Money & Policy

Retirement Community Homes: What $250,000 Will Get You Today

Here are seven options that range from spacious to cozy, depending on the location

For many, retirement conjures up the dream of owning a home that’s untouched by years of soccer practice — with easy access to swimming, golf or tennis — in a community where you can be around active people your own age. But what does it cost to make that dream a reality?We’ve found seven places for about $250,000 that might fit the bill.
To that end, Next Avenue scoured the country searching for homes at that relatively affordable price (the median price for new homes in the United States is $233,700) in retirement communities that are chockfull of amenities. We discovered some in typical retirement hotspots like Arizona, Florida, South Carolina and Texas. But we also looked at communities near Chicago, New York City and Seattle for people who don’t mind chillier winters.
Most of the properties we found are in communities that first opened within the past seven years and are one-story, two-bedroom homes with dishwashers and washer/dryers, and their monthly dues range from about $120 to $240. But that’s where the similarities ended.
We found significant differences in what you can get for your money around the country. Homes in the South and the West tended to offer more space — most had 2,000 square feet or more — and were located in communities containing a larger number of residences. In the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest, homes in the same price range were smaller, as were their communities.Here’s a thumbnail of each of the retirement communities, along with details about the home that lists for roughly $250,000.
Manchester, N.J.
Community name: River PointeCommunity size: 242 acres, 504 homes

Home price: Starting at $249,990

Monthly dues: $238
Manchester offers easy access to the Jersey Shore, and New York City is a two-hour drive away. Inside the gates of the Del Webb River Pointe community are a fitness center, library, indoor and outdoor pool, putting green, horseshoe pit, and tennis and bocce courts. The single-story, ranch-style home — known as the Copper Ridge plan — has just 1,596 square feet of floor space. But it comes with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a large family room, a den, a dining room and a laundry room. The kitchen is equipped with stainless steel appliances and a wraparound breakfast bar. You also get a two-car garage and a back patio. 
Oracle, Ariz.
Community name: SaddleBrooke RanchCommunity size: 3,594 acres, 5,450 homes

Home price: $244,900

Monthly dues: $125
Retirees flock to Arizona for a reason: The state income tax tops out at just over 4.5 percent, and there’s warm weather to boot. But while many retirees are priced out of retirement communities in tony areas like Scottsdale and Sedona, there are myriad options elsewhere in the state that cost less.Take Robson’s SaddleBrooke Ranch, about an hour northeast of Tucson. Its one-story, single-family, 2,007-square-foot Strada-plan home features two bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a kitchen that opens out into a great room, a small outdoor living space, and a two-car garage with room to park a golf cart. The enormous community has an 18-hole golf course, two pools, a fitness center, a billiards room, a tennis complex, pickleball courts (pickleball is a cross between tennis and badminton) and several on-site dining options, though you’ll pay extra to dine there.
Lacey, Wash.
Community name: Shea Homes at JubileeCommunity size: 600 acres, 825 homes

Home price: $247,900

Monthly dues: $182
At a snug 1,386 square feet, the single-story, wood-paneled South Point model in the Villa Collection of Shea Homes at Jubilee (located about an hour southwest of Seattle) is the smallest home on our list. But it has an open floor plan — which means the kitchen, den and dining area flow together rather than being walled-off as separate rooms — and that gives the place a more spacious feel. There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a covered patio for outdoor dining and a two-car garage.This retirement community offers a fitness center; tennis, bocce and basketball courts; an indoor pool and spa; a library; a game room, and arts and crafts rooms. There’s also an elaborate outdoor trail system winding through the community and onto a private beach on the Puget Sound, as well as an adjacent 36-hole golf course.
Summerville, S.C.
Community name: Del Webb CharlestonCommunity size: 360 acres, 1,000 homes

Home price: Starting at $243,990

Monthly Dues: $235
You often get more bang for your buck down South, as exemplified by the three-bedroom Cumberland Hall home in the Del Webb Charleston community, located 25 miles northwest of downtown Charleston. This 2,443-square-foot ranch-style home has a large master bedroom with a private bathroom, two guest bedrooms connected by a bathroom, another half bath, a library, a kitchen with a breakfast nook, and a dining room that opens to the great room.The grounds are lined with azaleas and preserved wetlands, and amenities include a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse with heated indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, a dog park, walking and biking trails, tennis, bocce, pickleball courts and an event lawn.


Elgin, Ill.
Community name: Bowes Creek Country Club — The Active Adult CollectionCommunity size: 609 acres, 350 homes

Home price: $199,995

Monthly dues: $210
Located about an hour northwest of Chicago, the Toll Brothers’ Bowes Creek Country Club complex sits on an award-winning 18-hole golf course. The small community’s private gated entrance leads to amenities such a gym, tennis and bocce courts, a heated pool and social rooms. At 1,492 square feet, the one-floor Ranch Townhouse — Walnut Home Design isn’t large, but it comes with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining room, an open kitchen and a family room.

Denton, Texas

Community name: Robson Ranch TexasCommunity size: 2,745 acres, 6,000 homes
Home price: $250,900
Monthly dues: $173
They say everything’s bigger in Texas — and if you check out Robson Ranch Texas, under an hour’s drive from Fort Worth, you’ll believe it. The sprawling, nearly 3,000-acre community offers two pools, a fitness center, an 18-hole golf course, an on-site restaurant and bar, and a 15,000-square-foot Creative Arts & Technology Center with studios for woodcarving, ceramics, sewing/quilting and arts & crafts as well as a computer room.The ranch-style Lexington-plan model home is large as well. It’s a 2,169-square-footer with two bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a den, a kitchen that opens out into a spacious living room, and a two-car garage. The outdoor living space is small, though.
Orlando, Fla.
Community name: Trilogy Orlando
Community size: 339 acres, 999 homes
Home price: $243,990
Monthly Dues: $208

Trilogy Orlando sits on a nature conservancy and features an outdoor pool; tennis, bocce and pickleball courts; an athletic club with a massage room; and restaurants for its residents. The Elm model in the Arbor Collection is another example of a spacious Southern home: At 2,214 square feet, it has two bedrooms plus a “bonus” room, which you can turn into a third bedroom, den or office; 2.5 bathrooms; a kitchen; a den; a dining room; a media room and a front porch. Speaking of bonuses, there’s also a three-car garage.

By Catey Hill
Catey Hill is MarketWatch's senior content strategist. She writes about how to upgrade your life, and helps readers find great deals on products and services. Follow her on Twitter @CateyHill

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