New Migration Trend! Retirees Seek Tennessee's Tax Advantage, Milder Climate, What Changed

New Migration Trend! Retirees Seek Tennessee’s Tax Advantage, Milder Climate, What Changed

KNOXVILLE, TENN. – Florida has always been the most popular destination for retirees to spend their golden years. Now, landlocked Tennessee and other Southern Appalachian states are seeing a change in the tide.

Retirees are moving to our area for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that baby boomers are trading in the sunshine for four distinct seasons.

Nothing about Randy and Laura Zimnowski’s retirement is too basic for them to appreciate, like cooking avocado toast together.

After a dismal start to their retirement in Florida, the lively couple, who were originally from the Northeast, relocated to the expansive Tellico Village neighborhood in Loudon County.

“The cost of housing increased, as did the cost of insurance; after hurricanes, the cost of all insurances doubled,” Randy stated. “People are struggling to even pay their insurance premiums.”

New Migration Trend! Retirees Seek Tennessee's Tax Advantage, Milder Climate, What Changed (1)

Laura went on, “The summertime heat just got to me.” “Since I’m indoors during the winter in the north, I might as well do the same,” I reasoned as I spent more time indoors with the air conditioner. However, I did miss the seasons, so it wasn’t the same.

Their desire in reto relocateoudon County was sparked by their frequent vacation travels along Interstate 75.

“I told Randy that the changing of the seasons and the lovely rolling hills reminded me of Pennsylvania, where I grew up,” Laura remarked.

It’s been wonderful to be able to see this place after all these years, Randy remarked.

Certainly, they are not the only Zimnowskis. Many retirees are picking Tennessee over Florida, according to Tellico Village staff. Beth Kuberka closely monitors the figures in her role as Tellico Village’s head of marketing and communications.

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“For the last five years at least, Florida has consistently ranked among our top five,” she stated. Specifically, 13.7 percent of all newcomers to Tellico Village last year were from Florida. That is quite a significant amount.

According to her, our region satisfies the four criteria that people look for in a retirement community: cost of living, four distinct seasons, a friendly population, and accessibility to other locations.

The Zimnowskis have embraced everything Tellico Village has to offer and are appreciative that they live close enough to their grandchildren in the Midwest to visit often.

However, what steps is the state taking to address the surge in population and those in need of housing but unable to afford a Tellico Village setting? House prices range from $400,000 to millions of dollars.

The Advance Knox Plan, which limits urban growth, slows down the rise in housing costs, and protects the natural beauty that draws people to our area, just came into force on May 1.

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The State’s 2024 Economic Report acknowledged that the Knoxville region will continue to face difficulties finding affordable homes.

And what about the additional volume of traffic? To addressessic other issues in both urban and rural areas, the Transportation Modernization Act is allocating $3.3 billion.

The Zimnowskis are happy that they were able to relocate to Tennessee slightly ahead of schedule. They moved out of Florida while housing costs were still reasonable and there were escalating costs there.

Laura clarified, “Don’t get me wrong, I still like Florida.” Although I enjoy visiting, I’m happy that we moved.

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“This feels like heaven,” chuckled Randy. “There is no doubt about it.”

When you can find delight in something as simple as having breakfast in the sun sunroom know you’re in the perfect spot.

The Tennessee State Data Center lists Loudon County as one of the ten Tennessee counties with the fastest growth due to its popularity.

Tennessee’s overall population growth rate is among the highest in the country. In 2023, 90 out of Tennessee’s 95 counties saw growth. This is an increase over the previous year when 81 counties in the state reported seeing a rise in the number of movers.

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