Two Arizona communities make Forbes 25 Best Places to Retire

Affordability and high quality of life have landed two Arizona communities on Forbes’ 2019 list of 25 best places to retire.

Green Valley and Sun City, where golf and fun are in their mission statements, both were selected this year.

All of the 25 communities are considered No. 1 and are listed alphabetically. All were selected based on their “excellent retirement value for the buck.”

For the Arizona duo, Forbes cites sunny skies, recreational activities, and cost of living as winning assets. Income savings include lower than average housing prices, lower or average cost of living, part-time job opportunities, no Social Security state income taxes, and no estate or inheritance state taxes.

Both retirement communities are centered around a bounty of recreation centers, golf courses, clubs, pickleball and tennis courts, and swimming pools. Both are in prime locations. Suburbia feel but close to urban centers.

We have everything you could ask for but if you want to go to Tucson, it’s only 20 to 25 minutes away. If you want to go to Nogales, it’s 35 to 40 minutes away,” said Randy Graf, chair of the board of directors for the Green Valley/Sahuarita Chamber of Commerce, who moved here in 1989 for the golf and never left.

Both communities have eight golf courses each.

“Where golf is the way of life” is the welcome line on the Green Valley/Sahuarita chamber homepage.

Sun City’s homepage bills itself, “The Original Fun City!” It was one of the first ever master-planned retirement communities specifically designed for active adults. It continues to flourish almost six decades after its inception.  

What active baby boomers want

With active, money-conscious baby boomers in mind, Forbes analyzed 700 communities across America to find the top 25 vibrant locales for retirees that offer high quality, affordable living. Only places with populations above 10,000 or situated close to populous cities were considered.

Many retirees work part-time, especially in their initial years. So Forbes also factored in current and future economic prospects for each area, drawing on data from the federal government and the Milken Institute’s latest edition of “Best Performing Cities.” A strong economy down the road is often a good thing for property values if a retiree wants to sell a residence and relocate again.

The majority of places chosen this year are in warmer climates, in line with actual retirement migration trends. Five picks are in Florida, and two each in Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. There were cities in colder climates as well, in states like Minnesota, North Dakota and Pennsylvania.

Here are some of the retirement-friendly factors Forbes highlighted for Arizona’s two picks:

Green Valley

  • Median home price: $189,000 (24 percent below the national median)
  • Cost of living: 3 percent below the national average
  • Adequate number of physicians per capita
  • Very low serious crime rate
  • Good air quality
  • No state income tax on Social Security benefits, no state estate/inheritance tax

Sun City

  • Median home price $180,000 (28 percent below the national average)
  • Cost of living 3 percent above the national average
  • Good ratio of physicians per capita
  • Low serious crime rate
  • Good economy
  • No state estate/inheritance tax, no state income tax on Social Security earnings

To see what other cities made the list, go to: Forbes Best Places to Retire.

Victoria Harker

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