If you're like many people find yourself shoveling snow during the winter, you may be thinking about moving to Florida. Despite hurricanes, alligators and a weirdness that keeps it in the media, Florida remains a popular retirement destination.
Florida is large, and its many cities and small towns are varied enough to provide a variety of retirement experiences. Fort Lauderdale has been a popular retirement destination for decades. Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding communities in Broward County offer a growing cultural community, proximity to the water, year-round warm weather and an easy drive to Miami or West Palm Beach.
While a rising cost of living (particularly housing) has made Fort Lauderdale a more expensive retirement destination than it used to be, it is still cheaper to live here than in most of the northeastern United States. And, there is no snow and no state income tax.
Within the Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area and Broward County, retirees can find a variety of experiences:
- waterfront condo life
- 55-plus active adult communities
- suburban neighborhoods
- semi-rural ranchettes
Deciding to move to Fort Lauderdale is just step 1. Then, you must decide where in Broward County you want to live.
Seniors live all over, from the beachside Lauderdale-by-the-Sea community to urban Fort Lauderdale to suburban Weston to semi-rural Southwest Ranches. The challenge is finding the community that will provide the retirement environment that suits you.
Broward County has one city that was created as a retirement destination: Developer Kenneth Behring formed the city of Tamarac in 1963 as part of his mission to create single-family communities with the amenities of condo living. The original subdivisions of Tamarac – now a city of 65,000 people of all ages – still maintain their original format: about 250 single-family homes on small lots, centered on a community center with a pool and activity. A few of the communities now welcome all ages, but most are still for people over 55. Those single-family home communities have been joined by condo communities, including the huge King's Point development in northwestern Tamarac.
Tamarac isn't the only place you can find a 55-plus community. Hallandale Beach, a community of mostly condo buildings along the Atlantic Ocean, is no longer just for retirees but many retirees continue to make it home. Other large 55-plus condo communities are Hollybrook and Century Village in Pembroke Pines, Wynmoor in Coconut Creek, Century Village in Deerfield Beach and Sunrise Lakes in Sunrise. Many cities, including Tamarac, Sunrise and Margate, have active senior exercise and activities programs, too.
Not only are such communities popular with retirees because of amenities and activities, the units are often among the most affordable living units in Broward County, because of the age restrictions on who can buy them. At least one resident has to be 55 or older.
If you'd rather live in a community that includes people of all ages, those options abound in Broward County. New high-rise condos have recently risen in downtown Fort Lauderdale, creating an urban, walking lifestyle for the first time. Weston, Coral Springs, Plantation, Coconut Creek and Davie offer suburban neighborhoods as well as condos and apartments, and Pompano Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach and Hollywood offer proximity to the beach.
The rising cost of housing has driven some retirees farther north in Florida, though by moving to smaller towns they sacrifice some of the cultural amenities available in the Fort Lauderdale area. The median price of a single-family home in Broward County was $355,000 in the first quarter of 2019, and the median price for a condo was $165,000. There can be a lot of competition for well-located homes in good condition in the lower price ranges. Real estate taxes, homeowners' insurance and HOA fees can add $500 to $1,000 per month to housing costs, depending upon the home and where it is.
Here are five of the best places for retirees in metropolitan Fort Lauderdale:
1. Fort Lauderdale
For those who seek an urban lifestyle, with proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway and lots of culture and restaurants, it's hard to beat Fort Lauderdale. The county seat of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale has 180,000 residents and is the center of Broward County culture. New construction of high-rise condos and amenities downtown has created real, urban, walkable neighborhoods. If condo living isn't for you, Fort Lauderdale also has neighborhoods of single-family homes, from mansions to more modest models.
Tamarac was built as a retirement community, and it's still home to tens of thousands of retirees, many of them in 55-plus communities of both single-family homes and condos. The city's senior program is a bargain at $30 per year dues for unlimited exercise classes and activities. The small homes and condos are also less expensive than homes in many parts of Broward County.
3. Deerfield Beach
This beachside community in northeastern Broward County has a quiet, relaxed vibe. It's close enough to Fort Lauderdale that you can drive in to see a show but far enough away that you can avoid a lot of the traffic. Deerfield Beach offers a variety of single-family homes and condos in all price ranges and is home to the affordable 8,000-plus retirement condo community of Century Village.
4. Pembroke Pines
At the opposite end of Broward County, Pembroke Pines is known as a family-friendly community. But it is also home to two of Broward County's largest senior communities: the 7,700-unit Century Village and the 1,900-unit Hollybrook complex. Both offer affordable condo living with amenities and services.
Sunrise maintains an active senior center with programs ranging from card games to trips to exercise classes. Housing is affordable, and the giant Sunrise Lakes condo community is one of the most affordable senior complexes in the area.
Moving to the Fort Lauderdale area for retirement might mean the need to downsize, especially if you're going from a single-family home to a condo. Self storage provides many options for you whether for vehicle storage or temporary or long-term storage for the things you may not have room for right away, but want to keep. It can also help make your move a little less stressful!
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