When it comes to retirement locations, Florida ranks as the American state for both US and foreign retirees. The Sunshine State offers sunshine, beaches and affordable living, all desirable features for those about to enter their golden years. But certain locations stand out such as Tavares and Sarasota, rated as the best places to retire in Florida in 2020.
Ranking the best places to retire in Florida
The online portal HomeSnacks regularly ranks American towns, cities and states according to their desirability for certain criteria. The portal publishes annual ratings for the best places to live, work and retire based on official data and statistics across the country.
Florida features as the nation’s prime retirement destination and every year HomeSnacks ranks its 146 towns and cities. The criteria includes cost of living, crime rate, weather and the average age of residents. In the 2020 survey, two hotspots – Tavares and Sarasota – are the first and second best places to retire in Florida, repeating their 2019 pole positions.
Tavares takes top spot
The central Florida enclave of Tavares is among the smallest towns in the Sunshine State. It has a population of just over 16,000 people, although it’s near the much larger Orlando metro area. But despite its relatively small size, Tavares ticks plenty of boxes for retirees and tops the listing for best places to retire in Florida.
According to the survey, Tavares scores 8 out of 10 for housing – the average price for property in this part of Florida comes in at US$127,300. The town scores well on amenities with 8.5 and its cost of living stands at 0.9 times lower than the national average.
On the downside, Tavares does not offer particularly good employment opportunities (it scores 5 out of 10) so it has limited appeal for other demographics. And it lies some distance from an airport unlike many other Florida locations.
Sarasota in Southwest Florida ranks as second-best place to retire in Florida in 2020 as it did in 2019. The city with a population of just over 56,000 is known as a location offering something for everyone as well as retirees. The HomeSnack report says that Sarasota is “renowned for cultural and environmental amenities, beaches and resorts”.
These features all rank well in the report. Amenities get 9.5 out of 10, for example. Housing is another salient characteristic and Sarasota scores 8.5 for its property market. Average property prices stand at US$239,600, a lot higher than in Tavares.
Sarasota also has a high rating for employment. Southwest Florida is one of the top places to look for jobs and this is reflected in the score of 7 out of 10 in the report. Median income in the area comes in at US$48,000 a year, 20% higher than in Tavares. Sarasota also lies within easy reach of all three Southwest Florida airports.
Invest in all-rounders
Surveys ranking the best places to retire in Florida in 2020 are useful for retirees themselves. They also give investors an idea of locations to look for property investment. However, buying in these hotspots may limit your buy-to-let or holiday rental options and at BRIC Group we believe it’s wiser to choose a place that has wider appeal.
Sarasota fits this category since it attracts a range of demographics. As well as ranking as the second-best place to retire, the city appeals to families as well. They are drawn to the employment opportunities and the quality standard of living for their children in the area.
The nearby town of Englewood, just south of Sarasota, is a particular favourite with both retirees and families. Tourists also flock to the area, famous for its pristine beaches and coastline. Investors can therefore tap into these multiple markets for property.
One example is land purchase in prime plots located in the Rotonda West area of Englewood. Investment starts at US26,500 and investors can opt for the new-build upgrade. In April 2020, Realtor.com described the Englewood property market as “very hot”.