The state of Florida no longer has a lock on most cities being ranked among the top 10 best places to retire in America., According to the latest rankings by US News and World Report.
Instead, metropolitan areas in Pennsylvania dominated the top spots on the list, with Lancaster earning the number one slot for its quality health care for seniors, retired tax rates, and residents’ overall happiness.
Last year, the city was ranked the fifth best place to retire. The shift toward Pennsylvania comes as Americans increasingly prioritize housing affordability in their golden years, making it the most heavily weighted category in retirement rankings. For most retirees, housing is the biggest expense.
The researchers evaluated the top 150 metro areas, giving them scores based on a weighted average of scores scored in the following six categories:
- Housing Affordability (24%)
- Resident happiness (22%)
- Health care quality (16%)
- Retirement Tax Rates (16%)
- desirability (13%)
- Job Opportunities (9%)
Cities in Pennsylvania claimed five of the top 10 places to retire. Last year, Florida cities made eight out of the top 10 on the list of retirees.
Here are the top 10 places to retire for 2022-2023:
- Lancaster, PA
- Harrisburg, PA
- Pensacola, FL
- Tampa, FL
- York, PA
- Naples, FL
- Daytona Beach, FL
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Allentown, PA
- reading, pa
To be sure, Florida remains a highly desirable state for retirees, with a total of nine regions ranking in the top 25 spots, according to U.S. News & World Report. More than two-thirds (68%) of the top 25 metro areas who retire are in Florida or Pennsylvania.
Cities including Austin, Texas; Phoenix; Salt Lake City and Denver saw skyrocketing home prices last year. And while home prices around the US are now starting to calm down, affordability is still important, especially for retirees, given that they live on a fixed income.
Average interest rate on a typical 30-year mortgageThe highest level since 2001, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
“Because of inflation, retirees are very concerned about finding an affordable place to live,” said Emily Brandon, senior editor at US News. “If you’re living on a fixed income, it’s important to increase your budget as much as possible, and housing is the biggest expense for most people.”
Securing affordable housing can free up cash to spend on groceries and other necessities as well as leisure activities. “It can help push the retirement budget beyond that,” Brandon said.
Happiness scores came from residents of the polling area and also included parameters such as crime rate and air quality. Job opportunities were also considered, given that many retirees look for part-time work to stay engaged or help them make ends meet.
Florida’s cities still scored high marks in many categories and the state remains an attractive destination for Americans looking to live closer to the beach in their later years. But housing has become increasingly expensive in some Florida cities, making it out of reach for some retirees.
“Retirees are still interested in Florida and beach retirement. Housing prices in Florida are a bit high, so budget-conscious people may reconsider that plan. But many Florida cities are still looking for that experience.” People are highly desirable,” Brandon said.
Click here for the full ranking.