Active adults enjoy retirement in social communities

George Harmer (left) enjoys the camaraderie and many activities Sun City Festival has to offer, such as golf.
Photo courtesy of the Harmer family

George Harmer (left) enjoys the camaraderie and many activities Sun City Festival has to offer, such as golf. Photo courtesy of the Harmer family

When Barbara and George Harmer entered their 60s, the couple bought a home with a pool in an active adult community called Sun City Festival in Buckeye, Ariz., in pursuit of a social lifestyle and a drier climate. "The whole neighborhood was so friendly, they came over and introduced themselves," says Barbara, 66, who joined several of the community's clubs.

Sun City Festival is a community geared toward residents age 55 or older developed by Del Webb, a highly rated company with new homes for sale in more than 50 developments in 21 states all across the nation. "Some like destination retirement," says Jacque Petroulakis, a Del Webb spokeswoman. "Some want to stay close to where they've lived all their lives."

Del Webb is among several companies that target active adults, including DR Horton and Shea Homes. These communities feature amenities like community centers, golf courses, gyms and more, which are financed through homeowners' association fees. At Sun City, where new homes range from $130,000 to the low $400,000s, the yearly HOA fees are just under $1,200.

The Harmers keep busy golfing, playing poker and taking their ATV on jaunts through the desert. "As you get older, you need more activities," Barbara says. "To keep your mental and physical health is important."

— additional reporting by Staci Giordullo and Meranda Watling

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How great is it when it's 120 degrees outside?

My wife retired 3 years ago, and I followed when I turned 62, about a year ago. We bought a house in Sun City, AZ, about 40 years old, and where the yearly fees are 420 and the taxes are less than 1000 per year, about a fifth of our our house in CT, which we sold. We love Sun City. It is a great place to retire, and we both recommend it highly.

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