The number of retired Baby Boomers more than doubled in the United States, with 3.2 million more Baby Boomers retiring last year than in 2019.
The rise in retired workers has impacted retirement towns around the country, with many reporting a steep increase in population. Last year, more than 300,000 people over 65 years old moved to a new state. As home prices increased dramatically, many retirees decided it was the perfect time to find a forever home.
Realtor.com recently released a list of the fastest-growing retirement towns. While there are a few unexpected names, the #1 city will be of no surprise to Florida natives.
Why Lakeland, Florida is the #1 Ranked Retirement Destination
Florida has always been a popular retirement destination, and Lakeland is a thriving city with the small hometown feel that retirees are seeking.
Here is a look at some of the reasons the city has proven to be so popular.
In terms of cities in Central Florida, Lakeland is the most conveniently located. It is close to both Tampa and Orlando, along Interstate 4. The convenient location gives homeowners access to a variety of beaches that are all a short drive away.
Lakeland is close to two major metro areas, Tampa and Orlando, that are convenient for visits, shopping, and golfing. With the two thriving cities nearby, Lakeland offers the option of a slower pace of life.
Another attractive feature of Lakeland is the outdoors. Protected state-owned land makes Lakeland a great location for getting out-and-about while experiencing walking trails by foot or on a bike. For many, this is an ideal spot to live out a more active retirement lifestyle.
Of course, Lakeland got its name for a reason. With over 38-named lakes and many other bodies of water, the area is an excellent destination for retirement-friendly activities like boating and fishing.
Lake Parker, the largest nearby lake, is around 2,500 acres wide. Other well-known and popular lakes are Lake Hollingsworth, Lake Morton, and Lake Mirror. These lakes form a major part of Lakeland’s social life, with trails, picnic spots, and a wide array of nature and animals.
Despite being located between large metro areas like Orlando and Tampa, the city of Lakeland has managed to maintain a small-town feel. There are plenty of activities in Lakeland to enjoy, including parks, museums, family adventures, farmer’s markets, and other outdoor activities in a safe and friendly environment.
Additionally, Lakeland is home to the minor league baseball team, the Flying Tigers, who play their home games at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Comparatively Affordable Houses
Lakeland’s median home price is around $200,000, which compares favorably with nearby areas like Tampa ($302,400) and Orlando ($320,050).
Lakeland’s home prices have risen dramatically in recent years, with median home prices almost doubling since 2015. However, surrounding metros Tampa and Orlando have experienced even higher rises, suggesting that Lakeland still maintains its value.
Good Mix of Housing Options
Because of Florida’s reputation as a retirement destination, Lakeland offers communities for people 55 and older. These communities include access to local amenities like swimming pools, golf courses, and tennis courts. There are communities offering condos, mobile homes, and patio homes, too.
While retirement communities are not for everyone, Lakeland also offers independent houses and other communities with access to similar amenities.
Related: Search Available Lakeland Homes
It is no secret that Florida’s excellent year-round weather makes it an attractive living option for retirees. An average daily temperature of 70° Fahrenheit is the warmest in the country. The nearby ocean and other large bodies of water regulate temperatures, allowing the state to maintain comfortable lows in the 40°s and highs in the 90°s.
Another perk of Florida is the low state taxes. The property tax and insurance are among the lowest in the country. Florida is also a state that does not have an income tax.
With the amenities, small-town feel, and great weather, Lakeland is set to maintain its place as the #1 ranked retirement destination for some time to come.
Marimark Mortgage is based in Tampa, Florida, and serves the mortgage needs of homebuyers, homeowners, and investors in Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
We specialize in mortgages for first-time homebuyers, conventional home mortgages, refinance loans, reverse mortgages, and FHA, VA, and USDA mortgage options. We’ve worked extensively with cash-out refinancing and help clients to lower their monthly mortgage payments.