Best States To Retire Too – Arizona Or Florida?
Top 10 Considerations To ChooseBetween Arizona And Florida As The Best States To Retire
Why? That’s easy.
Weather, activities and home prices!
Both states have warm climates, communities with endless amenities, and lovely affordable homes. But how to choose the best retirement state for you? Well, as with many things, it depends.
The answer may be elusive, but here are 13 “tipping points” that make Arizona one of the best places to retire.
Best States To Retire – Climate
Both Arizona and Florida offer mild winters and warm, ok hot, summers. That put them at the top of the list for best retirement states. But there is a difference.
Arizona has a lot less humidity. Much of Arizona is in the Sonora Desert. And temperatures change base on where you are in Arizona.
In Northern Arizona, Flagstaff has mild summers and cold winters. Flagstaff has a 28-day winter fest with ski events and winter sports. Tucson is in southern Arizona about 60 miles from Mexico. Tucson has mild winters with cool to chilly evenings. Summer temperatures will reach 3 digits, but the low humidity makes it feel cooler.
Due to Tucson’s elevation, summer temperatures will be 8 to 15 degrees cooler than Phoenix. But no matter where you are in Arizona, you will have sunny skies. Tucson boasts 350 days of sunshine. And there are more great places to live in Arizona.
Best States To Retire – Environment
Florida is humid. Always humid. Winter and summer. And it rains a lot. But for those that want to be “on the water” Florida’s coastline and beaches. And lots of rivers and lakes. All that water is also enjoyed by a huge number of bugs and mosquitos.
The arid Arizona desert areas don’t have bugs or mosquitos. Evenings are made to be enjoyed without swatting your arms every 10 seconds.
In Arizona, a “water fix” isn’t that hard to get. Roosevelt Lake is a huge lake northeast of Phoenix. For those looking for some beach time, the Pacific Ocean is a 7-hour drive to San Diego. And the Sea of Cortez is 4 hours away.
If living on the water is a biggy for you, then Florida will get the nod. But if lots of sunshine, low humidity and no rain outs is important, it’s Arizona.
Have arthritis? Climates that are warm and dry are ideal for arthritis sufferers. That puts Arizona at the top of the list.
Especially Tucson, AZ. Tucson’s elevation helps keep humidity low. And the barometric pressure doesn’t very much. Low humidity and stable barometric pressure help the pain, fatigue, and swollen joints.
Best States To Retire – Natural Disasters
More storms hit Florida than any other state. The List of Florida hurricanes that affected the state exceeds 400. Tropical cyclones have affected Florida in every month of the year with the exceptions of January and March. Nearly one-third of the cyclones affected the state in September, and nearly three-fourths of the storms affected the state between August and October, which coincides with the peak of the hurricane season.
When considering the risk of natural disasters in Arizona, the odds are low. And Southern Arizona is less likely to experience a natural disaster, period. That doesn’t mean it can’t happen in Arizona. No place on Earth is ever 100% safe. However, as shown in the 2014 Natural Disaster Risk Map, Tucson and its surrounding communities rank low.
Best States To Retire – Outdoor Activities
Both Arizona and Florida abound with outdoor activities. World class golf courses, tennis, pickleball, cycling, and hiking. But the dryer sunny days gives Arizona the edge. No rain outs, no bugs, no humidity, and no alligators going after your golf ball or YOU!
One more thing, Arizona has more boats per capita that any state. You may have to drive to get to the water, but its there if you want it.
Best States To Retire – Home Prices
The median home sale price in Arizona for 2016 is $221,000. For Florida, the median home sale price is $206,000. Home listing prices will be higher than the median sale price.
And remember, all home prices are local. Each community or subdivision is a unique market.
Best States To Retire – Lifestyle
Florida is more populated than Arizona. Greater population means more urban areas and attractions. There are more cities, suburbs and small towns in Florida. Between the urban areas are nature preserves and wetlands.
Phoenix and Tucson are the two largest cities in Arizona. Phoenix is now the 5th largest city in the United States. It recently passed Philidelipha for the number 5 spot.
So if you want fast freeways, lots of traffic and hustle and bustle, Phoenix may be for you.
But if a casual lifestyle is what you are looking for, put Tucson on your list. Great restaurants abound. A laid back atmosphere with a rush hour that lasts 20 minutes.
The snowbird season takes place in both Arizona and Florida. That means you need to make reservations at restaurants and parking lots have busier.
Best States To Retire – Adult 55+ Communities
55+ communities are available in both Arizona and Florida. In fact, the first 55+ community opened in Arizona. Del Webb created the concept with their Sun City development. Established in 1960 near Phoenix.
Green Valley, AZ, established in 1964, is an entire 55+ community. Both projects preceded the retirement wave of the baby boomer generation.
Developers continue to build 55+ communities in both Arizona and Florida. Arizona has larger 55+ communities than Florida. Many with 5,000+ homes.
But Florida has the largest. The Villages. This adult community has over 75,000 homes.
On balance, if you want to live in a 55+ community, its a push between Arizona and Florida. Best
Best States To Retire – What About State Income Taxes
For retirees, state income taxes are always a consideration. On this topic, both Arizona and Florida are “tax friendly”.
Arizona does not tax Social Security Benefits or some specific pension income. Florida has no state income tax at all. This may give Florida the edge.
But don’t forget property taxes. Arizona has low property tax rates. A rule of thumb is property taxes will be 0.08 to 1.00 % of a home’s selling price.
Florida’s property taxes are higher, but there are exemptions for full-time residents.
Another BIG consideration for Florida homeowners is flood insurance. Florida coastal communities will have flood insurance required. In general, Arizona homeowners do not. But there are some exceptions.
Population (Data from the Census Bureau – 2015)
Arizona is less populated and has a younger population than Florida Arizona’s population was an estimated 6.9 million in 2016. That is about one-third of Florida’s 20.6 million.
The median age in Arizona was 35.9 vs. Florida’s 40.7. Some 13.8% of the Arizona population is 65 or over. Florida stands at 17.3%.
Best States To Retire – Let’s Sum It Up
Needless to say, everyone’s situation is different and what you are comfortable with is most important in the end.
Climate And Environment
- Warm winters – Southern Florida is warm all winter with few days dipping below the 60s. Most of Arizona has comfortable winter days, but evenings may be chilly depending on where you are. TIE
- Deserts – Not much contest here, Arizona has the incredible Sonora Desert. Panoramic views come with almost every location. There are endless places to hike, ride horses, or enjoy the scenic beauty and vegetation. ARIZONA
- Mountains – AZ wins this hands down with beautiful mountains spread throughout the State. In southern Arizona, the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson are spectacular. At 9,200 feet, Mount Lemmon is the southernmost ski place in North America. As for Florida, hills serve as mountains. One of the highest is Britton Hill near Clermont. It tops out at 312 feet. Compared to Arizona that may be a speed bump? ARIZONA
- Humidity – If low humidity is your preference, go to Arizona. Florida in summer can be pretty rough. ARIZONA
- Environment – With higher humidity and lots of water bug and mosquitos are the norm in Florida. Arizona’s arid climate eliminates mosquitoes and pesky buys. And no alligators or crocodiles to contend with on the golf course. ARIZONA
- Ocean & Lakes – Florida wins this one with over 2,200 miles of tidal coastline. And lots of lakes. But from Tucson or Phoenix, the Pacific Ocean is only 6 hours away – by car. The Sea of Cortez, in Mexico, is under 4 hours away. Roosevelt and Mead’s lakes are easy to get to. So, unless you want to live on the water on near it, you can get your water fix in Arizona without much difficulty. FLORIDA
- Natural Disasters – Flordia has more tropical cyclones than any other state. The cumulative impact from the storms totaled over $115 billion in damage (2008 USD), primarily from Hurricane Andrew and hurricanes in the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Arizona has on of the lowest probabilities of a natural disaster of any state. ARIZONA.
- Lifestyle – Active lifestyles are prominent in both Arizona and Florida. But rainouts in Arizona almost never happen. ARIZONA
Taxes And Homes
- Taxes – Both are among the lowest tax states. If your income is large Florida might be a better choice because it has no income tax. But take a close look and property taxes, homeowners and flood insurance requirements. ARIZONA
- 55+ Communities – Both Arizona and Florida have many choices. And non-adult communities are being built in both states. TIE
- Home Prices – Florida and Arizona have comparable home prices and choices. But home styles and building materials will be different. TIE
- The number of places to retire – Florida has more retirement towns and 55+ communities. It has a bigger population. But Arizona offers plenty of choices too. TIE
- Population – Florida has 3X the population of Arizona. Lots of people, lots of traffic, and lots of time in your car. ARIZONA
Both Arizona and Florida have their pros and cons. And both offer new 55+ communities.
So how should you decide? We recommend you visit a few cities and towns in both states. Take a little time to see if you can find the community and home of your dreams. Seeing what there is a good way to answer the question, what is best states to retire. For YOU! And when you come to Tucson, AZ, we will be happy to show you around.
But when all things are considered, we believe Arizona wins! We’re biased of course!
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