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Florida has forever been a popular destination for travelers and retirees alike. Who wouldn’t want to live in year-round sunshine with access to pristine beaches and some of the nation’s best attractions? Whether you book an annual vacation to Disney World or venture out on an airboat ride in the Everglades, there’s something for everyone.
For a long time, Florida was considered a relatively affordable state to live in. However, rising inflation and more intense hurricane seasons have driven the cost of living in Florida upward — this has left many Floridians sticker shocked and struggling to afford the essentials.
Knowing the living costs is crucial if you plan to move to Florida. While the state has much to offer its residents, you’ll want to ensure you live comfortably.
Florida’s housing market is robust. The current home value averages about $383,063 — an 8.2% year-over-year increase. Of course, this varies from city to city.
For example, Redfin points out that Miami — the second-largest city in the state — lacks a competitive housing market. You’ll probably pay close to $562,000, which is a 7% increase in price. Yet, listings often sit for about 76 days — up from 56 days in 2022.
On Florida’s west coast, Tampa’s suburb Spring Hill is recognized by PolicyGenius.com as the best place to purchase a home. Home values average $243,145 in Spring Hill, while appreciation is up a whopping 85.4%.
Regarding housing, the cost of living in Florida is high due to homeowner’s insurance. The Insurance Information Institute says the average homeowner’s insurance premium is about $4,000, compared to the rest of the United States at roughly $1,500. Unfortunately, flood insurance is a separate cost.
Flood insurance in Florida ranges from $194 to $3,877 annually — a steep price tag for the 2.5 million homes located in FEMA-designated flood zones. In fact, flood insurance rates are so high that only 43% of Floridians take out a policy, despite the risks.
If you’re going to buy a house in Florida, you’ll need to factor in the costs of utilities. Amid rising inflation, Floridians are responsible for some of the highest utility fees in the United States.
A Florida household usually pays an average of $459.40 monthly in utilities, including electricity, natural gas, water, waste and recycling removal, TV and internet. The rest of the U.S. pays about $60 less.
Electricity eats up the most utility costs, with residents spending $219 monthly or $2,628 annually — 25% higher than the national average. This is because Floridians run their air conditioning year-round.
The cost of living in Florida for utilities will likely worsen as climate change increases global temperatures. An Axios study estimates that Monroe County, including Tampa and Sarasota, will have 35% to 45% more days over 100° Fahrenheit — or 79 days yearly. By 2053, Monroe County residents can expect the weather to reach over 100° F for 112 days throughout the year.
Food expenses typically entail money spent at the supermarket — small grocery stores tend to be more expensive due to fewer bulk items. Also, stores may not offer competitive prices if you live in an area with limited options for grocery shopping.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that a Florida household with four people paid nearly $10,385 for food in 2022, making it the 12th most expensive state for groceries. The national average was about $9,935.
The cost of living in Florida is so high for groceries because there isn’t a state income tax. Therefore, Florida uses a 6% sales and use tax, corporate income taxes and intangible taxes to make up revenue.
Of course, Florida residents could offset some of those costs by shopping for produce at farmer’s markets and local farm stands. Florida boasts one of the largest agricultural sectors in the U.S., with about 47,400 farms spanning 9.7 million acres, including several citrus groves.
Unlike Manhattan or Boston, Florida cities aren’t as walkable. While many of the state’s metro areas utilize public transportation like buses and monorail systems, most residents own cars. However, low wages, frequent travel and higher insurance premiums mean the transportation-related cost of living in Florida is higher than average.
Car ownership in South Florida — where populations in Broward County, Miami-Dade County and Palm Beach County are much denser — is particularly expensive. The average household in South Florida spent $10,915 on transportation in 2021. Residents also spent $4,626 on car insurance, leases and vehicle maintenance.
Additionally, gas prices have fluctuated drastically in the past two years. Florida’s gas prices are currently average at $3.71 per gallon — the national average is about $3.67.
Everywhere you go in the U.S., health care costs are skyrocketing. According to a Gallup poll, rising medical expenses have led 38% of Americans to delay care, especially low-income adults, women and younger generations.
Floridians must also dish out a lot of money for health insurance — individuals spend a monthly average of $467, depending on their age, gender and medical history.
The cost of health care in Florida is particularly troublesome for the state’s large senior population. Of the 20,901,636 people living in Florida, 20.1% are over 65, making it the top state with the highest percentage of older adults.
If you’re going to live in Florida, you might as well take advantage of some of its main attractions — however, you must be able to afford the price of admission. Disney World, Sea World, Busch Gardens, Kennedy Space Center and Universal Studios Orlando Resort have all undergone price fluctuations in recent years.
Some of the changes in admission costs include:
- Kennedy Space Center: Increased ticket prices from $56 and $47 for adults and children, respectively, to $75 and $65
- Disney World: One-day Magic Kingdom passes increased by 12%, now ranging between $124 to $189
- Universal Studios Orlando Resort: Annual Preferred Passes will increase from $439.99 to $529.99 for Florida residents, while out-of-state visitors will pay $629.99, up from $539.99 — not including the Premier Pass costs, soon ranging from $639.99 to $904.99.
Of course, there are other entertainment options besides amusement parks and aquariums. However, Floridians still must bear the costs. For instance, you might pay $30 for two movie tickets if you live in Miami.
The High Cost of Living in Florida Might Be High, but the Living Is Still Good
If you can afford the cost of living for a slice of paradise, Florida is a great place to relocate. Enjoy year-round outdoor activities in the Florida sunshine and explore this southern state’s many attractions.