Cost Of Living in Florida

What is the Cost of Living in Florida?

The cost of living in Florida is far higher now, when compared to other states, than it was when our parents and grandparents retired there years ago.

It wasn’t that long ago that you could move to Florida and buy a nice home for far less than you could in most other states.

You could sell in the state you had been living in, buy a similar home in Florida for a lot less and then bank the difference.

For instance, when I moved to Florida in 1995, you could buy a brand new 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage CBS (concrete block with stucco) home for $69,900. Yes, you read that right, $69,900.

That home came with master bedroom suite, split floor plan (master on one side, spare bedrooms and bath on the other side of the main living areas), ceramic tile throughout, a roofed lanai (covered patio), cathedral ceilings, central air, separate laundry room, finished painted drywall in the garage and more.

Homes like this were available in multiple locations in Florida, built by different builders.

Anyway, people could sell for say $169,900 where they were moving/retiring from, buy a home like this and have $100,000 minus expenses to bank or invest.

The cost of living in Florida overall was so low back then, that you could live off of a social security retirement check(s) (that’s how you actually got paid in “ancient” times, by check) and supplement your income when needed from what you netted on your home sale.

It’s no wonder then, that is exactly what many people did. They sold and retired to Florida.

The super low cost of living in Florida has gone the same way as being paid, or paying with, a check. It’s gone and we’re unlikely to ever see it again.

Well, except for a couple of years after economic downturns when Florida’s home prices crash and before the bubble starts to reinflate again (see the Florida Move Guide).

Not only is the cost of living in Florida higher now, it can also increase shockingly quick.

I’ll give you just one example using home prices, because if you’ve been looking, you know how quickly and how far they’ve risen. As home prices increase, so too can your real estate tax bill, which may rise annually right along with your home value.

As your Florida home value and real estate taxes increase, you may have to purchase additional insurance to cover the increased value and or cost of replacement.

Before relocating, it would be a good idea to consider how likely it is that the cost of living in Florida may grow faster than your income.

I’ve have had to sell too many homes over the years in Florida for people who’s expenses grew faster than their ability to pay them.

This happened despite being financially comfortable when they first moved to the state.

Others went back to work (at 75?) to try to make ends meet. Not exactly how they pictured retirement.

It’s Now More Expensive to Live in Florida Than Most Other States.

It might be a good idea to learn if the overall cost of living in the state you now reside, is lower, or higher than it is in Florida.

I’d be cautious about moving to Florida if it was more expensive than where you are now, espescially if you’re secure financially.

I’d be particularly concerned if Florida’s cost of living is higher and…

  • You are retired, disabled or otherwise live on a fixed income.
  • You will have to find and keep a job in Florida to pay your living expenses.
  • You are moving to Florida with school-age children that will depend on you to keep a roof over their heads.

Florida is not the low cost of living leader it was for most of the last century.

FL 30th most expensive state


Prior to the year 2003 or so, you could move from just about any other state in the US, to Florida, and expect to find lower housing cost, lower taxes and a significantly lower cost of living overall.

All of that has changed, according to the Consumer Price Index.

However, Florida still has a lower cost of living than the following states, starting with the most expensive first:

Hawaii, California, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon, Alaska, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, Washington, New Hampshire, Nevada, Delaware, Colorado, Montana, Virginia and Minnesota

Will this list continue to shrink as the cost of living in Florida continues to increase?

As of 2019, Compared to the National Average…

  • The cost of groceries in Florida is slightly lower.
  • The cost of transportation in Florida is slightly lower.
  • The cost of utilities in Florida is higher.
  • The cost of housing overall is still slightly lower.*
  • The cost of health care is slightly lower.
  • The cost of miscellaneous expenses (child care, haircuts, restaurants, etc.) is considerably higher overall.

*If you find a place in Florida with cheap housing, check to see if high crime rates may be the cause. Florida has a far higher overall crime rate than most states. If you’re looking for a city or town in Florida that has crime rates lower than the national average, the cost of housing in most of those places will be higher than the national average.

florida move guide book cover and discription

Cost of Living in Florida Wildcard Dangers

After the record damage in Florida from hurricanes in the prior decade, homeowners insurance skyrocketed. Rates more than doubled or tripled for some homeowners. I again sold many homes for people who could not afford the vastly higher premiums. Suddenly insurance companies wouldn’t touch many properties. They became uninsurable until the state formed an insurance company of last resort for homeowners that had no where else to turn.  That state backed entity is still one of the largest insurers in Florida today and even Florida’s governor has said in the past it may not be able to pay homeowners the promised insurance coverage if a powerful hurricane hits. That home you buy in Florida today could become a place you can’t afford next year if Florida’s hurricane activity continues to return to normal. Remember, hurricane season in Florida is 6 months long, every year.

Uncertain Future Cost of Insurance

In many parts of Florida if you use a mortgage to purchase a home, you will be forced to carry homeowners, flood, wind, sinkhole and possible other insurance. Events such as the appearance of yet another sinkhole in November 2013 that is swallowed homes and future events could lead to banks to require sinkhole insurance in areas where it wasn’t required previously. It could also lead to an increase in sinkhole insurance rates for people who already pay it. That could force some people from their homes because they can no longer afford the combined rising cost of insurance in Florida. When to many people need to sell at the same time, that can affect real estate values.

Why should you consider flood insurance or other insurance, even if it’s not required? Because most insurance companies won’t pay for damage caused by “flooding” under a regular homeowners insurance policy. Your homeowners policy may cover damage to your home but not from a flood, sinkholes, etc. The more homes that get swallowed by sinkholes, the more areas sinkhole insurance may be required in order to finance a property and the higher the cost of living will increase. Can your income keep up? See the November 2013 sinkhole story in the video below.

The Cost of Living in Florida, the Bottom-line

Moving to Florida if you’re well off financially with a high income

The absence of a state income tax may give the state of Florida an advantage over other states, but only for high income earners. If you don’t invest a high percentage of your assets in a Florida home, you probably shouldn’t worry too much about the cost of living in Florida with the possible exception of further flood insurance reform.

If you’ve ever seen people while watching the news who live in a flood zone near a body of water who have lost everything from flooding but swear they will rebuild yet again, what you’re seeing is the taxpayer bailing these people out, through the federal flood insurance program. When they reform this program because the taxpayer piggy bank is broke, these people will be forced to pay flood insurance premiums that reflect the real risk. The real risk is high and growing and once rates reflect this, many flood zone home owners won’t be able to pay.

FYI, most people live along the coast in Florida and many entire communities are in a flood zone. In many areas you can’t buy a home that isn’t in a flood zone because every structure is in one. There are new floods zones being created when water damage from flooding occurs in an area where it hadn’t happened in the past.

Moving to Florida and working for a living or living on a modest fixed living.

People thinking of moving to Florida because they’ve saw someone touting the low cost of living in Florida should do research and proceed with caution because the cost of living in Florida can change faster than just about anywhere else. If you will be working for a living, sure you won’t have to pay a state income tax but you almost certainly will be earning less than doing the same job in the state you moved from.

The cost of living in Florida is determined mainly by housing costs. Move to Florida after a housing bust and whether you buy or rent you may experience a lower cost of living than your previous home state. But that low cost of living will probably be temporary. The problem is that because they are so many people moving in and out of Florida, the state experiences higher highs and lower lows when it comes to the economy and housing.

If you move to Florida today to enjoy a low cost of living, you may not be able to afford it 3 years later. This isn’t your grandmother’s Florida, the days of a perpetual low cost of living in the sunshine state are over for good.
Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy”

  • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide.

40 thoughts on “Cost Of Living in Florida”

  1. Ron, it seems that the real problem for most people financially, is moving to Florida and trying to find a decent paying job there.
    My situation would a be a little different. I am currently living and working in Connecticut, we have two main offices. One in Suffield, CT where I work, and the other is located in Palm Coast, FL. I am considering moving there and would bring my same paycheck from CT. down there (no need to look for a job). From what I am researching in that area plus wise I see:
    The homes offer way more bang for the buck than here in CT (say a 1800-2400 sq ft 3 bedroom 2 bath with inground pool, lanai, 2 car attached garage, open floor plan etc.). Much lower property taxes (I currently pay around $4,000 yr for an 1100 sq ft home in CT).
    No personal income tax (would save me around 5k per year vs CT.), Social Security not taxed (my wife is collecting SS), no vehicle taxes (I believe).
    Of course like everyone else who has lived in a colder climate for a long time, no more shoveling snow, scraping ice, golfing year round sounds pretty appealing to me. I have been looking at these areas: Palm Coast, Ormond beach, Port Orange.
    Any thoughts or comments on my particular situation? Worth looking into from my perspective.
    Thanks for the educational blog!

    • Hello Andy,
      Every defendant in every criminal case would be convicted if the jury only heard what the prosecutor presented.

      Every defendant in every criminal case would be found not guilty if the jury was only allowed to hear what the defense attorney presented.

      We can talk ourselves into, or out of anything. You named several positives but not one negative. Your bags must already be packed.
      Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

      • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.


    • Stay in Connecticut. Florida is not affordable. Florida is 48th from the bottom in healthcare – over 1/2 year just to get an appointment and many are located strip mall shopping centers. Homeowners insurance is “expensive” and if you use it once you will probably be cancelled – think of hurricanes especially on either coast (inland as well); there are still homes waiting to be re-roofed in the Central Florida area from Hurricane Irma; also keep in mind the insurance companies want newer roofs if you have to find a different insurance company. The heat is OPPRESSIVE – you will not want to be outside and your electric bill can run hundreds of dollars; you will more than likely have to replace your Heat/AC unit – nothing lasts in the humid heat including car batteries. If you re-locate also be aware many sub-divisions have HOA’s (that will dictate what color you can paint your house, height of lawn, will cite you for brown spots in a lawn or cracks in a driveway) not to mention many cost hundreds of dollars per month as starters. Your car battery may last 3 years if you’re lucky. Little to do unless you’re a theme park enthusiast – unlike New England where there are multiple things to do and see. Traffic is a nightmare – 10 miles can take over an hour, education is questionable at best. Moving back to New England ASAP

  2. I agree with this assessment . I lived and worked in Orlando for 5 years and only received a raise for 1.40 in the 5 years. I work for the same company in a Northern state and have received over 15.00 in raises over three years. I think people that have never left that state don’t know any better.

  3. This site is VERY honest. Please heed the warnings. I live in South Florida all my life and it is HELL when it comes to affordability. Overpriced homes, low pay, high cost insurance, overpopulated, no decent paying jobs…need I say anything else?! It is now WORSE. Decades ago you could leave a job and get another one the same day. Grant funded college education, lower tuition.,..low cost loans, my gosh…i miss those days…this place has such great potential, weather, multicultural experience…but it sucks NOW. nothing for anyone in any age group. Seniors cant get a job, young adults can’t afford a home, high medical cost for babies, nothing for the teens to do…it’s a disgrace.

    • Sounds more like MA.. My mothers has lived there for years and hasn’t experienced anything you share here. The prices you quote are way cheaper than FL… In Ma it is said that you need about 33,000 a month to survive.. However if moving there or anywhere else you need to do your homework…I have found in my research that certain areas might be more affordable just like in any state including MA. Pay can be lower, but I don’t know anyone who just pays minimum wage…Most houses I’ve seen in MA are 600,000. You can find some for 200,000,but they are like some of the properties you buy for about 145,000 there…Yes I am looking at FL, but I’m looking at other places too. You can check on places that have a high degree of flooding… I saw a lot of them in and around Orlando. Then you have others at the coast that have high flood problems. In MA we have areas that suffer severe flooding… I live close to the Nashua river in MA. During the spring many people suffer flood damage… Our main problem here is from snow storms.. We have been shut down for weeks sometimes depending on where you are…The Blizzard of “78” was a good, but rare event. People where not able to do much for weeks…Anywhere you go housing prices rise or fall… People are getting into bidding wars here… Fortunately we haven’t had to have help cleaning up, but like we say that like the weather it can change. I’m not really pushing FL per se, I’m doing comparisons like we should all do…You say rents are high.. In Boston right now it costs about 5,000 a month for a small studio Apt… Wages are high here, but you need to have two jobs to live…So the person who makes 60,000 a year after taxes and all the expenses you have a whole lot less money then there…But Like I said do some research and actually compare different states with what you have…I’m doing that right now… FL is still high right now on my list, but I’m looking for a place that’s cheaper then where I am now…It could very well be FL…As for food it’s more expensive here in Ma then in FL….I don’t shop the regular stores here and probably wouldn’t there either…I do agree with the insurance though I don’t know all the ins and outs yet but I’ll find something that will work if FL ends being where I go. By the way heat and air conditioning are way expensive here to.. My brother uses solar and he pays very little in heat or air conditioning…The point here is where ever you end up you need to be sure if the plusses are more then the minuses…

  4. So here’s my honest assessment. I don’t know the age of this site/article. However, I found it, so will someone else. I hope that those of you who read this will take me seriously as I’m providing some important details for you that you have to know. I moved here from the Midwest three years ago. I moved to be close to my kids as I didn’t want them to grow apart from me. I did do some research before I moved and I knew it would be rough, as Midwest housing prices and Florida housing prices were way off. One thing to note, is people from all around the world move here and everyone has a different definition of what $$$$ is. For example, my house in the Midwest was 2100 square ft. and was an atrium split. I sold it for $150K and just broke even because of all the foreclosures and short sales. A 2100 square ft. home in Florida will run you well over $250K or a rent price of at least $1750 a month or higher.. 2017 prices. Now, if you live in NY or VA or something, you may be able to afford that price for housing. But then there’s another problem. You may be able to afford the house, but unless your job is a transfer with the same company, your most likely to take a big hit in salary. It’s odd to me that housing is so high, but salaries are so low. Now, if you have a lot of equity in your home, you could possibly buy a house in Florida and get a reasonable mortgage and still take a hit on salary. But most of us can’t. I know I am one of them. So chances are, if your like me, you’ll get a small house with a mortgage around $1300-1650 a month depending if you do a VA (nothing down) or whatever loan with $$$ down. So you’ll have to deal with housing and rental prices. The next topic is salaries. Everyone I talk to from nurses to IT folks have taken a salary hit to come to Florida. Once again though, your budget really depends on where your moving from, right? Now, some people say since there aren’t any state income taxes your saving money. So depending if you’re living close to work, that might be true or not true. However, Florida is a toll state and one way or another you’re going to get hit with tolls. The next point is traffic. The traffic is horrible and the people you meet in person might be really nice, but they are hell on wheels. I live in Orlando and I want a bumper sticker that says “Welcome to HorribOlando, home of the car wreck”. You’ll see all sorts of dumbfounded people wandering around after rear ending someone with that, “How did this happen” look. There are many many wrecks, and many people with basic or no insurance. The next point, which really upsets me is the “Fake homeless”. Yes, there are more real homeless than you can imagine down here. But there are a ton of scammers too. You know, the guy wandering around for days with a gas can saying he needs money for gas, the crying girl with her sign but she actually lives in a trailer down the road, the guy who says he’s just looking for food hoping you’ll just give him money. However, he walks away if you offer him real food. Ahhhh and the tag team husband and wife, with the homeless Vietnam vet signs, then they trade bikes and ride off to their trailer home around 6:00 PM.. I know, they live by me lol. It’s disgusting and takes away from the people who really need support. If you don’t have some type of decent trade or education, DON’T come to FLORIDA. I say this because the influx of Puerto Rican’s into Central Florida are taking all the basic non-edu required jobs. Plus, most of those jobs are contractor jobs or theme park jobs making $10.80 an hour for no more than 30 hours a week, no benefits. My wife didn’t have a degree or any specialized school, so I had to dip into my retirement and send her back to school for a year. Yeah, no joke. Other than that it was permanent part time, no benefits. Something else I’ve seen, but not mentioned is lasting friendships. People move all the time down here and you’ll barley have the chance to know anyone. Where I used to live, I could talk to a guy, who knew another guy I knew and so on. Not so down here. Not unless you live way for inland where you’ll see move locals. Florida has a high transient population, so people are always moving. It’s hard to make lasting friends. Other than that, I am in love with Florida and her beaches. I guess I’m taking the abuse. But there is a lot to do here, if you can afford it. Hope you can afford Disney, but you can take a cheap cruise with the Florida discount!! Hope you can glean some good information off of my post.

    • @Bill: unfortunately the set up of this website does not give DATES on the COMMENTS. But you give this year, 2017. I’ve been tracking Florida real estate for years now, as we have vacationed there in winter for many years and want to be “snowbirds” but own our own small home down there.

      I can tell you that prices have increased about 70-80% in just the past two years, since about 2015. I am not kidding. I am from the Midwest, and prices have recovered a bit from the recession but NOTHING like this. There is no inventory and the shabbiest little bungalows are sold in a minute. There is a LOT of real estate investing, and people buying foreclosures (or what’s left of them — not much!) to “flip”. I have watched for two years to see shabby homes bought and flipped in six weeks (!!!) to six months, for double the price and sometimes more. And if you question this at all, the realtors give you a tongue lashing. It’s like EVERYONE has literally forgotten the bubble, and the housing/foreclosure crisis of 2008-2012!!! I mean, like they have amnesia!

      We tried to buy a modest little ranch in Lake County last week, and it didn’t work out, and the realtor pushed us to way overpay for it, because “there is nothing else on the market”. He was not kidding. There was literally not one other house in our range. After our offer expired, the house sold in 24 hours at full asking price — a house with MANY defects, needing $12-$15K in repairs upfront. That’s how bad it is. I hope we made the right decision! Time is not on our side, we are over 60. But I don’t want to be ripped off either — because I know a lot of folks who lost their shirts in 2008-2012 — in Florida and up north.

      There is HUGE speculating, investors (foreign investors!) and funny business going on down there now — it’s 2005 all over again.

      I encourage everyone, including Mr. Stack, to go rent or download the excellent film “The Big Short”. Some of it is even set in Florida during the boom of the mid 00s. It explains how people get caught up in bubbles and are encouraged to overpay for real estate.

      I guess we will hang on until things moderate, because apparently we cannot now even afford the modest little winter home of our dreams — 🙁


      • Hello Lola,
        The Florida Move Guide explains in detail how Florida’s real estate booms and busts work so buyers never have to pay too much for a home in Florida. Buying right before the next bust ensures you’ll end up with a home that will be worth far less than what you paid, after the next bubble pops. There are links below to two articles that can shed some light on what to expect next when it comes to Florida real estate. The cost of living in Florida rises and falls along with the cost of hosing, and it’s about to take a big dip in the not too distant future.

        Florida Real Estate prices will likely begin to drop by the end of 2017, and tank in 2018
        Is it a good time to invest in a home in Florida?
        Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

        • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.


        • Would you say this applies to Melbourne beach and that island area as a whole? The realtor we are working with claims that there will not be a down turn even if the rest of Florida experiences one. I’m from Missouri and we have to move in July 2017 for work to that area. Written June 2017

          • Hello Rebekah,

            You wrote: “Would you say this applies to Melbourne beach and that island area as a whole? The realtor we are working with claims that there will not be a down turn even if the rest of Florida experiences one. I’m from Missouri and we have to move in July 2017 for work to that area. Written June 2017”

            No place in Florida escapes real estate booms and busts. Even if there wasn’t an economic downturn is the US at the time, a direct hurricane hit and video of devastated homes and condos on the beach on the nightly TV news for days or weeks can cause beach property owners anywhere in Florida to want to sell. At the same time, the number of buyers for these vulnerable properties can dry up when a hurricane is heading to Florida or for some time after it hits and it’s in the news. More beach property sellers and less buyers means prices head south.

            The Median sale price* in Melbourne Beach 2007 before the last real estate price meltdown got as high as $435,000. It then dropped to 253,500 within a year after the bust. Right before the last bust, I heard buyers being told that they should buy now or prices will just be higher next week, or that Florida real estate prices never go down, or the baby-boomer invasion will push prices up for decades, Florida is the new California, etc. People tell me they are hearing the same thing now…

            Personally, I would not buy anywhere that could be affected by rising flood insurance rates due to sea level rise brought on by climate change or by storm surge from a hurricane. Rising insurance rates would raise the cost of living in an area and can make a homes less unaffordable for the owner and prospective buyers. Wiki says Melbourne Beach Florida is just 10 feet above sea level. The National Hurricane Center says storm surge can be twice that or higher. There are far less risky places to live. A renter can just walk away from a storm damaged property, a buyer will own the mess. Beaches are a nice place to visit.

            *To see the above mentioned median sale price data for yourself go to and where it has 1 year, 5 years or Max, click on Max. Good luck Rebekah.
            Ron Stack “That Best Places Guy” of Zeus Press Inc

            • Want to be certain if moving to Florida is right for you or your family? You’ll know after reading the Florida Move Guide. Avoid expensive mistakes.


    • 2/18. Bill’s comments are dead on. We moved our family of four to Boynton Beach in 2013, from Ohio. My wife already had a good job lined up and I figured I could find one relatively easy. Not so much. I ended up working a security job for $12/hr. And that’s pretty good for Florida. Traffic IS terrible, dropping kids off at school is a 30 minute process. To get license plates transferred was rediculously expensive, around $700/car. Housing costs are high. If you don’t want your stuff stolen, a gated community is the only way. Most associations have high HOA fees. Ours was over $300/month in addition to our mortgage and taxes. Most houses in South Florida have a tiny yard because land can cost over a million dollars per acre….no exaggeration. Summers are oppressingly hot and humid.
      The upside. The beaches are great, the fishing is great, the weather in the winter is amazing. There are lots of really good restaurants. There are many friendly people too. The Orlando area has tons of attractions not including the Disney empire.
      We moved back to Ohio about two and a half years of FL residency because we couldn’t stand the high population density and the high housing costs.

  5. This comment was written 3-2018. We relocated from Colorado to Florida in 2012 to be closer to family and care for an ill loved one. Local family members had touted Florida’s “low cost of living” for some time. This article is correct in that most folks haven’t recalculated living costs and seem to simply have adjusted to the gradual increases. In 2012 the market was still reeling from the high rate of foreclosures here. We felt as though we got a pretty good deal on our home ($357K for approx. 3100 SF with some fixing up needed) at the time, but it wasn’t until we lived here for a while that we really became aware of all of the “hidden costs” that no one seems to mention. We aren’t in a flood zone, but since most damage here is caused by flooding, flood insurance is more than a casual necessity. It truly is a must. if you elect to purchase a home in a flood zone, CHECK THE COST OF FLOOD INSURANCE BEFORE YOU BUY! Homeowners insurance cost itself is rather close to that of Colorado, but sinkhole insurance is amazingly high and can only be purchased when you are newly moved in (cannot be added later or added back if you cancel). Our agent advised us that if a sinkhole were to occur and the property was a total loss, it would be covered by traditional homeowners. We are hoping we never have to deal with this issue! Transferring your vehicle title is very expensive with my 2000 Dodge Durango costing over $500.00 to transfer (yes, I said a 2000 manufacture date) which shocked us both. Cell phone taxes, daycare and the cost to deliver a baby are reportedly the highest in the nation. Food prices were reported as 5th highest in the US as of 2017 and there are fewer grocery store choices which equates to less competition. Water and sewer charges are stunning here with an average monthly bill of a bit over $200.00. Although we don’t often use our heat, weather “averages” since we have been here have become so much hotter that we use our AC at least 9 months of the year (we were told repeatedly that cooler winter temps occured 6 months of the year so you could keep your windows open about half of the year reducing utility bills by half – not so – Christmas day last year was 86 degrees with almost 90 percent humidity). Gas costs are high as local taxes are heaped on to compensate for lack of state taxation. We have not noted any measurable difference in clothing or entertainment costs. Of note: we were both retired when we moved here, but I wanted to go back to work for a while just to get to know the area better and meet more people. I knew salaries were lower here, but I was unprepared for just how much lower they were. My salary here was right at half of what I was making in Colorado, so if you are moving here and are dependent upon work income, please do your research first to make sure you will be financially prepared for all of the additional costs. Lack of state tax has been wonderful, but we find that the additional expenses almost negate any savings. A few side issues: Airline tickets are always really costly and don’t seem to drop at any particular time of the year. Although that isn’t terribly important to some folks who come here to visit to get away from the cold gray winter, for others it is a huge factor, so if you’re moving here thinking that your kids will be dying to come visit you, this may not be the case. College costs are incredibly reasonable (residency for in state rates is one full year for those over 26 years of age – under 26 can be considered in state if parents have been here for one year) and resident rates for amusement parks is very low if those things are important to you. Population change here is huge! I’m not talking about my neighborhood, but rather the entire state. I’ve never lived anywhere where people take moving so lightly! The heat will make or break you. You will never adjust to it, but you will have to accept it in order to stay. Ladies: you will save money on makeup! We are not kidding when we say that simply going to the mailbox in the summer will make you need another shower! This is a gardener’s heaven. Beaches are lovely, but even they are too hot in the summer. Having your own pool is nice for the first couple years, then they’re just money pits. Hurricanes are scary a hell and you’re heart will skip a beat everytime the weather types announce the beginning of hurricane season (and yes, it lasts for 6 long months). To stay here means simply accepting the fact that everything in Florida wants to kill or eat you (cockroaches are a fact and not because you have a dirty house, sharks, fire ants, sand fleas, mosquitos the size of 747’s, etc.). In sum, Florida is good and bad just like any place else, but it IS expensive to live here, PERIOD. Just be smart and be prepared financially, mentally and physically and it can be a nice place to live. Cheers!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Tracy! It’s good to hear honest perspectives from those who have relocated to Florida, especially the information I’m reading on the “Moving to Florida” website. I live in Denver, Colorado and my mom moved to Fort Myers back in 2010. She wants me to move my family down, and I would love to be closer to her. We could sell our house and buy one down there and have plenty of money to spare, as we could sell it for double what we owe on it, and the real estate market is so hot up here. I just worry about the unstable real estate and job markets in Florida, and the costs of hurricane evacuation and damage, as well as home, flood, and sinkhole insurance. I don’t want to buy a home out there now (March 2019) and have it lose tremendous value a few years down the road, leaving us at a devastating loss. My mom says that won’t happen but, bless her heart, I’m afraid she might be unknowingly giving me bad advice. I love my mom, she’s lonely, and I’m torn. I’ve been reading up on this like crazy lately, and I’m just not sure it’s worth the risk.


    • Thank you for your in-depth post! I AGREE with everything you said! Hubby and I moved here in 2018 thinking it would be this cheap paradise (lol) and yeah Florida isn’t as expensive as NJ but it’s not as cheap as we were led to believe! Jobs are so difficult to get..I don’t understand it. Plus the pay is less because living is supposed to be less but Florida is quickly growing to be another expensive state. Sigh. And lol yes the bugs here are terrifying!

  6. Alabama is considerably lower than Florida in wages…I want out of Alabama and am now doing research on places to live so I can support my family. I don’t know if you have a column on Alabama, I can tell you from experience, three years no job or unemployment benefits and state housing controlled by emotional manipulators, avoid Alabama at all costs!!!

  7. Been a Florida resident all my life I totally agree with the post, I’ve actually been planning the out of state move because it’s hard to find housing you can afford with the income you receive. Great Posts…good luck with Florida

  8. Fl is not that great at all,the minimom wage is 3. Below other states&cost of housing is just as high,if not higher then ither states,grocies,ecerything is through the roof 2-3families need to live together to pay rent ir mortgage..We work jusy as hard as people in other states&get eay lesd pay

  9. Unfortunately, I have to agree with all the comments. We bought a house in Jacksonville 2 years ago, with the intent that we would use it as a vacation home until we retired in 10 years. My husband has family down here and his brother became terminally ill, so we decided to move sooner than later and moved here permanently in May 2018. Luckily, my husband is able to telecommute and although his salary was reduced supposedly due to “lower cost of living,” it was still significantly more than the average salary here, and we can manage on his salary alone. I wasn’t ready to retire, however, so I began searching for a job. I quickly found that salaries compared to the Washington, DC area were about 50% lower, and there is a ton of competition. It is not uncommon for people to get 100 resumes for a single job listing. I ended up going with a temp agency after several months of looking. If my husband wasn’t able to keep working for his company, we would have been in trouble! Housing is ridiculously high here compared to the salaries offered. For administrative work, I have found almost everyone uses a temp agency, and you will stay temp for pretty much forever as the company doesn’t have to pay benefits that way. I don’t know how people do it quite frankly. Groceries are very high, especially at Publix. But they do have Walmart, and that is where I shop — I save about $40.00 a week shopping there. Gas seems to be higher, and the electricity bill — oh boy! Twice as much down here, but then again, I have a pool, and to be fair, the electricity bill includes water and trash …. so it may all work out in the end. And what they say about registering your cars is true. About $500 per vehicle. That was a shocker. With all that being said, I still love Florida, the beaches, and the weather. If you have AC and access to a pool, the summers really aren’t that bad. DC summers are pretty wicked. And yes, I am one of those who detest snow and ice, so I’m definitely happier down here. There is crime anywhere you go, so we looked pretty carefully when finding our home. My advice to folks moving here …. find a job first to make sure you will be able to afford to live here. And my second piece of advice … get a mosquito service. Worth every penny.

  10. Have only become a permanent resident of FL from N J since Jun 29 2018. My complaints are cost of house insurance doubled as well as car insurance. I was used to buying a simple tub (used to be a half gallon). of great ice cream at a cost of $2.50/ $3.00 each versus $5.99 at the cheapest to $7.99 . Am I now living in a foreign country????? Heck it’s ice cream! A family favorite. Most grocery store items at Publix in FL are higher than my favorite Shop Rite in N J. Not just 25 or 50 cents per item either.. I never had to pay $3.99 per pound for red, yellow, or orange bell peppers unless a terrible weather problem.. Since I moved here never, never have they been on sale.So why the very high food costs???????

  11. Here are my objective experiences. The good and the bad:
    We moved to Florida 5 years ago (2014) from California. The best part is the housing prices. We were able to buy a nice (smaller) house in a gated, community for a little over 100K. The property taxes are low, less than $1,200 a year. Homeowner’s Insurance is higher. Just got our bill for 2019. It will be $1,399 including hurricane insurance. If we dropped the wind coverage, it’d be around $900 a year.
    Car insurance is as high here as it is in California, as it is a No Fault Insurance state. We pay $100 a month.
    Our water, electricity and gas are very reasonable. Cable is unreasonably expensive, though. And cable options are limited depending on where you live. I’m particularly pleased at our low cost for electricity considered how much the A/C is on.
    Food is higher, but we shop for BOGO’s at Publix/Winn Dixie and it works out the same.

    Jobs pay less. Much less, though. And it’s very difficult to get hired or even interviewed. Most of the jobs are part time, and most are minimum wage around here. Even with a college degree.

    Hurricane Irma was stressful. We took a direct hit. Our house has been hit by Hurricanes at least 3 times over the years that I know of. It’s concrete block construction and has done well. We lost power for almost 2 weeks after Irma. But, no major damage. No flooding.

    We intend to remain in Florida, though. To us, the price for what we paid and the lifestyle we live at low cost is worth the Hurricane worries. The key to buying a house here in Florida is to buy inland, and to buy a concrete block structure as opposed to a standard stick built house.

    • Thank you for your input. You went the extra mile and clarified many questions and concerns of ours on what it would cost to live in Florida. Where would you suggest looking to build a small home inland. Would appreciate suggestions. Thank you so much . Please reply – appreciate your honest approach.

  12. 1 out of 2 families in the state of Florida has trouble paying the rent and power bill in 2019. Is this somewhere you would like to move to?

    Moderator: Ramo, it’s okay to cite a statistic, but you should also provide your source, such as “according to the US Census Bureau”. Otherwise our readers could think it’s fake news and you just made it up.

    • Move up to the CAROLINAS from Florida. We did and doing okay. EASTERN NC is far cheaper than WESTERN NC the latter being more suburban and the mountain views as well. Eastern NC is more rural and farmlands thus being cheaper to live there however the coastal areas can be pricey.

  13. Im a Tampa native. The cost of housing is RIDICULOUS. Investors have come in and bought every sliver of land to build high rise apartments starting at 700k-1 million dollars while living next to dilapidated homes that cost 200k to tear down. Salaries are stagnant and the cost of living has sky rocketed. Realtors will tell you the prices are here to stay, and only going to get higher pressuring you to buy a dump in a scary part of town . You pay 250k, your neighbor paid 50k 5 years ago kind of neighborhood. Car insurance is high and never goes down, no long how long you have been their customer. Why is orange juice 3.99 a half gallon? Florida? Oh nevermind, we cant keep crops alive from all the disease . Rent has tripled in the last 5 years. People are struggling . Nobody cares.

    • It doesn’t cost anywhere near $250K to demolish an average residential home in Florida. The cost can range between $4 and $17 per square foot depending where the Florida home is located and the characteristics of the home.

    • Damn I couldn’t agree more I’m 3 hours east of you down Rt 60. You hit the nail on the head. People are making a killing in real estate speculation. Which is making the home owners insurance and taxes go nuts.

  14. I have been researching all of this as my husband and I have pondered moving there. I see all the comments about the cost of groceries, utilities, taxes etc. I live in Northern NY ( like we could spit on the Canadian Border by Montreal) and it’s horrendous here. It costs up 2500$ per year to heat our house with fuel, plus the cost of the electricity on top of that which ranges about $305 a month. We decided to heat with wood the past 2 years which costs roughly $1000, but take into consideration that we have to cut, split and stack it to dry (which means gas and oil, chainsaw parts because they break), so if you have plans scratch those. To feed a family of 5 here costs me about $200 a week and that’s going to Aldi’s because I can’t afford to go anywhere else. Car ins if you want full coverage will cost about 300$ a month for one, but if you have more than one accident be aware that you will get dropped. Land taxes on a 2 acre property with a 150,000$ home cost about $8000 per year ( that’s land, school, town and county tax, they all rape you!) Between my husband and I we gross about 80,000$ a year, which that’s great but tax time comes and we pay in another $6,000 in state and fed taxes. Mind you they take about $300 from the pay checks we bring in. So needless to say we live paycheck to paycheck and then when winter comes watch out. Husband gets laid off from his job and then you are living off the small unemployment check he gets. Yes, some of you will be saying well you should have a savings HAHA yah ok. Grossing a $1800 paycheck is awesome but then you get it, it’s about 780$. So we live on a tight budget. I see everyone’s point but it’s a severe struggle up here! Especially in the winter, if there is a snow storm hang on everything closes, my work to closes and we don’t get compensated for that. These are just my thoughts and things I know please do not bash or say rude comments.

  15. 3/7/2021 – Thanks everyone for the comments. I have been thinking of moving to FL, but all the comments and research have really reconsidering another state or country to raise my family.

    Purchasing a home in an overly priced market and taking a major cut in salary/income is a major no go for me.

  16. I moved to Florida 3 years ago. We are a couple in our 30’s with no children. We have an apartment. We come from New Jersey where rent and taxes are outrageous. My husband gets better pay here than his job in NJ. Our rent is $500 cheaper. We are saving way more here, we couldn’t save in NJ. Not saying Florida is perfect but I prefer it here. We are looking into buying a mobile home and everything is way cheaper than again up north. We will definitely look into the home insurance for flooding and hurricanes, that’s an expense we didn’t think about until now.

  17. HI, I am from San Francisco,Ca the prices are much better fo me in The Villages FL. I also own a home in the midwest I feel you get more home for your money there but The Villages has a lot more to do there.

  18. (from January 2022) FL native here. Born and bred in Clearwater FL, lived here for 35 years, and looking to GTFO. I make a good living (75k a year) and can’t afford to live here anymore.

    FL has bugs. You think you know bugs. But the only time I’ve run into anything even remotely comparable to the bugs that FL has *everywhere* is Mississippi. In the summer. In the bayou. Except it’s for 10 months of the year. How do you feel about 100% humidity? And months where it’s so hot the ground steams? Not the concrete, but the dirt you walk on. A lot of people have dead yards because the ground steams the plants if you don’t have shade trees.

    So maybe the heat and humidity don’t turn you off. How do you feel about having friends? You won’t have them in FL. There’s nothing a FL native hates more than a northerner who says they’re Floridian when they moved in 5 years ago and is about to move because they went Florida Broke.

    Oh, you don’t know what Florida Broke is. It’s a tale as old as FL. Someone from up north sees FL, decides the cost of living is cheap, and moves here. They then lose their job, and they can’t find anything that pays comparable to the job they lost. In fact, if they find a new job at all it pays 50% less than their last job. Suddenly the cheap rent isn’t so cheap anymore. And when its time to renew their lease, their landlord increases the rent by $200, but if they like you they’ll raise it a measly $175 instead. And those were the *olden* times. 2021 saw price increases in the $500-$600 range. Not because of the rent freeze, but to capture all the income from the northerners who’re moving here. Because as you found out from your job hunt, jobs in FL don’t actually pay much of anything. Now, you get to make the decision on whether to move back north where they pay is better, or stay in FL where you may need to pick up a second job to make the rent. That is, if you can afford to leave at all.

    That’s if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, you get sick or need dental work and find out that FL has some of the highest medical costs for routine care in the continental US. Most of the people who retire here – even the wealthy – die penniless from astronomical medical debt.

    It’s no coincidence that most people who move to FL leave within two to five years.

  19. I tried to move down here in 2021 to be closer to my son and grandchildren. but despite staying at my son’s till I could find a place in Fort Myers Florida, a “place” never transpired. The competition for rentals is astronomical in both cost and competition for housing. When I finally found a bedroom and a bathroom for 750 a month (yes, you heard that right JUST a bedroom and bathroom) I was the victim of a crime 3 days later– someone tried to kick my door in- and the landlord ended up refunding my money because that person resided on that property and the police told her she had problems with them before! What lunacy! I just couldnt afford to live there, and so I moved just outside Huntsville Alabama where you can rent a house for 500-700 a month and afford to save money. I am on SSDI and have a small side income–but even 3200 a month is just too hard to live on in Florida. The traffic in the Fort Myers area is terrible too, and the road accidents have worsened due to climbing population. I will have to settle for flying into see my son and living outside Florida to survive. Housing prices have soared there too. My son bought a house for 210,000 just three years ago and it sold 3 months ago for 420,000! I am happy for him but that is just nuts!

  20. I moved down in 2014. Bought a house in 2017. Sold it for almost double and moved back to NJ in 2022.

    Ya’ll can stay in FL.

    Housing in NJ is cheaper now. And sure, gas may be a bit more expensive and my properly tax went from 4k/yr to 10k/yr, but the cost of everything else went up. FL Home insurance is over 3k/yr compared to my new NJ home at 590/yr, auto in FL was 200/m for 2 cars compared to NJ which is 125/m. Food is cheaper, people are nicer, no constant worry about hurricanes. And I don’t need to replace my roof every 10-15 years if I want to keep home insurance.


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