Bella Vista is a beautiful place, regardless of the season, but its low cost of living, temperate weather and active outdoor recreational offerings put the village-like town at the top of the list for retirement, according to Money Magazine.
The city of of 27,600 boasts a median home price of $102,000 with 52% of the population at age 50 or older. The median monthly rental cost $895 and the cost-of-living-index was 95, according to the Money report.
Nearly 90% of the residents are homeowners and the annual taxes average $840 per year, which makes the cost-of-living 5% below the national average. Retirees say they chose Bella Vista because their retirement dollars go further, and there are so many leisure activities to chose from at minimal costs.
The planned community was built in 1965 as a retirement village, but over the recent years more young families have moved in because of the home affordability and outdoor amenities: seven golf courses, swimming pools, seven lakes, 36,000 acres of native streams and hardwood forests and numerous trails — natural and paved for walking and biking.
The region’s growing job market is also a plus for retirees who want to find part-time employment. The local unemployment rate in September was 4.4% which is below the 5.9% national rate reported in September.
A lack of public transportation and a 10-mile drive to the nearest hospital were deemed negatives. At least one of those issues is being addressed in the coming months as Mercy Health System will open an emergency room in its newest clinic in the heart of Bella Vista. Not mentioned in the report was the traffic woes during rush hours into and out of the town as the majority of the working residents commute to Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale or Fayetteville for their jobs.
Money tagged Sioux Falls South Dakota and Morgantown, West Virginia as runners up to Bella Vista in this year's report.