Many people getting ready to retire are wondering what affordable retirement communities options are available. These communities for most people are usually thought of as up to $200,000.
This is not a discussion of low income retirement communities or affordable housing. You can find those listings on our Senior Low Income Housing page.
Note: Since the economy worsened, builders added smaller square footage plans to their inventories, which reduces starting prices at a community. These are often the most popular plan in their inventory and sell out first.
We would like to point out that many large first-class communities by major builders have many price range options within the same community.
If you can go with a smaller square footage single-family home, villa, co-op or condominium in a large retirement community, while the other homes are more expensive, you can greatly decrease your costs and also have access to the same amenities as larger and more expensive homes within the community.
Further Options within the community to decrease your costs:
There are areas of the country that are more affordable areas than others. Consider states like Texas, Florida, Arizona, the Carolina's, Tennessee and many states in the Midwest. Check with Realtor.org to see the affordability index of an area.
Check the area you are interested in on this website for more site-built homes in communities with affordable pricing.
Here is an example of communities by over 55 communities developer Del Webb, updated for 2017, in low-cost areas and priced under the $200,000 mark:
Del Webb's Sun City Communities are an economical choice with luxury amenities:
1. Texas: Del Webb Sweetgrass - Houston area From $180's - 2-beddroom, 2-bath homes in a large community with clubhouse, pools, spa, lakes, tennis and more.
2. Georgia: Sun City Peachtree - One of the better choices since prices start in the $160's for a small square footage plan and the community has an excellent array of amenities and social activities. In Griffin about 40 miles south of Atlanta.
3. Florida: Del Webb Stone Creek - Located in Central Florida in Ocala, a city known for being horse country. Prices start in $160's for a 2-bedroom, 2 bath ranch home in this gated 55+ community. Outstanding amenities include golf, tennis, pools, clubhouse, social activities, recreation and more.
4. Indiana: Vandalia - New community in Plainfield - small square footage plans start in $140's.
Note: Many people are looking for affordable retirement communities with a smaller home size so they can downsize. The demand is high for these homes and supply has decreased in recent years. In today's improved economy, new 55+ homes at prices under $200's in new communities are not as plentiful as a few years ago.
(Please keep in mind that larger sq. footage homes are also available at these communities but at higher prices.) Verify prices as they can change.
In a co-op arrangement, you own a share in a corporation that owns the buildings and the corporation pays for many items such as electric, heating, appliances, etc. In my co-op for instance, if the refrigerator breaks down, it is repaired or replaced without charge. This is a great cost savings to you. Check with the individual community to see what items are covered. Items are included in homeowners fee. See our article on co-ops for more information.
Leisure World communities are a good example; most have a huge co-op section comprised of co-op apartments, townhomes and duplex homes. You can find studios and one-bedroom apartments. We recently found 1-bedroom resale co-ops in the Leisure World Maryland community priced in the $50,000 range.
Manufactured homes are becoming very popular and are affordable retirement communities. There is a cost savings from 20 to 50% over site-built homes.
You can also find communities where you purchase just the home and the land is leased. These are called land-leased communities.
There is an advantage to land-lease because you don't have to pay for the lot. However, there is a lease fee on the land. Seek advice from local Realtors.
Manufactured homes dealers in an area know what affordable retirement communities are available in their area.
Many manufactured communities go from the $40's up to $190's. It becomes even more affordable for you when you lease your lot. You don't have the large layout of money for the land. You can find resale homes as low as $20,000 and then add the lot lease to that.
Modular homes are more affordable than site-built but more expensive than manufactured, generally. If you want a very large home, building a modular home may be a good choice because adding rooms on to the basic home can be done for little more cost.
Older mobiles can be very affordable but if they are in vulnerable areas with earthquakes or hurricanes make sure they are up to current code.
These are usually smaller homes or "park models" and so they will be even more affordable. See our article all about park models in Arizona communities describing how an RV park model can be purchased as low as $10,000 and space leased at reasonable rates for a very affordable lifestyle for retirement.
They are most numerous in Arizona, Florida, California and South Carolina.
Mobile home communities for adults over 55 are often neat and quiet and many in prime locations established when land was cheaper than today. Some of these are leased land where you pay monthly rent and some are resident-owned parks where you own your land.
Mobile Homes is a term for older mobiles built before 1976. The newer ones are now called manufactured homes. See our mobile homes section to find a community in your selected area.
They are numerous in number and in many price ranges depending on area and amenities. Some can be very affordable. Some are designated low-cost senior housing and you need to meet certain income requirements. This is determined by the median price of homes in the area. The more expensive the area, the higher the income limit.
The rent can be priced under market for low-cost housing, also known as affordable housing.
Other rentals are market rent rates and range from affordable to very luxurious apartments. You have no mortgage, taxes, etc. or large outlay of cash.
Many offer a month-to-month lease so that if your income drops and you can't afford the rent, you can easily move.
These are nice because you can move around and see more in retirement.
Many adult apartment communities provide housekeeping and maintenance. Some include a meal in your fee. Check with the individual community for details as they vary.
See also numerous Christian retirement communities--some of these are very focused on the individual and affordable and open to all persons. There are other numerous religious-based communities such as Jewish and other religions that give excellent care, are affordable and open to all persons. Most are month-to-month rental communities, may be non-profit, and many include some assistance available.
If you have an RV you can purchase a space which makes an investment for you as well as giving you a permanent home and using your RV.
You can also rent spaces in RV parks on an annual basis giving a less transient feeling.
Of course, RV spaces can be rented by day, week or month as well so that you can use them as an affordable "second home" to get away from winter weather.
Find RV Communities
The recent market gave buyers a real bonus: high inventories of condominiums (or mobiles) for sale that weren't moving very quickly. Therefore, sellers needed to drop prices to get a sale. Condominium prices in particular can get very low at this time, especially in Florida where inventories were high. Check with local Realtors for resales.
Re: Foreclosures and short sales: Please check with your Realtor for requirements to purchase them. They are not all listed on the MLS. Check with local lenders. They are often purchased by investors. Be aware that condition can be poor.
Update: The number of foreclosures available has declined substantially in the current market and investors are disappearing. This makes for an improved market and subsequent higher prices. This is good for condo sellers (but not buyers). There are still excellent bargains for buyers as it takes time for the market to adjust.
There are many wonderful affordable retirement communities available. Combine this with low interest rates and you should be able to find a good value. Many seniors want to find properties where they can pay all cash and these affordably-priced properties are the ones to look for.
have listed many on this website. We hope this guide will help you in
your search. Seek local Realtors for advice.
Update: Home prices have increased in recent years. If you find you do not qualify for the higher-priced new homes in a community, look for resale homes. You can find these with a local Realtor. Older homes may not have as many newer "gadgets" but may have a lower price. Check it out.