John and Nancy James, both 70 years old, put an offer on a place last winter in Palm Desert, Calif. The idea was to play golf and relax in the sun when it was too cold at their main home in Bend, Ore.
Soon after, a trip to Texas threw their classic retirement plan for a loop. Why not move to Austin, they thought, and spend their time enjoying the “cultural stimulation of a university,” great restaurants, a music scene that is “off the charts,” plus no state income tax.
“You go to Palm Springs to die. You go to Austin to live,” Mr. James jokes. The couple bought a lot in the capital’s Barton Creek neighborhood and are building a 3,500-square-foot, one-story house that should be ready by the fall. The total cost will be about $1.3 million, says Mr. James, a semiretired commercial real-estate developer.
In the past the great magnet for retirees was Florida, but today more of them are looking beyond the Sunshine State. Now, college towns, with their vibrant cultural scenes and intellectual pursuits, are proving to be popular retirement destinations.
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