Our exclusive list examines small cities that offer big value.
By Reyhaneh Fathieh
With 401(k)s taking a hit, Americans are in no rush to retire now. But that doesn’t mean they’re not planning for their golden years. A recent survey of real estate agents, by Coldwell Banker, finds that many 50-somethings are buying their retirement homes now, well before they retire.
Buy now, retire later in these hot markets
- Helena, Mont. (pop. 28,726): This town has a local symphony and fine-art galleries. Nature lovers can trek 1,000-plus miles of mountain and forest trails. Median home price: $191,500.
- Pensacola, Fla. (pop. 54,283): The sun always shines on its white beaches, it’s super-safe (the crime rate is well below the national average), and the American Association baseball team boosts hometown spirit. Median home price: $137,200.
- Creve Coeur, Mo. (pop. 16,933): Its 320-acre lake is a boating haven surrounded by picnic sites and an archery range. And St. Louis is a half-hour drive away. Median home price: $355,000.
- Traverse City, Mich. (pop. 14,339): The “cherry capital” is famous for its vineyards. Plus, its health services are top-notch; the Munson Medical Center is consistently named one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation. Median home price: $129,500.
- Butte-Silver Bow, Mont. (pop. 31,967): This area’s 29 recreational facilities (golf courses, parks, pools) keep residents active. And Butte will host the National Folk Festival again next summer. Median home price: $108,500.
Source: Onboard Informatics for USA WEEKEND