Playing golf anytime you feel like it — early in the morning or at twilight. Finding empty tennis courts just waiting to be played on. Uncrowded movie theaters. Fishing, skiing, surfing, swimming or boating.
These are some of the perks people can look forward to when they reach retirement age. As America’s baby boomer generation continues to approach that phase of their lives, many will be starting to consider where they might want to move to get the most out of their golden years.
Below is a list of 7 Bargain Retirement Retreats based on NeighborhoodScout’s recent list of “The 10 Best, Affordable Places to Retire in America,” along with average savings on foreclosure purchases from RealtyTrac.
Norris, Tenn. (Anderson County)
The highest percentage potential savings was found in Anderson County, part of the Knoxville metro area in the northeastern part of the state. The county encompasses 598 square miles with an estimated population of 72,518 residents living in 33,663 housing units, according to the 2005 estimates of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Preliminary data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) for the second quarter of 2007 estimates the median sales price of an existing home in the Knoxville MSA to be $160,200.
Figures compiled by RealtyTrac show that from Jan. 1 through Aug. 30 the county had 60 foreclosed properties that sold at an average sales price of $91,309, an average savings of nearly 29 percent below the estimated market value for those properties.
Melbourne Beach, Fla. (Brevard County)
Next highest potential savings was reported in Brevard County. Located on more than 1,000 square miles of the Atlantic coast, Brevard County is known as the “Space Coast” because it is home to the John F. Kennedy Space Center. The county is part of the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville metropolitan area, which had an estimated median sales price for existing single-family homes of $183,300 in the second quarter of 2007, according to preliminary reports from the NAR.
Figures compiled by RealtyTrac for the first eight months of the year show 397 foreclosures selling at an average sales price of $209,503 — an average savings of 26 percent below the estimated market value for those properties.
Greenbank, Wash. (Island County)
Located on 208 square miles in the Puget Sound, Island County also has savings to offer to potential homeowners. Island County had an estimated population of 79,983 people living in 35,515 housing units in 2005.
The closest nearby metroplex reported by the NAR is Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, where the median sales price for the second quarter of 2007 was preliminarily estimated to be $395,300 for existing single-family homes.
Data compiled by RealtyTrac showed that between Jan. 1 and Aug. 30, Island County had 39 foreclosed properties sold at an average sales price of $261,589, an average of 19 percent below the estimated market value for those properties.
Sun City, Ariz. (Maricopa County)
One of two counties in the Phoenix-Mesa metroplex, Maricopa County is a heavily populated area of the state with plenty of savings to offer home-buying retirees. Encompassing more than 9,200 square miles in the southwest quadrant of the state, the county is home to an estimated 3,638,481 people living in 1,481,431 housing units as of 2005, according to the Census Bureau.
RealtyTrac’s numbers show that 2,953 foreclosed properties were sold in Maricopa County during the first eight months of the year at an average sales price of $278,112, an estimated 18 percent savings below the market value of those properties.
Bella Vista, Ark. (Benton County)
Decent savings can also be had in Benton County, one of three counties that comprise the Fayetteville-Springdale metropolitan area and situated on 886 square miles in the northwest corner of Arkansas. According to the Census Bureau estimates for 2005, the county has 187,381 residents living in 70,074 housing units.
Figures reported by the Arkansas Realtors Association through July 2007 show average home prices were up 6 percent year-to-date from a year ago to $200,090.
Benton County had 136 foreclosure properties sell during the first eight months of the year for an average sales price of $126,178 — an average savings of more than 17 percent below the market values of those properties, according to RealtyTrac.
Lee, Mass. (Berkshire County)
Covering 931 square miles, Berkshire County runs the entire length of the Massachusetts west coast. Part of the Pittsfield metropolitan area, it is one of 14 counties in the state, housing an estimated 131,783 people in 67,450 housing units, according to the Census Bureau.
The Berkshire County Board of Realtors estimated an average sales price in the county for the second quarter to be $320,457, up 3.8 percent from the same quarter in 2006.
Seventy-four foreclosures sold in Berkshire County between Jan. 1 and Aug. 30, according to RealtyTrac. The average sales price was $164,346, an average savings of more than 16 percent below the estimated market value of those homes.
Los Osos, Calif. (San Luis Obispo County)
Situated along the Pacific Ocean between Los Angeles and San Francisco, San Luis Obispo County encompasses 3,304 square miles of Central California and is known as the location of the Hearst Castle, home of late publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst.
Census Bureau estimates in 2005 counted 255,538 residents in San Luis Obispo County living in 112,099 housing units. The latest figures available from the San Luis Obispo Association of Realtors showed that 401 single-family homes listed on the MLS sold in the county during 2006 for an average sales price of $735,782.
Through the first eight months of 2007, RealtyTrac shows that 150 San Luis Obispo County properties in foreclosure sold for an average sales price of $493,550, an average savings of more than 15 percent below the estimated market value of those homes.