Last modified: September 28, 2015
If you’re looking to retire to an affordable beach town, look no further than Virginia Beach.
Our city (small-ish, at about 450,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau), features resort living coupled with moderate winter weather, terrific summer temperatures and miles, and miles and MILES of beach (Virginia Beach’s shoreline is 35 miles long), with summer water temperatures averaging a balmy 81 degrees F in August.
Home prices are reasonable. Trulia.com reported in October 2014 that the median sales price (half of sales were lower and half were higher) between July and October was about $245,000. The median price for a one-bedroom home was $154,000; a two-bedroom abode was about $160,000; while a three-bedroom house sold for about $220,000.
It is a bit more expensive to live in Virginia Beach than in other cities, but its cost of living is still reasonable. Sperling’s Best Places (BestPlaces.net) reports that the area’s cost of living index is at 110 (with the average across the country being 100). To compare, Richmond, VA’s cost of living index is 95, while Washington, DC’s is 154. Charlotteville’s is 123.
If you’d like to continue working either full or part time, you probably can: Virginia’s unemployment rate is only about 5.5 percent.
In addition, Virginia’s combined local and state sales tax rate is just 5 percent (putting it at 44th in the nation, reports the Tax Foundation).
If you love to golf, know that you pretty much can golf nine or 10 months of the year here.
If you ever tire of the beach (ha!), you can always drive to Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains for some hiking and leaf peeping in the fall.
Closer to your retirement home, you can enjoy the area’s Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (offering visitors thousands of acres of sand dunes and marsh). Try surfing (the area is home to the country’s longest running surfing competition).
As for entertainment, Virginia Beach’s Town Center is a 17-city block destination with restaurants, music venues, restaurants, and the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts.
You’ll find yourself retired with plenty of former naval officers around you because Virginia Beach (located quite close to the naval station at Norfolk) is a popular retirement spot for these servicemen and –women, as well as retirees who couldn’t take the humidity of Florida. (Such folks are called “half backs” in that they moved from a northern state to Florida, then moved “half back” to the middle of the East Coast to Virginia Beach.)