It’s still early fall, but a chilly NorEaster foreshadows a cold winter ahead. Birds and boomers are nearing prime time for the great migration to warmer climates, free from snow shoveling and slippery sidewalks.
Snowbirds typically flock to markets like Sarasota-Bradenton, South Florida, or Northern California, but these nice-weather locations often come with an expensive price tag. So where can snowbirds retire within their budget, without having to sacrifice sunny weather?
We've mashed up the latest data of the top 20 cities with the most annual sunshine possible from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with 2015 median new home price data from Metrostudy to pinpoint 10 sunny cities where the median home price falls below the national median.
In other words, it won't cost boomers their life savings to retire in the sunshine in these hot spots.
With a 73% chance of annual sunshine, Ely, Nev., is an ideal place for those who envision a warm, sunny retirement. The median closing price for a new home this year is just $101,500, well below the national median of $191,500. The city is also perfect for those who prefer a peaceful living environment and a small town feel, with about 4,300 residents according to the 2010 census.
Pueblo is warmer than most other Colorado cities, with a 76% annual possibility of sunshine. Once a prospering city, Pueblo’s housing market has cooled down ever since the global steel crisis in the 1970s, with a median new home price of only $121,700 this year. The historic commercial districts, steel mill sites, and history museums have added to the city’s attraction and charm, however, leaving residents plenty to explore and appreciate.
Amarillo enjoys a 73% chance of sunshine, or 261 total sunny days annually, without sacrificing real seasons. The average temperature of the city reaches 37 °F in January, and 78.3 °F in July, which is pretty nice for those who’d like to live in a sunny but seasonal place. The median new home price in 2015 thus far is about $125,000 in Amarillo, well below the national median home price.
Lubbock offers mild and breezy weather, with an annual high temperature of 74.3°F, and an annual low of 47°F. Being called a “Hub City," the city of Lubbock was chosen as the 12th best place for small businesses by CNN Money in 2009. What’s more, Lubbock’s two major healthcare institutions—Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Covenant Health System—are easy to access whenever there’s a need, and the city has a 72% chance of
Roswell has pleasant weather in general, with a 74% chance of sunshine, an annual high temperature of 75.5 °F, and a low of 46.3 °F. Considering good weather conditions and the plethora of events offered in the city by the Roswell Community Little Theater, Roswell Symphony Orchestra, and International UFO Museum, a median new home price of $127,000 seems very reasonable for retirees.
Lake Charles, La. With a median home price of $132,700, Lake Charles has drawn
D.R. Horton, this year’s top
builder, to its affordable home market, a sign of its growing potential. There’s
a 72% chance of sunshine in the city, amounting to a total of 213 sunny days. Featured in many films, Lake Charles is home to the college football team McNeese
Cowboys, and the musical "Caroline, or Change" is also set in Lake Charles.
El Paso, Texas
El Paso is home to the 24,000-acre Franklin Mountains State Park (the largest urban park in the nation), and boasts over 300 sunny days a year, with an 84% chance of sunshine annually. An affordable median new home price of $136,200 makes El Paso a great option for retirees who want to live an active lifestyle with easy access to mountain hiking, camping, and bicycling.
Known for its hot summers and warm winters, Yuma is the sunniest place in the U.S. according to the NOAA, with a 90% chance of sunny days annually, a high temperature of 88.4°F, and an annual low of 61.9°F. Everyday sunshine, swimming pools open year-round, and non-stop tropical fruits make the $136,600 median home price well worth it to retire in Yuma.
Plenty of big cities are sunny, but are not affordable to ordinary folks. Fortunately, Phoenix is a slight exception to the rule, with a relatively low median new home price of $170,100. Sunny weather accounts for 85% of the year, offering clear skies and beautiful views to enjoy many annual festivals, sports and other attractions the city offers.
has hot summers and mild winters, but is humid due to the
higher elevation of the city. Same as Phoenix, Tucson has an 85% chance of sunshine on an
annual basis, but has a slightly higher home price. The median new home price is $178,200 in 2015, edging toward the national median.