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Here’s why you probably won’t retire in Puget Sound region

Julio Ruiz of J.R.R. Roofing paused in the heat while he and his crew removed old roofing on a house, as the temperature pushed 115 degrees in Tucson, Ariz. in June. Despite sweltering summers, Tucson’s total days with sun pushed the city to the top of Zumper’s list of best places to retire.
Julio Ruiz of J.R.R. Roofing paused in the heat while he and his crew removed old roofing on a house, as the temperature pushed 115 degrees in Tucson, Ariz. in June. Despite sweltering summers, Tucson’s total days with sun pushed the city to the top of Zumper’s list of best places to retire. Associated Press file, 2017

Blame the cool rainy seasons and pricey real estate for our low rankings in a new retirement survey.

According to Zumper’s 2017 list of best places to retire, the Tacoma-Seattle-Bellevue metro area ranked 114 out of 117. Ranking lower were the Abilene, Texas, Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts/New Hampshire and Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York metro areas.

The apartment rental website said it ranked the results using various data from the U.S. Census Bureau, FBI crime report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its own database.

Those results gave us “an overall D+ grade,” according to the site.

“Although (Tacoma-Seattle-Bellevue) ranked high in the household income and safety categories, which is great, the high scores in the rent and housing categories means this area is lacking affordability,” according to Crystal Chen, media representative for Zumper.

“The negative categories outweighed the positive scores to rank (the metro area) in the particularly low end of this index.”

The survey gave nothing for the Bay Area to gloat about, either. The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California area ranked just above us.

The No. 1 metro area for retirees, according to Zumper, is Tucson, Arizona, followed by Redding, California, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida.

Good news for Boeing workers moving from the Puget Sound area: Mesa, Arizona, came in at No. 4.

The Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, Florida metro area rounded out the top 5.

The median rent for two-bedroom units was among factors in the rankings. For Tacoma, Zumper this week shows it at $1,295. Seattle was $2,404, just above Bellevue at $2,284.

For Tucson, it’s $850.

According to the report: “The Tucson metro area ranked as the best place to retire due to its low cost of living, the high percentage of retirees overall in the total population, and temperate weather conditions.

“On average, the chance to see the sunshine is 85 percent on a given day and the average total snowfall in a year is only 1 inch.”

Obviously, our summers (normally without all our current wildfire haze) are worthy of plenty of other Americans’ vacation time, as evidenced by other publications (such as the Outside Magazine survey with Seattle included on this year’s “America’s best towns ever”).

And who can forget that time this year when Washington ranked as the best place to experience summer by Thrillist?

It seems our summers don’t make up for other factors.

Chen explained: “This area ranked particularly low in the retiree population, access to health care and weather categories. So the percentage of this metro’s overall population over 65 is low, there is a low number of physician offices per capita, and the probability of sunshine is low and there is a low minimum temperature.”

All of this comes on the heels of Monday’s Northwest Multiple Listing Service roundup of area home prices for July, where King County was at $658,000 for median home prices and Pierce County was at $312,250.

Tucson? $165,500, according to Zillow.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell

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