Kellee H. Smith, PRESTIGE PROPERTY SPECIALISTSPhone: (386) 603-2378
Email: [email protected]

Retiring in Florida Can Be Surprisingly Affordable

by Kellee H. Smith 05/12/2019

For a variety of reasons, Florida continues to be one of the most popular retirement destinations in the United States. Whether you're considering buying a house, a condo, or a luxury beachfront home, there are a lot of appealing properties available on the market. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, many of them are relatively inexpensive, too.

One strategy for starting your search for a place to retire to in Florida is to examine your lifestyle goals and create a short list of preferred locations that would offer you the features and environment you're looking for. Grandparents sometimes opt for a home near Orlando, so they can be close to Disney World and other fun theme parks. Avid golfers looking for ocean views and slightly cooler temperatures often put Jacksonville on their short list of possibilities. Jacksonville, which is Florida's largest city, has many other attractions, too, including wildlife sanctuaries, beaches, state parks, theaters, sporting venues, concerts, and other recreational places. U.S. News & World Report ranks Jacksonville as the 24th most desirable place to retire in the country. Interestingly, a handful of other popular Florida cities rank even higher.

The six other Florida cities that also made it to the top 25 list are, in order of ranking: Fort Myers (#2), Sarasota (#3), Lakeland (#10), Daytona Beach (#13), Miami (#21), and Melbourne (#23). With advantages that include mild winters, easy access to beaches, and no state income tax, there are many reasons Florida is mentioned so frequently as a desirable place to buy a retirement home. Although oceanfront properties are predictably higher in price, the median price for a Florida home is surprisingly affordable. Here's how the seven cities fared, in terms of median home prices for residents 60 years and older: Fort Myers ($233,100), Sarasota ($239,100), Lakeland ($146,500), Daytona Beach ($185,300), Miami ($261,000), Melbourne ($191,200), and Jacksonville ($200,800). Although these median home prices will fluctuate from time to time, they do make the prospect of retiring in Florida an attainable goal for many people approaching their retirement years.

The rankings were tabulated from survey results and a variety of research and data, including the quality of healthcare, housing affordability, taxes, and the local job market. Two other key elements factored into the rankings were a "happiness index" and a "desirability index." Those two aspects of the scoring system comprised about 37% of the results.

Whether you're looking to retire in Florida, buy a vacation home, or relocate your family here, one of the best starting points is to contact an experienced, local real estate agent to guide you in your search. It's also helpful to learn as much as you can about different locations you're targeting, as well as the features that matter most to you. Those could run the gamut from weather conditions and beach proximity to recreational facilities and nearby shopping areas.

If you are ready to begin your search, don't delay, your retirement dream home could be waiting for you.

About the Author

Kellee H. Smith


Kellee H Smith (ABR,CRS)

Broker / Owner

Kellee Smith was born in Atlanta Georgia. Her father worked for the FAA and the family moved around Florida and Georgia before settling in DeLand Florida in 1977. She attended St Peter’s Catholic School, DeLand Jr. High and graduated from DeLand High School in 1983. She received her AA degree from Brevard College, in Brevard North Carolina. She transferred to Florida State University where she received her BS degree in 1988. 

Kellee obtained her real estate license in 2000, while living in Atlanta and working for REMAX until starting her own brokerage in 2011. Kellee moved back to her hometown in 2015 with a goal of helping her parents leave a legacy by growing the family real estate company, Prestige Property Specialists. Her parents started Prestige Property Specialists in 1988. The company specializes in residential, commercial and property management. She is passionate about ethics and education in the real estate industry. It is more than just a business, it is a true legacy for her family. Kellee maintains the highest professional standards for her clients and the agents at Prestige Property Specialists. She earned the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation, which is the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers and brokers. The brokerage is growing and her team of agents are looking forward to some exciting changes in 2019. 

Kellee is also passionate about recycling. She was instrumental in assisting the DeLand Breakfast Rotary and the City of DeLand in retrofitting the downtown garbage bins to include recycling receptacles. During the recycling project, she recruited sponsors and constructed a recycling mascot, which the DeLand residents helped name, “Skip D. Landfill”.

Kellee is active in her community by serving as Secretary of the DeLand Breakfast Rotary, Treasurer of Trails West Oakwood HOA, and is a member of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce, MainStreet DeLand Association, West Volusia Association of Realtors, DeLand Tennis Club and St Peter’s Catholic Church, Board of Directors of the DeLand Area Chamber of Commerce & Orange City Alliance. 

Kellee’s hobbies include: tennis, camping, traveling and mostly, spending time with her two adult children, family and friends.