Every autumn, central Texas is witness to a massive seasonal migration as the Snowbird flees cold weather from as far away as Canada and as nearby as the Panhandle. But don’t run for your bird-watching binoculars. “Snowbirds” are actually retirees who head south every year to avoid the harsh winters of northern areas. The Texas Hill Country is a popular destination for these seasonal travelers, thanks to our mild weather, beautiful landscape and low cost of living. After just a few winters here, however, many find it harder and harder to make the trip back when spring arrives. Thanks to the many benefits living in the Texas Hill Country brings, what begins as a constant back-and-forth between two residences, often results in retirees making the Hill Country a permanent home.
A large benefit to retiring in the Hill Country is the low cost of living — one of the many reasons Money Magazine annually names the area as a top retirement location. Texas is one of the most affordable states for living, resulting in many transplants finding that their dollar buys much more square footage and land. Often retirees from out-of-state find that for the same price they paid in their home state, they can now upgrade their homes or bank the savings. Home maintenance costs are also often reduced thanks to mild weather, a lack of harsh winters and lower heating costs. Texas residents also do not pay a state tax on personal income or retirement income. While owners do pay a property tax for their homes, usually retirees enjoy the benefit of a tax break in this area. Many can claim a standard $15,000 homestead exemption on their property, as well as a $10,000 exemption if they are over the age of 65. Also, retirees can opt to build a home in a Hill Country community that provides for an AG Value Tax. By following certain requirements, you not only enjoy a sizeable lot of scenic land with nature as your neighbor, you can garner a tax savings.
The Hill Country is particularly beneficial for retirees who are veterans. Its close proximity to multiple military bases allows veterans easy access to the benefits of their service, the support of a large community of fellow service people, and access to multiple VA medical hospitals and resources.
In addition to a better cost of living, retirees in the Hill Country enjoy a wonderful style of living. Between beautiful weather and outdoors, retirees of all activity levels are able to enjoy the area year-round. Choose to explore man-made paths through lovely wooded area, or challenge yourself further with bike rides through hilly terrain. Or just recline on your back porch at sunrise and sunset to watch for your Hill Country property neighbors, like deer and hummingbirds. The Hill Country is also rich with cultural events, from a world-famous music scene, to talented regional artists and theaters. Its proximity to both smaller, close-knit communities as well as the two major cities of Austin and San Antonio allow residents to select from a variety of entertainment, whether it’s joining a local book club or senior citizens group, visiting restaurants from quirky trailer to four-star, or traveling to Austin for a free summer orchestra concert on the banks of Auditorium Shores.
The next time you dream about escaping those harsh winters or just getting away for some peace and quiet, consider making a lifestyle change rather than just a temporary change of scenery. Retiring to the Texas Hill Country means living someplace you can be happy year-round.