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Cape named a ‘best place to retire’

By Staff | Jun 16, 2012

For the second consecutive year, Cape Coral has been named by a major media entity as one of the top places in America to retire to.

Forbes has named the city among its top 25 places for retirees to live.

Forbes named the city among the elite for not only its canals and warm weather, but also for its low cost of living, no state income tax, average home price of $108,000 and good air quality.

According to Mayor John Sullivan, it serves as a reminder that Cape Coral is on the way back.

“It just goes to show what a great community Cape Coral is. I won’t dispute it,” Sullivan said. “The people are fantastic, the crime rate is low. I don’t know if anyone can ask for more.”

The honor continues a string of good news for the city. Early this month, preliminary reports had the city’s taxable property valuation increasing by more than 3.5 percent, the greatest jump in all Lee County.

City Councilmember Kevin McGrail thinks that now is the time for retirees to again consider the Cape.

“Housing values are at a more than 20-year low. We have multiple bidders on salt water lots,” McGrail said. “Where are you going to get lots at that price? We have a unique footprint in Florida.”

News like this gets the attention of the business community, and for Chamber of Commerce President Mike Quaintance, the trickle-down effect will have a positive impact on it.

“We’ve been there before. It’s good news for us, especially for our recovery,” Quaintance said. “Assume the city is a pie. The more ingredients you have, the pie gets bigger. Business gets bigger, and there are more job opportunities.”

However, Forbes listed the area’s economy as its only drawback, as housing is still vital to the city’s economy.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t resolved the issue of us being so housing dependent. It was an eye-opener when the economy went into a dive,” Quaintance said. “We’re working with vigor to develop a more diverse economy.”

In 2011, CNN Money listed Cape Coral as one of its 25 best places to retire.

According to its Web site, Forbes reviewed data for hundreds of cities. In addition to financial factors, they looked at weather, availability of doctors, crime rates and encouragement for an active retirement.

Forbes also considered unemployment rates and rankings of job and economic growth compiled by the Milken Institute.

“Our secret is out. Another positive point we can use to let the world know Cape Coral is coming back, thank you,” McGrail said. “Add it up, I can see why we’re looking great once again.”