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Clearwater, Fla.
Clearwater, Fla.
Clearwater, Fla., has a vibrant performing arts scene scene.
Population: 107,700
% over 50: 42%
Median home price: $145,000
Top state income tax: None
Cost of living index: 92

This quintessential Florida beach town might have been out of reach for budget-conscious retirees five years ago. But now with median home prices in the area about half what they were at the peak, Clearwater is an ideal place to downsize affordably.

You can find small but well-maintained homes in established neighborhoods for around $150,000; a $200,000 budget gets you a two-bedroom condo on the beach.

With no state income taxes and a homestead exemption of up to $50,000 for residents, a move to the Sunshine State is also a good way to trim your tax bill.

But there's more to Clearwater than affordability. This compact, bike-friendly city has little in the way of crime and congestion but a lot in the way of restaurants, shopping, golf and performing arts. Then, of course, there are the beaches -- which often rank among the cleanest in the state. When it's time to get out of the sun, drive 20 miles south to St. Petersburg to ogle masterpieces at the Museum of Fine Arts or the Salvador Dalí Museum.

See complete data and interactive map for Clearwater

Demographic information provided by Onboard Informatics.
Median home price: Based on 2010 data.
Cost of living index: The national average is 100; the lower a place's number, the less expensive it is. An index value of 95 means the town's cost of living is 95% of the national median.

Last updated September 16 2011: 12:56 PM ET
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