The Best Places for Veterans to Live [Part II]
Military families move around, a lot. It is part of the job, and they have grown used to that constant inconstancy: switching schools, making new friends, finding a new job for the spouse, etc. So when a member of the armed forces leaves the military, finding a place that their family can call home is not always obvious after not having roots for a prolonged period of time.
Best Places for Veterans with Families
Here are some of the best places for veterans and their families to settle down once their military service has concluded once factoring in cost of living, veteran unemployment rates, the housing market, and the availability of VA home loans:
Military families move around, a lot. It is part of the job, and they have grown used to that constant inconstancy: switching schools, making new friends, finding a new job for the spouse, etc. So when a member of the armed forces leaves the military, finding a place that their family can call home is not always obvious after not having roots for a prolonged period of time. Here are some of the best places for veterans and their families to settle down once their military service has concluded once factoring in cost of living, veteran unemployment rates, the housing market, and the availability of VA home loans:
According to VA.gov, Jacksonville, Florida, is home to between 80,000 and 90,000 veterans, and for good reason. Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida, mostly due to its large geographical footprint, including 22-miles of beaches, delicious coastal cuisine, and an elaborate park system. All of that, coupled with the climate, makes Jacksonville a compelling place for a military family to settle down after leaving the armed forces.
By the numbers, Jacksonville is just under the national average in cost of living at 99.5, with 100 being the average. For housing, Jacksonville comes in quite a bit under the national average with a median home price of $180,300, meaning your housing budget won’t have to stretch the rest of your budget, with VA home loan options available as well.
The Jacksonville area has six VA Health Centers and two VA Benefit Centers, meaning you won’t have to go far to access those resources, but can spend your time working on your new life outside the military.
Nashville, Tennessee, is the perfect combination of big city, small town, desirable climate, and cost of living. There is plenty for a family to do in Nashville, from country music to professional sporting events to inspired cuisine. With five VA Health Centers and eight VA Benefits Centers within an hour of Nashville, making a life in the suburbs can be a dream for a military family looking to find a place they can call home.
There are between 30,000 and 40,000 veterans living in Nashville, with that number climbing as Nashville continues to grow into a business and cultural center in addition to it being the Healthcare capital of the country.
Nashville’s cost of living rate sits at 101.4, just above the national average, with housing sitting at 113.3. Because of this, finding housing in the city itself can be cost-prohibitive, but choosing to live in a suburb of Nashville can help bring down the median home cost of $262,000 in Nashville-proper. And to make buying a home more affordable, Nashville has VA home loans available for veterans looking to buy a home.
Are you seeing a trend? The places to live all seem to be in areas with relatively warm climates. Ending our shortlist of cities for veterans with families to live is Gilbert, Arizona. A suburb of Phoenix, Gilbert provides warm, dry weather, with access to all of the amenities a family needs: sports, art, food, education, etc. Gilbert has its own VA outpatient clinic, with close access to the VA Medical Center in Phoenix, as well as four VA Benefits Centers within 35 miles.
Gilbert is in Maricopa County, which boasts a veteran population of over 250,000. By those numbers alone it would seem that Gilbert, Arizona, is a hot spot for veterans to settle down after leaving the military. Even so, the cost of living in Gilbert is a bit above the national average at 116.3, with housing coming in at 143.9 with a median home cost of $332,800. And while this is the priciest of the three cities we’ve decided to focus on, the benefits enjoyed by Gilbert residents come at a price, but a price we feel is warranted. Families can enjoy the desert botanical gardens, major league sporting events, and a robust arts scene, including the musical instruments museum.
For veterans looking to find a place that they and their families can call home, we’d suggest you at least look into Jacksonville, Nashville, and Gilbert. All three of these cities have easy accessibility to VA home loans, which can help you get into the home you want so that you and your family can live the lives you want.