Michigan city ranked among the best and most affordable places to retire in the United States

A northern Michigan town was ranked the top affordable place to retire in the United States on Monday.

Realtor.com ranked Traverse City as the best place for retirees to enjoy their golden years “without depleting their savings,” in its 2022 edition of a report titled “The 10 Best and Most Affordable Places to Retire in America”.

Popular retirement hotspots, like living in a sunny spot with great weather, are less affordable than ever, according to George Ratiu, director of economic research for Realtor.com. Cities in California and Arizona did not make the top 10 because home prices were “so prohibitive in those states.”

Traverse City, however, from June to late October enjoys a “near-perfect climate”, making it an ideal place to live for anyone looking to enjoy an active retirement, according to the report.

And the median home price in Traverse City, averaged over the past 12 months, is $390,000.

“E-bikes are everywhere. Boating, swimming and (of course) pickleball are huge,” Realtor.com wrote in the report. “Locals go regularly for wine tastings, experience sand dunes and paddleboarding on a variety of lakes. There are several welcoming senior centers in the area, a few of which are right on the water’s edge, some also offering free tennis and shuffleboard daily, such as $5 exercise classes on cardio drums, Zumba, or yoga on the beach.

“If it was 80 degrees all the time, there would be a million people living in Traverse City,” Bart Ford, realtor at Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors said in the report. “We have a lot of snowbirds that go south when the weather is bad and then they come back and are here in the months when the weather is good.”

According to the report, house hunters looking to get into the snowbird life or enjoy the cold weather can find “great homes at a great price” in Traverse City.

For example, a wheelchair-accessible three-bedroom prefab home is asking for $234,000. And a three-bedroom downtown bungalow with a large porch is asking for $399,900.

Below is a list of the top ten affordable places to retire from Realtor.com:

  1. Town of Traverse, Michigan
  2. Portland, Maine
  3. Salisbury, Maryland
  4. Myrtle Beach, SC
  5. Bloomington, Ill.
  6. Port St. Lucie, Florida
  7. Syracuse, New York
  8. Wilmington, North Carolina
  9. Concord, New Hampshire
  10. St. Louis, Missouri

To determine the ranking, Realtor.com’s data team focused on metros and looked for affordable locations with the most “senior-friendly amenities” in local homes for sale. The team limited the list to one metro per state to “ensure the geographic diversity of the list,” according to the report.

For affordability, the team considered a median list price year of June 2021 through May 2022. And they capped 12-month median list prices at $500,000 to ensure the top 10 seats are still “reasonably affordable”, according to the report.

To understand locations already popular with retirees, the team focused on metros with the highest populations of residents aged 60 and older using data from the US Census Bureau. And it included the metros with the highest number of senior-friendly businesses in the rankings, using supplemental census data.

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