9. Santa Fe: A 24 percent decrease in median home prices over the past two years has helped drag the price-to-income ratio in Santa Fe to 1.8 for the fourth quarter of 2009, which is below its 2.5 average for the 15 years ending in 2003. Lois Sury, president of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors, ticks off a number of reasons why seniors should consider taking advantage of this increased affordability and buy property in the area. Attractions include great skiing, hiking, medical facilities, arts, as well as a rich cultural history. "Here we have this beautiful, sometimes cobalt-blue sky that sits on your shoulders," Sury says. "That's what people come here for—it's the sun sets and the mild climate, [and] the friendly people."
10. Santa Cruz, Calif.: Median home prices in the California costal community of Santa Cruz have plummeted more than 57 percent since 2007, reducing its price-to-income ratio to 2.8 for the fourth quarter of 2009. The average price-to-income ratio for Santa Cruz was 4.3 for the 15 years ending in 2003. Like Napa, Santa Cruz offers seniors a pleasant environment from which to launch their golden years, and the recent home price declines make it all the more attractive, Walsh says. "Santa Cruz [and Napa]…are trading at the exact same price they were eight years ago," he says. "That's a heck of a deal."