Retiring to a College Town

University Building Facade.Retirees are flocking to university towns, drawn by the intellectual life, health care, culture, and youthful vibes.  They are looking to some of the nation’s most dynamic college towns for intellectual stimulation, top-shelf medical care, and new homes.

According to one Oregon couple, “Why not move to Austin, Texas?”, and spend the time enjoying the “cultural stimulation of a university,” a better climate, great restaurants, a music scene that is “off the charts,” plus no state income tax.

In the past, the great magnet for retirees was Florida, but today more of them are looking beyond the Sunshine State.  Now, college towns, with their vibrant cultural scenes and intellectual pursuits, are proving to be popular retirement destinations.  While the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t consistently track relocation by age, real-estate agents, chambers of commerce and visitor bureaus in areas known for higher education are reporting a significant uptick in interest from retirees.

Local universities are serving this growing demographic with special offerings.  At the University of Texas at Austin, for example, seniors can study things like the history of whaling or the ancient Olmec civilization in classes led by volunteer instructors who are often retired executives or professors. (Teaching opportunities are also part of the draw for retirees.)images (2)

Meanwhile, builders are tapping into the seniors market with affordable low-maintenance condominiums and other high-end developments loaded with amenities.  Real-estate agents say they are fielding about 25% more inquiries from retirees today compared with five years ago, when most sales were to young families.  “We are coaching our builders on smaller, more versatile homes, in near-to-the-school neighborhoods that help to avoid campus traffic congestion.”

“We were looking for a place that had good medical care,” says another retiree.  High on the wish list: a teaching hospital.  “The teaching hospital environment gives a great number of doctors with better qualifications, and the medical infrastructure is permanent to the area.”

And don’t forget about all those sports!  There’s a lot to enjoy in a college town.

Retired investors report three main factors that most impact where they chose to spend their retirement years – cost of living, proximity to family and friends, and the weather.  But, the growing interest in medical and educational infrastructure is going a long way to closing the deal.



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