Retiring in Florida vs. Arizona

Choosing between Arizona and Florida for retirement?

They’re two popular options! Florida has always been known as a great place for retirement. Arizona is gaining popularity lately. Let’s compare some of the differences! 

Weather 

This is one of the biggest considerations for a retirement location. The nickname “Sunshine State” speaks volumes for what attracts many to Florida. But Arizona is another warm state. The difference? Dry Heat vs. Humidity. It’s a personal preference of course, whether you prefer dry heat with temperatures in the high 90’s and low 100’s (Arizona) or humid heat with temperatures in the high 80’s and low 90’s (Florida). 

Read my blog, “But It’s A Dry Heat” for my experience with both.

But what about Florida Summers and dreaded Hurricane Season? 

Florida is hot in the Summer – there’s no denying that. But what most people don’t realize is that northern U.S cities experience hotter temperatures in the Summer, easily reaching the 90’s and even into the 100’s! We should point out, the max high temperature in Fort Myers last year was only 96℉. 

As for hurricanes, it’s a scary threat of mother nature, just like wildfires and tornados. Except, with hurricanes, you usually have advanced notice and a chance to evacuate ahead of time. We go into more detail about both topics in our blog, “Sweet Sanibel Summertime“.

Affordability – Taxes

Besides weather, affordability is obviously another major consideration of where to retire. Both Florida and Arizona are tax-friendly states for retirees. The effective state property tax rate in Arizona is .85%, and Florida is 1.1%. Click here to read our blog, “Florida Property Taxes Explained“. 

However, Florida outshines Arizona when it comes to income tax. Arizona charges an income tax of between 2.6% and 4.5%, including retirement income, while Florida does not tax income period. 

Affordability – Housing 

How do home values compare between the two? According to an article on Yahoo! Finance, “The median price of all homes in Arizona is $284,900, just a tad cheaper than Florida’s median price of $289,900.”

But obviously this varies city by city within each state. There are higher-end market places in both states. For example, the median price of homes in our market – Sanibel Island, Florida, is $700k. Keep in mind Sanibel is a quaint barrier island with small town appeal and beachfront housing. Click here to see beachfront homes for sale on Sanibel Island. 

Florida Healthcare & Attractions

Florida has always been a popular place for retirees. Therefore, it already has a strong healthcare system in place. Some of the nation’s top-ranked hospitals are in Florida. In fact, our local Southwest Florida Lee Memorial Health system recently received another CMS 5-star rating for 2020. Click here to see all of Lee Health’s accolades

We couldn’t go without mentioning the main attraction of Florida retirement – the beautiful beaches throughout the state! We’re biased to the Gulf Coast of Florida, in particular Southwest Florida, since this is where we live, work and play. Click here to learn more about the beaches of Sanibel and Fort Myers, so you can decide for yourself!


Of course there’s more to choosing your retirement home location than the few short comparisons made here. If you’d like to discuss certain topics in more detail, please don’t hesitate to reach out and send us your questions to team@mccallionrealty.com or speak with us directly at 239-472-1950.

Click here to read more of our articles about retiring on Sanibel Island, Florida.

Jim McCallion About Jim McCallion

Meet the "Marketing Megaphone" and Webmaster behind McCallion & McCallion. After selling his software company, Jim, Susan and kids moved to Sanibel in 2008. With his tech experience, he and Susan bring a fresh approach to island real estate.