before committing to purchasing or leasing a home. Since these parties are typically responsible for maintenance and amenities, it’s as important to ensure their solvency as it is to make sure the community is suited to the lifestyle you want to lead during your retirement. Ask to look at annual budgets or financial statements to determine the ability to handle an unexpected emergency such as fire or flood.

8. Is the community able to keep up with future growth?

Your due diligence should include finding out if there is sufficient infrastructure in place, careful planning, and ample space to allow for future expansion while maintaining the community’s relaxing ambience. What are the long-range plans to repair and replace critical infrastructure such as water lines or neighborhood streets? Find out whether the community or local municipality is responsible for making decisions about these items and paying for their costs.

9. Is there a reserve fund for maintenance?

Also known as a sinking fund, this is a financial safety net for major items in the community that deteriorate over time, such as replacing the clubhouse’s air conditioning system or unexpected expenses like new fitness center equipment if flooding occurs after a storm. Without an adequate fund to cover these costs, you could face huge unanticipated assessments when critical systems break down or unforeseen events occur.

10. What other projects belong to this developer?

Research the builder to find out how long the company has been in business and if they developed similar communities in other locations. If they’ve demonstrated the ability to drive up property values for other communities, they’ll likely do the same for your prospective  neighborhood. But you may want to keep searching for your future retirement home if you discover serious problems with their previous projects. Ask for references and do your homework to find out about the developer’s reputation. How were issues resolved and complaints handled?

11. Is the governing association easy to work with?

Look for a community board with a proven track record of working together and finding solutions. Find out if board members are competent, effective, and civil. A dysfunctional board led by power-hungry or inept individuals may prove to be the cause of great angst and can harm the unity of the entire housing complex.

Ask a number of residents about their experiences with board members and how issues were resolved. Read past minutes and attend an association meeting to form your own impressions. Check with your real estate agent about the opinions of other clients who moved into the community. Research the neighborhood association or HOA with online resources such as the Community Associations Network.

12. What security measures does the community have?

Safety is of critical concern to seniors, so evaluate the security systems in place, such as video surveillance and procedures for visitors. Find out if communities are gated or guarded and how emergency situations are handled.

13. What is the resale value of properties in the community?

Although you may plan on spending your sunset years enjoying all the amenities of an active retirement community, you can’t control what life has in store. You may need to move closer to family or into an assisted living facility if your health declines. Ask your real estate agent about the projected resale value and check HOA rules for restrictions on for-sale signs. Some communities have their own sales offices and prohibit hiring an outside agent. Keep in mind that new construction is the main competition for retirement homes, so it might be harder to sell if developments continually materialize all over town. Does the community have a right of first refusal, or can you rent out the property if necessary?

14. What lifestyles are accommodated?

With such a wide range of retirement options to choose from, you will want to decide if an active community of younger seniors will meet your needs or if you would like to live in a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) with assisted living or memory care available if your needs change. Do you prefer the privacy of a single-family residence or the camaraderie of others by living in a unit within a larger building? What features are critical such as handicap or golf cart accessibility?

Check out the area around the community

Courtney says retirement communities are popping up everywhere throughout Florida. With so many choices, how do you know which one is right for you? While vetting the retirement community with the 14 questions above will help you uncover crucial insights into what life might be like within the boundaries of those neighborhoods, you will want to look beyond the front gates to find out if the location meets your parameters.

“Do you want to live in a crowded touristy area, or is it important that you’re near a healthcare facility?” are questions Courtney says you should ask yourself. What is the distance to the beach, theme parks, or other destinations where you will spend your time?

To truly identify the best retirement community for you, research the history, reputation, culture, and amenities available in the surrounding host city or town. Find out what the area has to offer that can improve or enhance your retirement years.

  • How far away is the nearest hospital, urgent care center, and other medical facilities?
  • How safe is the city or town, and what is the local crime rate?
  • How easy is it to access major highways and commuting routes?
  • Is the community located directly on a busy, noisy highway?
  • What conveniences are nearby, such as restaurants, shops, banks, or grocery stores?
  • Where is the closest dog park or groomer?
  • What forms of public transit are available such as a bus route, commuter rail, or transportation specifically for seniors?
  • Are churches or places of worship in close proximity that fit your beliefs?
  • Are there undesirable businesses or manufacturing facilities nearby?
  • Is the neighborhood near enough to an airport for convenient travel or too close with excessive noise and traffic?
  • Are there connecting bike paths or walking/hiking trails?
  • What beaches, parks, recreation, entertainment, and sports facilities are located within a reasonable distance?

Q&A: More tips about retirement communities in Florida

What is the largest retirement community in Florida? 

The Villages is Florida’s largest retirement community sprawling across 57 square miles with more than 138,000 residents living in over 71,000 homes. Located in Central Florida, this age-restricted community is self-sufficient with shops, restaurants, golf courses, healthcare facilities, and recreational amenities to sustain an active adult lifestyle.

How much does it cost to live in a retirement community in Florida?

With an average monthly cost of $2,545 to reside in an independent living community, Florida exceeds the national average of $1,729, according to SeniorHomes.com. But with hundreds of retirement communities to choose from and costs ranging from $1,174 to $4,700 per month, there are options at every price point. From lower-cost rental apartments and manufactured homes to million-dollar luxury custom-built houses, Florida offers retirement living that suits almost any budget.

Where do most seniors live in Florida?

Residents over the age of 65 comprise a large share of the population in numerous Florida cities, including The Villages (81.6%), Punta Gorda (54.1%), Homosassa Springs (30.1%), and Sebring (26.6%). The largest percentage of migrating retirees in the country, 9.2%, moved to the Palm Bay metropolitan area in 2022.

What is the 80/20 rule in some retirement communities?

Although some retirement communities in Florida designated as 55+ have age requirements, they must adhere to the 80/20 rule to be compliant with the Housing for Older Persons Act (HOPA) and federal Fair Housing laws. This regulation mandates that at least 80% of units be occupied by a minimum of one person who is at least 55 years of age and that the community clearly shows its intent to provide housing for older adults. Since residents of any age may live in the remaining 20%, younger individuals may remain in the home if the older occupant passes away or requires assisted living or skilled nursing care.

When should I visit a prospective retirement community?

To get the clearest picture of whether a retirement community is the right choice for you, it’s best to visit at different times of the year. You may love the mild Florida temperature during your winter vacation, but that does not mean you will like the hot, humid summers or hurricane season’s stormy weather. Remember, you are making long-term retirement plans, so multiple visits are worth the time and investment. It’s also valuable to consider several different retirement locations and compare the benefits and drawbacks.

Are there real estate agents that specialize in helping seniors?

Yes. Agents receive the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) certification from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) after completing a training course that prepares them to meet the needs of older homeowners. An SRES agent is well-versed in the areas of retirement, downsizing, estate planning, and other topics of particular concern to seniors. To learn more, see our post: Should You Hire an Agent Who Is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist? 

Living your golden years in the Sunshine State

With its mild winters, countless activities, breathtaking beaches, and stunning ocean views, Florida attracts older Americans looking for an active retirement lifestyle. One of the nation’s top orange producers, the multitude of top-rated retirement communities in Florida is as impressive as the lush orange groves traversing the state. It’s no wonder that seniors choose Florida when looking to downsize or give up their 9 to 5 jobs in exchange for leisure pursuits.

“What’s great about these communities is that everything’s included,” says Courtney. Retirees don’t have the hassle of lawn care or home maintenance. “All they have to worry about is just living the life,” she remarks.

As you begin your quest for the best retirement communities in Florida, take the time to thoroughly research and visit potential cities and neighborhoods. Do some soul-searching to determine if you want to live in close proximity to other seniors or if you prefer a more spacious, private location.

“Look at what’s important to you,” Courtney advises. “Do you want to be left alone, or do you want to be able to go out and meet friends and like-minded people?” She worked with a retired couple who moved to Latitude Margaritaville in Daytona Beach because they were young at heart and wanted to live in a neighborhood with active adults who shared their interests.

With the abundance of sunshine and warm weather earning Florida its nickname as the Sunshine State, older Americans have the opportunity to find a retirement community that will make their golden years truly shine.

HomeLight can connect you with an SRES-certified agent or a top-performing real estate agent who can help you downsize or guide you in your search for a great active adult community in Florida where you can live the retirement life you’ve been dreaming about.

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