15 top retirement hot spots for investing

Looking at statistics, RealtyTrac picked the best places to invest, based on cap rate and percentage of older residents.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jul 8, 2013 1:33PM

The beach in Naples, Fla. on the Gulf of Mexico (© Ilene MacDonald/Alamy)The ability to use computers to slice and dice real-estate statistics brings us all manner of interesting top 10 or 20 towns for this or that.


The latest comes from RealtyTrac, which has computed the 15 best retirement hot spots for investing, based on the percentage of residents over 65 and the capitalization rates of rental property.


The top town? Dunnellon, Fla.


If only I’d known when I lived down the road in Inverness all those years ago. No one is suggesting that these towns are the best places to retire – and I don’t recommend the Florida towns I know on this list. But statistics suggest properties in these towns could be a good investment.


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Just over 38% of the residents of Dunnellon, a town of 1,733 people about 90 miles northwest of Orlando, are of retirement age. The town lost population between the 2000 and 2010 census counts, so it’s not a retirement hot spot yet, though nearby Ocala is.

While the cost of living in Dunnellon is just above the national average, the median home price – $76,941 in May – makes it extremely affordable. That price is 31.42% higher than a year ago, and the cap rate, or return on investment, is 10.34%. But the weather is nice; the average temperature is 70 degrees and, as in the rest of Florida, it is sunny nearly every day.


Of the 15 towns, the ones with the highest percentage of 65-plus residents were two retirement communities in Arizona: Sun City, a Phoenix suburb where 72.8% of the 38,000 residents are of retirement age, and Green Valley, about 20 miles outside Tucson, where 72.% of the 17,000 residents are in that age bracket.

The best cap rate was in Orange City, Fla., between Daytona Beach and Orlando, at 12.92%. The percentage of over-65 residents there is 33.8%.


The only city where the cost of living ranked below the national average – just barely – was Florence, Ore., where the median home sale price in May was $165,000. In contrast, the median sale price in East Hampton, N.Y., was $952,500.


RealtyTrac also put together some tips on buying investment property with an IRA.


Here are the 15 best retirement hot spots for investing, according to RealtyTrac:

  • Dunnellon, Fla.
  • Naples, Fla.
  • Hot Springs Village, Ark.
  • Douglassville, Pa.
  • Sun City, Ariz.
  • North Fort Myers, Fla.
  • Rancho Mirage, Calif.
  • Punta Gorda, Fla.
  • Sun City Center, Fla.
  • Venice, Fla.
  • Florence, Ore.
  • Green Valley, Ariz.
  • Seal Beach, Calif.
  • Orange City, Fla.
  • East Hampton, N.Y.
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Oct 3, 2013 4:23AM
Even as a child i didn't like fla. my suggestion is desert south west.    sun city simmerlin nv  is good, .   investing , park city ut for summer and winter life.  lots of sun blue blue skies most of time  dry little rain most ly mild  temps accept for mid summer  couldn't wait to get out of cold damp rainy cloudy michigan.  
Jul 20, 2013 10:00AM
This is an old article I've been holding on to for retirement living ideas.  I've actually considered Panama City (NOT Florida).  Check out this article for more exotic retirement retreats.


Jul 20, 2013 9:54AM

The only thing Florida has going for it is the jurors made the right decision on the TM GZ trail.....and the beaches are nice.....but too many peeps.  Florida sucks.  LMOL

Jul 20, 2013 9:49AM
Douglassville, PA.......you're kidding. 
Jul 20, 2013 9:24AM
The BEST place to retire is where you love to live - probably where you are thinking of moving from!  If you can afford it, stay put.  That's where your friends, family and colleges live; your social circles, church (if you go) and the place you are most familiar.  Leaving for "warmer climes' sounds good, but NO PLACE is perfect.  Better to rent a place for the winter months, then go back home for most of the year.  You'll be much happier!
Jul 20, 2013 9:12AM
I happen to live in The Villages, Fl., after checking out California, Arizona, Texas, and the Panhandle of Florida.  I wouldn't trade places with anyone.  The Villages is the best kept secret.  There is something for everyone here.
Jul 20, 2013 8:23AM
Just reread the article and had to comment further- "average" temperature means nothing - research the summer temperatures and the winter temperatures.  Where I live - the temperature can be 90+ degrees with 90+ humidity for up to 8 MONTHS OUT OF THE YEAR!!  Also-have your seen our "Palmetto bugs"?? They are just like roaches but are about 10X the size!  We spend a small fortune keeping them out of our house - where they get into everything - scurry around at night - and can even hang from the ceiling.  YUCK!!  Before you move to FL, be sure to visit in the middle of the summer - and even if you are going to buy a new build, look at houses that are at least 5 years old to see/ask how hard it is to keep a house up with so much moisture that creates to much upkeep.  Wooden planters that can last up north for decades rot and fall apart in a couple of years.  Plants that need lots of rain die when we have arid weather and vice versa.  Hardly any flowers anywhere - tho we're the "land of flowers", because of how intense our weather is.  And, I won't mention how prevalent termites are.........Why do we still live here?  As is the case with everyone, when you need to stay where your job is, you have to wait until retirement to make a change.....FL is replete with minimum wage jobs that do not promote a healthy standard of living .....Yippee for upcoming old age and possibly a change of address!!
Jul 20, 2013 8:21AM
I would never invest in a place where real estate people say I should invest. After all, these people are first and foremost SALESMEN, not retirement counselors, and they're looking for the biggest, fastest payday they can get. As for all those places in Florida... think sweat, humidity, mosquitoes, waterbugs, cockroaches and hurricanes.
Jul 20, 2013 7:27AM
OH, MY!!!!  Having lived in FL for many years, I can tell you- you better VISIT these towns and do A LOT of research.  Most, if not all, of these towns are depressed - in many ways!  Be sure to love humidity, mold, mildew, roaches and hurricanes if you move here-we have plenty of all of these!  Also, no culture, no sense of community, no social sense of any kind.   Better plan - rent a place for the winter in FL and return home for the spring, summer, and  fall..   Why is real estate so low in these places???  Remember-these towns ARE NOT good real estate investments - that is why you can steal a house.......Come for the sun, leave for every other reason!!!
Jul 20, 2013 5:51AM
I am in the process of trying to buy a short sale home in Dunnellon. I currently live in Cape Coral and don't really like it here. Feels like I am in Cuba. Dunnellon has a few rolling hills, small town atmosphere which is what we are looking for. However the home prices are starting to go up from when we first went there

Does anyone really check out these places or are they just paying to promote


The Oregon Coast - is beautiful - however - they have never figured out how to capitalize on it


Alright I confess - my husband and I are Northerners - used to Connecticut - Jersey Shore - however - we drove a couple of thousand miles to meet with a Real Estate Agent - who never showed up


We were looking to build a house - however - local pizza parlor - was also a laundromat - sans tax returns done there

If anyone ever went to Florence, Oregon - you'd probably run screaming from there - nothing na da - no wonder it's cheap!
Jul 15, 2013 8:06AM
This article is a fine piece of marketing investigation but at this time the US real-estate market is very unstable and thus not a good place to invest your money.

In my opinion people who want to invest their money in real-estate should check for nice places south of the border or even further for a good exotic investment opportunity 
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