On Top of the World has been named the most popular active adult community of 2019 – beating out 99 others, including the mega-retirement community of The Villages.
The honor comes from 55places.com, which recently released its annual list of the 100 most popular retirement communities in the United States. On Top of the World, which offers homes from below $100,000 to the low $400,000s, was lauded for the many activities available to residents, Saturday night entertainment at the community’s square and its golf-cart accessibility.
One resident called it a great place to live and said he would recommend it to anyone who is active. He said the activities he enjoys include softball, wallyball, racquetball, pickleball and more.
“People I meet while playing all these sports are nice and interesting,” the resident, identified as Andrew C., said.
Another resident, identified as Becky A., agreed.
“There is so much to do and, if you’re bored, it’s your own fault!” she said. “I’ve met some of the most wonderful people and have developed a very strong circle of friends. Being single, it’s an incredible feeling to not feel alone anymore!”
The Villages, located across 70 square miles in Marion, Lake and Sumter Counties, came in fifth on the 55places.com list. The community, which is home to more than 125,000 people, is in a heavy growth mode and has the greenlight to build more than 49,000 new homes, condominiums and apartments in the Southern Oaks area south of State Road 44 in Wildwood. And the sprawling retirement community recently purchased 1,127 acres in Leesburg that could contain as many as 2,800 more homes near the Florida Turnpike.
One Villages resident who has lived in the community for a year and a half called the largest retirement community in the world her paradise.
“Although 74% of residents are married couples, there is more to do for singles than you will ever find anyplace else,” Donna N. said. “It is a very large community, but with so many residents, they can offer more clubs, activities, classes than any other retirement community in the world.”
Another resident called it a golf cart rider’s dream.
“Multiple town centers with restaurants, shops, and bars. It’s Disney World for retirees! I love it!” said Francis J.
On Top of the World was ranked second in the 2018 listing behind Sun City Hilton Head in Bluffton, S.C. That community, which offers homes ranging from the high $100,000s to the high $800,000s, dropped to number four on the list. And The Villages moved up 13 spots from its 18th-place ranking on the 2018 list.
All told, 40 communities from Florida made the list, followed by 17 from Arizona, 10 from New Jersey, seven from California and six from South Carolina. The regions with the most communities represented are Central Florida (16), Central Arizona (15), Central Gulf Coast of Florida (10), Southeast Florida (nine) and Southern New Jersey (six).
The top-10 communities on the 55places.com list are:
- 1. On Top of the World, Ocala;
- 2. Latitude Margaritaville, Daytona Beach;
- 3. Solivita, Kissimmee;
- 4. Sun City Hilton Head, Bluffton, S.C.;
- 5. The Villages, Marion, Lake and Sumter counties;
- 6. Sun City Texas, Georgetown, Texas;
- 7. Sun City Center, Fla.;
- 8. Kings Point, Sun City Center, Fla.;
- 9. Sun City Grand, Surprise, Ariz.;
- 10. Pelican Preserve, Fort Myers.
Others of local interest included on the list are:
- 13. Stone Creek, Ocala;
- 27. Del Web Spruce Creek, Summerfield;
- 49. The Plantation, Leesburg;
- 55. Stonecrest, Summerfield;
- 68. Ocala Palms, Ocala;
- 74. Royal Highlands, Leesburg;
- 75. Legacy, Leesburg;
- 90. The Villages of Citrus Hills, Hernando;
- 100. Spruce Creek South, Summerfield.
The rankings by 55places.com were based a series of internal data points for every active adult and lifestyle community listed on the website. Those points included:
- Unique pageviews: The total number of pageviews that a community page received between April 2018 and March 2019.
- User account saved communities: The total number of times a 55places.com user saved a community on his or her user account for tracking and alerts between January and March 2019.
- Number of Leads: The total number of internal sales leads generated by each community on 55places.com between April 2018 and March 2019.
- Number of Sales: The total number of home sales in each community that initiated as a lead on 55places.com between April 2018 and March 2019.
Each community was assigned a weighted score per category based on the total numbers in each. Those scores were then added together for a total score. Each community was then sorted from highest score to lowest score to determine the overall rankings, the website says.