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Top 10 places to retire in Florida: Where did Ocala, Gainesville and Tavares rank?

Ocala, Gainesville, Lakeland and Tavares have been named among the Top 10 best places to retire in Florida in a survey published Feb. 23.

GoBankingRates used data from Best Places to compile the list.

The survey uses as its criteria the median price of homes, average rent, activities, health care costs and climate.

Palm Bay was ranked No. 1, followed by Ocala.

Ocala easily makes the list because it has the most affordable housing, said Kevin Sheilley, president and CEO of the Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP.)

“It also has phenomenal health care,” he said, citing AdventHealth and HCA hospitals.

The other reason is that “Ocala is a real, authentic place,” with a history and culture, Sheilley said.

The city is also growing rapidly. U-Haul has listed Ocala as the second-most one-way moving trips for young professionals, Shielley said,

The survey lists Ocala’s median home price at $278,500 and rent at $1,500 per month.

“Ocala is known for its beautiful natural springs and as the horse capital of the world,” an article accompanying the survey says. Recreation opportunities include golf courses, parks and cultural events.

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