There is no shortage of pricey retirement communities across the United States. Yet believe it or not, it is still possible to get a decent place for $100,000 or less. You'll have to pay for shiny and new (although sometimes it's possible to sneak in under $100,000 with a smaller unit in a brand-new building or community). However, there are a number of oldies but goodies out there -- age-restricted, 55-plus developments built in the '60s, '70s, and '80s that are still going strong and offer a wider array of less expensive units. To put together this list, we spoke with brokers in Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania and scoured real estate listings and websites.
WILDWOOD COMMUNITY, ILLINOIS
This retirement community lies amid prairie and farmland out in Sandwich, although it's not so remote that residents can't visit Chicago or the state capital, Springfield, where Abraham Lincoln got his start in state politics. A three-bedroom, two-bath home with more than 1,400 square feet was recently available for $41,995, while a three-bedroom, two-bath home with just over 1,000 square feet was on the market for $28,000.
HOLIDAY ISLAND, ARKANSAS
This retirement community has 5,000 homes spread over 43,000 acres on an island in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. There are lots of amenities -- mini golf, full-fledged 18-hole courses, tennis and basketball courts, a marina, and a clubhouse, to name a few. Retirees have scenic mountain views and lots of properties to pick from in the $40,000 to $100,000 range.
NESHAMINY FALLS, PENNSYLVANIA
Retirees can buy a new home in this retirement community in a rural area outside Philadelphia for less than $80,000, and previously owned units go for less than half that in some cases. Amenities include a heated pool and fitness center and a clubhouse offering a range of social activities, from bingo to dinner dances.
KINGS POINT, FLORIDA
There are more than 7,200 condos at Kings Point, a gated community rolled out in the 1970s and '80s in Delray Beach. Seniors can buy a one- or two-bedroom unit for well under $100,000, with prices starting in the $50,000 range. There are three clubhouses, two 18-hole golf courses, and 28 shuffleboard courts.
HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, ARKANSAS
There are big retirement communities and then there is Hot Springs Village, which sprawls across 26,000 acres in Arkansas' Ouachita Mountains. There are 11 lakes, two marinas, nine golf courses, and lots of opportunities to commune with nature or join one of 200 clubs and civic groups. Home prices generally start at $100,000, though there was a recent listing for two-bed, two-bath, 1,220-square-foot single-family home in need of a little work for $60,000. Townhomes can be found in the $50,000 range.
GARDEN OF PLEASANT PLAINS, NEW JERSEY
This 437-home community is located in Toms River, near the Jersey coast. There are a number of one- or two-bedroom home styles to choose from. A two-bedroom, one-bath brick ranch was recently available for $57,900, and a one-bedroom, one-bath ranch was on the market for $54,900.
PARKSIDE VILLAGE, NEW YORK
Near Buffalo and 10 miles from the Canadian border, Parkside Village is designed to resemble a small country town, with "winding streets" and large lots. The community borders a 308-acre park, as well. A two-bedroom, two-bath home and a two-bedroom, one-bath home were recently for sale for just under $58,000 and $54,000, respectively.
ROSSMOOR VILLAGE, NEW JERSEY
Designed to look like an old-fashioned New England village, this 2,300 "manor" community was built in the late 1960s in Monroe Township. Four two-bedroom, one-bath homes were recently available at $68,000, $69,000, $79,000, and $86,000.
WESTBROOK SENIOR VILLAGE, OHIO
This Ohio retirement community promises "peaceful, small-town living" near the urban attractions of Toledo. There is a heated pool and spa and a clubhouse. A pair of three-bedroom, two-bath units, both over 1,400 square feet, were recently on the market for $68,995 and $70,995.
FAIRFIELD GLADE, TENNESSEE
This 12,500-acre planned community is located 2,000 feet up the Cumberland Plateau in an area known as the state's "Golf Capital." There are 90 holes of golf and 11 spring-fed lakes about an hour and a half from Nashville and Chatanooga. Townhomes start at $70,000.
BELLA VISTA VILLAGE, ARKANSAS
Located in the foothills of the Ozarks in Arkansas, Bella Vista started as a vacation resort in the early 1900s before being converted to a retirement community in the 1960s. While it retains that retirement community feel -- with seven lakes and seven golf courses -- it now has its own mayor. Prices are also inexpensive, with a townhome near the country club recently selling for $72,500.
RED HILL ESTATES, PENNSYLVANIA
Seniors can buy into this retirement community outside Philadelphia for well under $100,000, with a pair of recent listings for two- and three-bedroom homes at $82,000 and $89,000, respectively. There is a clubhouse and two nearby parks, Green Lane Reservoir and Green Lane Park. Allentown is 35 minutes away and Philadelphia is a 90-minute drive.
Condo prices here can run into the hundreds of thousands, but it is still possible to buy in below $100,000 at this Boynton Beach retirement community. A two-bedroom, one-bath condo with lake views was recently on the market for $85,499. Leisureville has three large rec centers -- each with a library, billiards, heated/cooled pool, and kitchen -- as well as three 18-hole golf courses.
COASTAL PLANTATION, NORTH CAROLINA
Near Wilmington in Hampstead, Coastal Plantation has a clubhouse, stocked fishing pond, swimming pool, and biking and walking trails. A 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom ranch recently sold for $93,900.
CENTURY VILLAGE, FLORIDA
Thousands of units are spread over four Century Village locations in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, and West Palm Beach. There are many units for sale under $100,000, including a two-bedroom, two-bath corner unit recently listed for $99,900. Each Century Village has a clubhouse with a 1,000-seat theater for entertainers, bands, shows, movies, and other fun events.
LAKESIDE CROSSING, SOUTH CAROLINA
This retirement community features 692 ranch-style homes near Myrtle Beach in sunny South Carolina. A pair of three-bedroom, two-bath ranches was recently for sale for just under $100,000. In addition to the perks of being near the coast, residents have a clubhouse pub and tennis and shuffleboard courts to stay connected and active.
RAINBERRY BAY, FLORIDA
There are 901 attached and single-family homes at Rainberry Bay, which was built between 1977 and 1989 in Delray. Prices start below $100,000. Residents can rock and roll all night at the Forever Young concert series put on by Rainberry Bay's "New Wave Committee." There is a well-stocked fish pond, a clubhouse with a fitness center, multiple pools and tennis courts, and a Yiddish Heritage Club.
SUN CITY, ARIZONA
One of first 55-plus retirement communities in the country, Arizona's legendary Sun City opened in 1960 near Phoenix and is still going strong. Retirees can get a one- or two-bedroom condo or townhouse for less than $100,000 in this 26,000-home, 11-golf-course community. There are also playing fields and courts of all types, dozens of churches, a synagogue, two libraries, a performing arts center, and a hospital.
PICKWICK PINES RESORT, MISSISSIPPI
Built in the early 2000s, this retirement community in Northern Mississippi is relatively new for a more affordable 55-plus resort. The heart of the community is a 7,500-square-foot "Resorts Lodge" used for live entertainment and a 14,000-square-foot activities center where neighbors can throw parties or work out. A two-bedroom, two-bath home was recently for sale for $100,000.
TIMBER PINES, FLORIDA
This Spring Hill retirement community, built in 1982, offers a country-club-like atmosphere. Pine Hill has 3,452 homes, split between single-family and attached, villa-style homes. While most sell for well over $100,000, it is possible to buy in below that number, as well.
Related: The Best of Florida on a Budget