Just a few years ago, Florida had one of the lowest costs of living in the entire country. That’s no longer true, but your cost of living dollars will still get you more in this state than they will in places like California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, or even Arizona. What is the cost of living in Florida, and is it really worth it?
Living Cost in Florida – The Real Numbers
These days, Florida is usually ranked about #29 in the United States in terms of cost of living. While it’s not as cheap as it used to be, it’s still fairly reasonable. The cost of living varies quite a bit depending on whether you live in one of the major cities. Miami, Tampa, and Orlando tend to be more expensive than the hundreds of smaller towns across the state. The median home price in the state is $277,429, while the median wage is $51,908. There are a few other things to factor in, though.
- There’s No State Income Tax: There is no state income tax in Florida, and it is considered to be one of the lowest taxed states in the country. This means that your paycheck will be bigger because no taxes are deducted. Also to note, Florida does NOT impose a tax on pensions, retirement benefits, and retirees. However, there is a state sales tax of 6%, but food, agricultural supplies, and medical items are excluded. But keep in mind that some counties may add a sales tax of 1-2% on certain products, but the good news is that the maximum tax is capped at 8%, which is far less than most other states.
- Property Taxes: In Florida, these are very similar to the national average or slightly lower depending on where you live. The typical homeowner will pay anywhere from $2,000-$3,000 per year or about 1.2%-1.6% of the home’s total cost.
- Healthcare: Florida is blessed with some of the best healthcare institutions in the nation, and more importantly, the healthcare system is affordable. The average cost for healthcare in Florida is about $7100 per year, which is about $1,500 less than the national average. Access to healthcare is relatively easy as doctors and nurses are located in every part of the state.
- Utility Bills: Because Florida has very high temperatures and humidity, the use of an AC is a must; otherwise, life can be very miserable. Most people in Florida need to use the AC for 6-9 months of the year. The average monthly cost of electricity is about $126, which is higher than the national average. On the plus side, there is no winter, and hence there are no heating bills.
- The Cost of Transportation: This is fairly low, but on the other hand, very few people use public transportation. Expect to pay about $2 per ride. Depending on which city you live in, you can purchase monthly public transport passes for $50-$150.
- Gas: Gas prices in the state are lower by about 10 cents than the national average. But on the negative side, Floridians pay high gas taxes, which are the 10th highest in the country.
- Car Insurance Rates: These are some of the highest in Florida. Expect to pay anywhere from $150-$200 a month for insuring a car in Florida. The reasons for high insurance is heavy traffic, numerous accidents, and fraud/
- Cost of Groceries: For a family of four, the grocery bills in Florida can range from $75-$125 a week which is slightly lower than the national average. Fruits and vegetables are produced in Florida, and they are much cheaper than anywhere else. However, if you love alcohol, there is a special tax on this beverage which averages 48 cents per gallon on beer.
- Communications: If you are always on your smartphone or the PC, be prepared to pay for these services. Florida has some of the highest charges for communication services like the phone, TV, internet, and other digital devices. Expect to pay between $150-$200 a month for your TV, phone, and Wifi.
- Housing: The cost of rentals in Florida is much cheaper than in many places in the US. For less than $1,000, you can get a decent 1-2 bedroom in a decent neighborhood. Homes, on average, cost about $250K, but of course, it also depends on your choice. There are also many million-dollar homes in Florida. In general, if you find a very cheap home, you first need to check out the crime rate. Homes in areas of crime tend to be a lot cheaper.
- Home Insurance: Because parts of Florida are prone to hurricanes, sinkholes, and flooding, home insurance is slightly more expensive than the national average. Plus, there have been many cases of fraud -leading to high costs of insurance. On average, expect to spend about $200 a month on home insurance alone.
- The Other Expenses: Child Care, going to restaurants, and visiting the hairdresser is slightly more expensive than the rest of the nation. The reason is that Florida is a tourist destination, and prices are somewhat hiked up. But on the positive side, if you are a resident of Florida, you will get coupons and discounts to visit hundreds of attractions, restaurants, and hotels during the off-season at a very low cost.
Florida is an amazing place to live and work. It offers access to some of this country’s most beautiful beaches and a fantastic amount of sunshine throughout the year. If you’re interested in exactly what it’s like to move to this great state, or you’re ready to make a move and tour some properties, give us a call today.