The 19 best places to retire in America where you can buy a house for under $250,000

Steve Smith/GettyRetirees care most about happiness and housing affordability, according to US News.
  • US News & World Report released its 2019 ranking of the best places to retire in America, and housing affordability was one of the primary determinants.
  • We filtered US News’ ranking to narrow down the list to the cities where a typical home costs less than $US250,000.
  • Lancaster, Pennsylvania, came out on top and four other cities in the state appear in the top 20.

Turns out, Pennsylvania is a fabulous – and affordable – place to retire.

That’s according to US News & World Report’s 2019 ranking of the best places to retire in America. To determine its overall ranking, US News evaluated the 100 largest US metros on six metrics: housing affordability, happiness, desirability, retiree taxes, job market, and healthcare quality. You can read the detailed methodology here.

We filtered the US News list to find the cities where retirees can buy a home for under $US250,000 and find a rental under $US1,600 a month – that’s slightly below the national median asking price for a home and the national median rent, according to Zillow’s latest estimates.

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Fort Myers, Florida, took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, on the best places to retire ranking. They also appear in the top two spots when filtered by housing costs, but the list diverges from there. A total of five cities in Pennsylvania appear in the top 20.


Read more:
What a $US250,000 home looks like in the biggest city in every state

The housing affordability category was weighted 19.7%, second only to happiness, which was weighted 22.5%; these percentages were determined by a survey of Americans who were asked what the most important considerations are when moving.

To determine housing affordability, US News gathered US Census Bureau data on average annual costs for homeowners (mortgage, utilities, and taxes) and average annual costs for renters (rent and utilities).

Keep reading to find out the best places to live affordably in retirement.


19. Charlotte, North Carolina

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Median home price: $US200,942

Median monthly rent: $US893

Overall rank: 34


18. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Median home price: $US200,858

Median monthly rent: $US1,040

Overall rank: 31


17. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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Median home price: $US156,833

Median monthly rent: $US873

Overall rank: 29


16. Greenville, South Carolina

Median home price: $US159,692

Median monthly rent: $US762

Overall rank: 27


15. Houston, Texas

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Median home price: $US216,575

Median monthly rent: $US955

Overall rank: 26


14. Jacksonville, Florida

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Median home price: $US184,508

Median monthly rent: $US984

Overall rank: 24


13. Charleston, South Carolina

Median home price: $US232,983

Median monthly rent: $US1,009

Overall rank: 22


12. Miami, Florida

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Median home price: $US244,600

Median monthly rent: $US1,182

Overall rank: 21


11. Allentown, Pennsylvania

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Median home price: $US163,942

Median monthly rent: $US961

Overall rank: 18


10. Phoenix, Arizona

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Median home price: $US235,333

Median monthly rent: $US989

Overall rank: 17


9. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

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Median home price: $US227,814

Median monthly rent: $US947

Overall rank: 15


8. El Paso, Texas

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Median home price: $US137,842

Median monthly rent: $US765

Overall rank: 11


7. Lakeland, Florida

Median home price: $US160,583

Median monthly rent: $US883

Overall rank: 10


6. San Antonio, Texas

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Median home price: $US200,667

Median monthly rent: $US909

Overall rank: 8


5. Nashville, Tennessee

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Median home price: $US236,267

Median monthly rent: $US899

Overall rank: 7


4. Grand Rapids, Michigan

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Median home price: $US166,608

Median monthly rent: $US786

Overall rank: 6


3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Median home price: $US137,550

Median monthly rent: $US749

Overall rank: 5


2. Fort Myers, Florida

Median home price: $US210,133

Median monthly rent: $US984

Overall rank: 2


1. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Christian Hinkle/Shutterstock

Median home price: $US179,408

Median monthly rent: $US932

Overall rank: 1

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