The Sunshine State is no stranger to top retirement destination rankings, but Florida goes one step further in the latest survey. In the US News list for 2021/22, Florida metros take 8 out of the top 10 places. Furthermore, a cluster of the eight is in Southwest Florida, the best place to retire in the US.
Sarasota and Naples take top two
The US News report looked at 150 metros in the US and considered factors such as happiness, affordability of housing, tax rates and standard of healthcare. Sarasota in Southwest Florida obtained the highest ranking (7.5/10) and is officially the best place to retire in the US.
The survey highlighted the diversity of Sarasota with its renowned opera house, fine dining and Siesta Key beach. It pointed out that the metro area was “once dismissed as a playground for retirees”, but nowadays, more young professionals are “making it their own”.
Hot on the heels of Sarasota was Naples, the second-best retirement spot in the US. This resort on the Gulf of Mexico is a favourite with ‘snowbirds’ who flock to the area during the winter months to “enjoy Florida’s seemingly endless supply of sunshine and warm weather”. However, the report pointed out the lack of affordable homes in this part of Florida.
Tampa Bay in sixth place
Tampa Bay’s rating in sixth position confirms Southwest Florida as the best place to retire in the US this year. It gets 7.2/10 and all three of its metro areas score well for retirees and professionals. The Tampa property market also fares better for affordability.
Tampa itself has a “hip social scene”, while St Petersburg on the other side of the bay, has some of the best beaches in Southwest Florida. The city has become “a major arts destination” and its attractions include the Salvador Dali Museum. Clearwater completes the trio and is a popular spring break destination.
Southwest Florida magnet for retirees and professionals
As well as one of the best year-round climates in the US, Southwest Florida offers the additional advantages of low taxation. This has attracted more residents over the last 12 months, both retirees and professionals.
The population in the area has swelled over the last two decades. In 1990, the four coastal counties had a population of around 876,000 people. In 2021, the population of Collier, Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties is almost a million higher and stands at 1.8 million.
On the professional front, Southwest Florida appeals to enterprises in various sectors, including tech and retail. Florida Realtors report that the CEOs of two large companies based in Philadelphia, Ametek and Five Below, have relocated to Naples and set up corporate offices in the metro area.
Locals have noticed the uptick in new residents in Southwest Florida too. Businesses in the tourism sector describe this summer as “the busiest ever” and that newcomers stay permanently rather than just for winter. As a result, everything points to Southwest Florida as the best place to live in the US and retire.
(Source: US News, Florida Realtors)