Sure, Florida still has some allure for retirees, but Lancaster, Pa. captured the top spot for best retirement destination amid concerns about housing affordability.
According to US News & World Report, 2022-2023 ranking of the best places to retire in the United States, Pennsylvania took three of the top five spots, edging out Florida for the top 10 overall ranking.
Lancaster, Pa., moved up four spots to secure the No. 1 spot thanks to its scores for health care for seniors, the tax rate for retirees and the overall satisfaction of its residents, the magazine said.
Read: We want to spend our retirement cycling and need a low tax “home” for legal purposes. What is the best home base for us?
This year’s list ranked the nation’s 150 most populous metropolitan areas based on how well they meet Americans’ retirement expectations, with measures including housing affordability, health care, desirability and overall happiness — resulting in four new areas in the top five.
Also in the Keystone State, Harrisburg rose 11 spots to No. 2 and Pensacola, Fla., rose seven spots to No. 3. Tampa moved up two spots to No. 4 and York, Pa., saw the biggest jump to the top five, up 12 spots moved up to 5th place.
“The drastic shift in the housing market, high inflation and fears of an anticipated recession have led retirees to consider housing affordability more when considering where to retire,” said Emily Brandon, US News senior retirement editor. “Additionally, with COVID still an issue and access to good, affordable health care important to retirees, Pennsylvania dominated the top spots on the Best Places to Retire rankings, taking five of the top 10 spots on the list.”
Of course, Florida still remains a highly desirable place for retirees overall, with several areas ranking high and a total of nine appearances in the top 25.
“Retirees may still dream of retiring in Florida if they can afford it, but Pennsylvania has really dominated in terms of affordability,” Brandon said. “So many places in Pennsylvania have done so well this year, all the way to Florida.” This year, we considered housing more because affordability came first.”
However, the 2022-2023 ranking’s emphasis on housing affordability, retiree taxes and overall happiness, Fort Wayne, Ind. 21, and Toledo, Ohio rose 30 spots to No. 23.
You can find the complete list here.
This year, housing affordability is weighted the most out of six factors in the 2022-2023 Best Places to Retire methodology, which also includes happiness, health care quality, retiree taxes, desirability and labor market ratings.
“With fixed-rate mortgage rates having more than doubled over the past year, it stands to reason that a drop in affordability would lead to changes in the Best Places to Retire rankings,” said Patrick Duffy, real estate economist.
“As long as rates and home prices are high, indices related to things like happiness or quality of health care are important, but they will lag behind affordability. For those lucky buyers who are able to buy with cash, investors should still keep in mind that home values will adjust lower to offset rising mortgage rates,” Duffy said.
With mortgage interest rates rising to 6% to 7%, mortgage affordability has become a serious hurdle for homebuyers who are also still struggling with high home prices. Meanwhile, rent prices have also skyrocketed, making it difficult to budget for big increases.
Read: Housing affordability falls to lowest level since 2006. Housing ‘big slowdown’ is here, Bank of America says
MarketWatch boasts its own tool to help navigate retirement destinations, allowing readers to narrow down their choices by sifting through a myriad of data from housing and weather to taxes and health care to theaters, hiking and craft breweries. You can find the tool here.
Read MarketWatch’s Where Should I Retire? column
Of course, there are other factors that influence the decision to retire, such as where your friends and family live. There are also plenty of Americans who want to age in place and not retire — they want to say where they have community and connections. It is a very personal and individual decision.
The six indicators included in this year’s US News rankings were weighted based on a public survey of individuals across the U.S. who are nearing retirement age (ages 45-59) and those who are at retirement age (age 60 or older) to determine , what matters most is where to retire.
Data sources include the US Census Bureau, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sharecare, as well as the US News Best Hospitals rankings. Best Places to Retire is part of US News’ expanding real estate channel, which provides ratings, tools and advice to help individuals navigate the housing market, from getting a mortgage and estimating a home’s value to working with an agent and buying and selling a home.
2022-2023 US News Best Places to Retire – Top 10
1. Lancaster, Pa.
2. Harrisburg, Pa.
3. Pensacola, Florida.
4. Tampa, Florida.
5. York, Pa.
6. Naples, Florida.
7. Daytona Beach, Florida.
8. Ann Arbor, Mich.
9. Allentown, Pa.
10. Reading, Pa.