5 Surprisingly Affordable Retirement Communities

Retirement can be a glorious stage of life for many folks, but it also heralds a time when finances tend to become much tighter since people generally stop working.

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Finding the right place to live becomes important on a budget. Retirement communities offer the independence of living in your own home, with additional community amenities and camaraderie that you might not get if you lived in a traditional neighborhood.

These communities are often quite pricey to buy a home in, but we found five surprisingly affordable communities to consider, three of them even in Florida.

Sun City Huntley in Huntley, Illinois

Sun City Huntley is part of a larger community of homes known as the Del Webb Huntley retirement community in Illinois, according to 55Places.com. It is for people ages 55 and up.

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In this sub-section, there are 37 single-family home models ranging from 1,130 square feet to bigger than 3,000 square feet. Every home has a minimum of two bedrooms, two bathrooms and attached two-car garages.

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This community is rich in amenities: a golf course and tennis courts, a 94,000-square-foot clubhouse, fitness facilities, indoor walking track, indoor lap pool and outdoor pool. Residents also can take advantage of aerobics and dance studios, meeting rooms and more.

Those who don’t feel like cooking can catch lunch and dinner seven days a week at Jameson’s Charhouse in the Prairie Lodge. Some smaller homes or condos begin in the high $200,000s.

Solivita in Kissimmee, Florida

One of the most coveted states to retire, Florida is not always affordable, but one community that won’t break the bank in The Sunshine State is The Palms Amenity Complex, known as Solivita. These single-family homes in 21 neighborhoods range from 891 to 2,545 square feet, according to 55Places.com. They have one to four bedrooms, den spaces and one to 3 1/2 bathrooms. Every home also comes with an attached garage, some with space for three cars. 

Amenities here include a fitness center with staff, an aerobics studio, a business center, a multipurpose room and a catering kitchen. Outside, residents can enjoy a pool, heated whirlpool spas and a fireplace piazza.

Outdoor sports complexes cater to bocce ball, pickleball and tennis, a golf course, an indoor walking track and indoor heated pool. Solivita also has an open pet policy for animal lovers and a gallery/studio that caters to arts, crafts and games. For food options, there’s Marketplace Bistro and Mosaics restaurants. Homes here can be found in the high $200,000s.

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The Villages in Sumter County, Florida

The Villages is one of the biggest retirement communities in the U.S., with over 20,000 acres and more than 100 miles of streets and trails, according to 55Places.com. The Villages is more than just a community; it’s literally a “self-sustaining town” with shopping, banks, restaurants, post offices, healthcare facilities, a hotel, an opera house, a movie theater and a performing arts center — to name just a few of its amenities.

Here, residents can choose from either attached or single-family homes, from over 100 floor plans and one of seven categories: patio villas, courtyard villas, cottage-ranch homes, designer homes and premier homes. Single-family homes range from 1,157 to 4,705 square feet and offer two to four bedrooms, two to 2.5 bathrooms and attached garages. 

Known for promoting an active lifestyle, The Villages has more recreation centers than an average town, including swimming pools, tennis, bocce ball, shuffleboard, pickleball and basketball. Other amenities include a fitness center, hobby and craft studios, meeting rooms, ballrooms, billiards, catering kitchens and much more. Homes here begin in the low $300,000s.

Stone Creek in Ocala, Florida

Florida delivers another winning retirement community in Ocala, with Stone Creek. Residents can choose from three series of homes: The Garden, Classic and Estate series are all single-family homes that range from 1,133 to 2,634 square feet. These homes include one to five bedrooms, 1.5 to four bathrooms, and attached two- or three-car garages.

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Within this community, residents can take advantage of a 60,000-square-foot social and recreational complex, a billiards room, a catering kitchen and a card room. A fitness complex includes cardiovascular and weight-training equipment, an aerobics and dance studio, massage services, pools, spas and more.

Sports enthusiasts will enjoy a softball field, horseshoes, tennis, pickleball and bocce ball courts, as well as a golf course. People who like to fish have access to a catch-and-release fishing lake and pier, and others can enjoy miles of trails. Homes here begin in the mid $300,000s.

Del Webb Sweetgrass in Richmond, Texas

Del Webb Sweetgrass is a 55+ community with some gorgeous natural scenery, including a natural creek, a 50-acre lake and four miles of walking trails, according to 55Places.com.

Single-family homes range from 1,109 to 3,800 square feet, and you can choose from three “series,” known as Garden, Classic and Estate. Garden and Classic Series homes come with two or three bedrooms and 1.5 to three bathrooms. Estate Series offers two or three bedrooms with 1.5 to 3.5 bathrooms. All homes have attached garages.

Residents can take advantage of numerous amenities, beginning with a state-of-the-art recreation center and a 27,000-square-foot lodge. Activities abound, from billiards and cards to fitness, swimming, exercise classes, a wellness center, internet café and a continuing education center.

Active people can take advantage of tennis, pickleball and bocce ball, as well as a boat launch, an outdoor amphitheater and a firepit. Homes here start at the high $300,000s.

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About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a B.A. from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays about finances and other topics has appeared in a wide range of publications and clients, including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business clients. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.

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