This article takes a look at the 25 cheapest beach towns to retire in the world. If you wish to skip our detailed analysis on navigating affordable shores in retirement, you may go to 10 Cheapest Beach Towns to Retire in The World.
Navigating Affordable Shores in Retirement
Retirees often dream of retiring to the soothing sounds of ocean waves, basking under the breathtaking sunset to mark the commencement of their golden period of life. However, affordability often hampers their dreams of a beach retirement from turning into a reality. Vacasa, Inc. (NASDAQ:VCSA), a leading vacation rental management platform in North America, notes how Lake Anna in Virginia is one of the best places to buy a beach house as of 2023. However, homes in Lake Anna are selling for 17.3% more today than they were a year ago. The median price of a home in the region as of December 2023 is $524,900, according to Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN). While a 12.1% capitalization rate in the area may seem lucrative, as reported by Vacasa, Inc. (NASDAQ:VCSA), the price figure poses a serious challenge for the average retiree seeking budget-friendly housing options.
Hatteras Island, another sunny coastal destination based in Northern Carolina, reports a median listing home price of $618,000, whereas Navarre Beach in Florida is selling for a median price of $715,000. While these may be lucrative beach destinations similar to Lake Anna, the average retiree faces a similar challenge of affordability. Even renowned U.S. beach towns like Melbourne, Vero Beach, Murrells Inlet, and Tampa present median home prices surpassing the $350,000 threshold, underscoring the challenges faced by retirees seeking affordable seaside havens. Expensive waterfront destinations aren’t all there is to the US or even the world, however. Retirees can find many affordable beachfront retirement communities if they look at the right places. For instance, Century Village East, a retirement community in Deerfield Beach, is an affordable yet active lifestyle beachfront retirement community where the starting home prices are astonishingly in the low $100s. Berkshire Forest in Myrtle Beach is another retirement community offering homes in the mid $100s range, and there are yet many others.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge the fluctuations in the real estate market when considering the purchase of a beachfront property. Prudent decision-making is also paramount in navigating this dynamic landscape.
“The real estate market has changed significantly since we published this report last year. Interest rates are higher, mortgage applications have slowed and generally, the market has cooled.”
– Daned Kirkham, senior director of real estate for Vacasa, Inc. (NASDAQ:VCSA).
The hike in prices across the country isn’t only being felt by retirees. However, this demographic is the most likely to be affected by the housing crisis in the country. According to USA Today, given America doesn’t dramatically increase its supply of homes for people aged 65 and above, it is highly unlikely that this cohort will be able to afford an appropriate home for themselves. A Harvard report further notes that by 2040, the number of households led by someone aged 80 or older will inflate to 17 million, reinstating the notion that more and more seniors will struggle with expenses, specifically housing, in the future.
“It’s very sad. As researchers we’re looking at these numbers, but behind all that is people’s daily lives. It’s really frustrating to see the challenges seniors are facing in the housing market. We will all be there one day.”
– Linna Zhu, a fellow at the Urban Institute whose research focuses on housing for older adults.
Due to the reasons mentioned above, more and more seniors are now looking for an option outside of the US to realize their dream of living in a waterfront beach destination. For this reason, we have compiled some of the cheapest beach towns to retire in the world.
To compile the list of cheapest beach towns to retire in the world, we have used several sources such as our list of cheapest beach towns to live, HGTV, Forbes, Travel & Leisure, and Live & Invest Overseas. We also hunted down forums such as Quora and Reddit to determine other beach towns that retirees are recommending from around the world. Next, we ranked our places on the basis of their median home price per square meter, sourced from property guides such as Properstar, Global Property Guide, Dot Property, and others. Places were ranked in descending order from the highest median price to the lowest.
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Here are the cheapest beach towns to retire in the world:
25. Phuket, Thailand
Median Home Price (per m²): $3,257
Retirees can immerse themselves in the idyllic waterfront lifestyle of Phuket, one of the cheapest beach towns to retire in the world. The island is home to more than 115,000 expats from all over the globe. A retiree can easily afford a full-time helper for around $350 here. Meanwhile, food and groceries cost around $400, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $500, and the overall cost of living for an individual retiree is $1,500 on average.
24. Tulum, Mexico
Median Home Price (per m²): $3,096
Revered for its pristine beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and pleasant climate, Tulum stands out as an affordable beach town to retire to. Retirees are drawn to Phuket as a wellness hub, valuing its extensive offerings of yoga studios, wellness retreats, and holistic health centers. Covering rent, an individual retiree can live a comfortable lifestyle here for $2,000 a month.
23. Valencia, Spain
Median Home Price (per m²): $2,602
The beautiful city of Valencia is famous for its beautiful architecture, delectable cuisine, and relaxed pace of life. Retirees who wish for a peaceful beach lifestyle can choose this affordable retirement destination as their home. According to International Living, a couple retiring in the city can expect to pay $2,230 per month.
22. Mazatlan, Mexico
Median Home Price (per m²): $2,569
One of the most affordable coastal cities to retire in is Mazatlan, Mexico. Boasting over 10 miles of sandy beaches, it is the best amalgamation of a beach and colonial lifestyle for retirees. There is a large expat community here, the music scene is vibrant, and the cost of living is one of the cheapest in the world. A one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around $600, while an individual retiree can manage to live comfortably under $1,500 per month.
21. Las Palmas, Spain
Median Home Price (per m²): $2,360
Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria in Spain, is one of the most affordable beach towns to retire in the world. Boasting a delightful blend of Spanish charm, pleasant climate, and a vibrant cultural scene, retirees will find life in this city to be quite satisfying and comfortable.
20. Bocas del Toro, Panama
Median Home Price (per m²): $2,249
Bocas del Toro in Panama can be classified as one of the most beautiful places to retire in the world. The region boasts a thriving expat community, a laid-back lifestyle, and affordable living costs. An individual retiree can spend a comfortable retirement here on an average of $1,800 per month, while a one-bedroom apartment costs $900 per month to rent.
19. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Median Home Price (per m²): $2,204
Another vibrant beach town on our list is Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. According to Nomad List, an expat can live in the city for an average of $1,065 per month. A one-bedroom apartment costs $428 per month on average, and overall, a retiree will find living here to be a relaxing experience.
18. Alanya, Turkey
Median Home Price (per m²): $2,189
The resort town of Alanya in Turkey is one of the best small beach towns to retire in the world. Owing to its Mediterranean climate, historic sites, and breathtaking beaches, retirees get to enjoy a laid-back waterfront lifestyle without breaking the bank.
17. San Juan, Philippines
Median Home Price (per m²): $2,000
San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico and its largest city, stands out as an idyllic yet affordable beach retirement destination. Its inviting beaches, warm climate, and vibrant local culture attract seniors from around the world, allowing them to enjoy the beach lifestyle for as little as $800 per person.
16. Unguja, Tanzania
Median Home Price (per m²): $2,000
Unguja, also known as Zanzibar Island, is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. Characterized by white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, retirees can enjoy a relaxed pace of life here.
15. Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic
Median Home Price (per m²): $1,934
Las Terrenas is one of the cheapest places to retire beachfront. The town has much to offer to retirees, from casual and upscale dining options to modern amenities and European sophistication, it doesn’t get any better in terms of a waterfront living. An individual person can retire here for as low as $1,000 per month.
14. Pedasi, Panama
Median Home Price (per m²): $1,898
One of the safest places to retire in the Panama region is Pedasi. An individual retiree can live well on $1,500 a month, enjoying pristine beaches and mesmerizing ocean views along the way. The village offers all the required amenities, while the city of Las Tablas is less than an hour away.
13. Laborie, St. Lucia
Median Home Price (per m²): $1,860
Laborie in St. Lucia is another one of our cheapest beach towns to retire in the world. The village lies on the south coast of Saint Lucia, revered for its picturesque surroundings and laid-back atmosphere.
12. Hội An, Vietnam
Median Home Price (per m²): $1,796
Hội An, a city in Vietnam, lies on the country’s central coast and offers retirees an affordable beachfront destination to call home. Known for its serene landscapes, delicious cuisine, and proximity to beautiful beaches, it is an ideal choice for those who wish to spend their golden years under the water and sun.
11. Azores, Portugal
Median Home Price (per m²): $1,560 The Azores, an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic, allures retirees with its charming coastal cliffs, lush greenery, and majestic volcanic craters. Compared to mainland Portugal, the cost of living in the Azores is relatively cheaper, and an individual retiree can afford to live here for an average of $1,300 per month.
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Disclosure: none. 25 Cheapest Beach Towns to Retire in The World is originally published on Insider Monkey.