What are the best and most affordable places to live in Florida? This is one of the first questions that come to mind for anyone planning to move to Florida. With its 8,000 miles long coastline, sunny beaches, and fancy amusement parks, Florida attracts thousands of people every day. The state is well-known for its glamour, beauty, and wildness. You also get to experience year-round summer.
Because of all these attractions of the sunshine state, it is really hard to find affordable places to live in Florida. The housing market in Florida has been bubbling up for a long time now. Especially after the pandemic, people are coming in from all over the country, causing the real estate market to explode even more. In this situation, you will be lucky if you are able to buy property in an area where the prices are affordable and the quality of life is also good. It has been predicted by analysts that Florida’s real estate market is going to burst anytime in the near future but until then, let’s discuss some of the best options you have at hand.
Disclaimer: This list does not include the overall cheapest places to live in Florida. We are also taking lifestyle into account. This article focuses only on the places that are affordable but have good facilities for you and your family. Most of the statistics are taken from the United States Census Bureau.
Also known as the “theme park capital of the world”, Orlando is home to the world-renowned Walt Disney World. Orlando attracts more than 51 million tourists every year. It is one of the most visited family destinations and offers a wonderful environment for site-seeing, shopping, and entertainment. With a population of 287,500 people, it is one of the most prominent cities in Florida. The price of an average house is $240,000. The median gross rent in this wonderful town is $1,200 per month. There are lots of economic opportunities. That is why the average income of a household is $51,750.
If you don’t like the idea of living in an area always surrounded by tourists, you can choose from the suburban neighborhoods of Orlando. Orlando is filled with water parks, zoos, restaurants, amusement parks, and shopping malls. With a huge tourist influx come huge economic opportunities. Running a successful business in Orlando is a lot easier than in most other places in the country. You will also enjoy a good living standard. There are over 35 colleges and universities in this area, ensuring that your children will have the education they dream of.
With an enormous canal system, this beautiful city provides an affordable option for those who want a waterfront property without spending heaps of money. The population is around 195,000 and growing. One cool thing about Cape Coral is that despite having a considerable population, it doesn’t feel like a busy city. The average house in this delightful town costs about $230,000 while you can easily rent a house for $1,244 per month which is quite reasonable. Keep in mind, a lot of these are waterfront homes that would cost much more in a major city. When you look at the facilities available in Cape Coral, this rent only seems fair. The median household income here is almost $62,000.
Cape Coral is the biggest city between Tampa and Miami. Located near Fort Myers, this city has a lot to offer. The crime rate is lower than the average in Florida and you can expect all the facilities you would in a big city. There are lots of entertainment and leisure activities with fun places like Useppa Island, Cape Coral Yacht, and Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve.
Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios. What do these three places have in common? They are all located near Kissimmee. It is a family-oriented city with a population of just over 72,000. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average house price in this town is $173,200. You can also stay on rent, at a median house rent of $1,144.
Kissimmee is positioned at a prime location where it allows you easy access to Miami and Tampa. It is just an hour’s drive away from the famous Cocoa Beach. The residents of this marvelous city enjoy discounts at attractions like Disney World and SeaWorld. Because of the beautiful beaches and amusement parks in the vicinity, a lot of tourists visit Kissimmee which is a big source of revenue generation.
Located in Alachua County, Gainesville is a small town with a big town vibe. With a population of 134,000, it is the largest city in North Central Florida. The average house price is $162,000 and you can rent a house for a monthly gross rent of $950. It is a decent city with a low cost of living. The median household income is $37,200 and the living cost is 2% less than the national average.
Gainesville is home to the University of Florida and Santa Fe College but that is not its only plus point. It also has a good health care system with two major hospitals. The city is surrounded by several lakes, walking trails, and public parks. It also has a beautiful museum, called the Florida Museum of Natural history.
Our next pick for the best affordable places to live in Florida is Palm Bay. It is a peaceful city on the East Coast of Florida. This Brevard County city is home to a thriving population of 115,550. The average value of a housing unit in Palm Bay is $155,200. On the other hand, the average gross rent is $1,060. With a median household income of $51,400, this town has a lot of employment opportunities or a small city like this.
The lifestyle in Palm Bay is dynamic. Here you have multiple corporations, Brevard Community College, and Palm Beach Hospital. It is also known as the home to the space coast. This nickname was given to Palm Bay because of the Kennedy Space Center that is only a short drive away. The city is also popular with sports and outdoor enthusiasts because of its endless summers with off-road cycling, and running trails. Golfing is also a huge thing in this coastal town.
Located in Polk County, Lake Alfred was established in the 1880s after the South Florida Railroad reached the area. It is right in between Orlando and Tampa. With a population of 6,250, this small town offers a tranquil and peaceful life. The average house in Lake Alfred costs around $142,700 while the median monthly rent is $885.
This restful town has a crime rate 75% lower than the national average, and an unemployment rate of 4.75%, making it a desirable place to live in Florida. The cost of living is low and people are affluent. You can explore several antique shops and lush green gardens around the town.
A small city located 40 miles east of Tampa and 50 miles southwest of Orlando, Bartow has a population of just over 20,000. The average house price is $137,000 which makes it one of the most affordable places to live in Florida. Housing units in Bartow are also available at an average rent of $840 per month. The city offers a comfortable life at a low living cost. The annual income of a household in Bartow averages at almost $48,000.
Bartow is also called the “City of Oaks and Azaleas”. It is surrounded by mesmerizing lakes and scenic citrus groves. As a city of culture, Bartow hosts the annual Bloomin’ Arts Festival. A historic courthouse and the beautiful Polk County Museum of Art and Genealogical Library add to the grandeur.
It is a town located in northern Florida at the intersection of Alligator HWY 90 and Alligator HWY 129. This Suwannee County city has a population of about 7000. A sizable chunk of the population consists of retirees. The median value of a housing unit is $110,600, while the median gross rent is $717 per month. The majority of people in this small-sized city are educated middle class with a median household income of $47,860.
If we talk about the environment, you will feel a more southern touch in the culture. With Santa Fe and Suwannee rivers bounding this orderly city, you can enjoy canoeing in the waters and hiking in the wilderness with ancient oaks dripping with Spanish Moss. The residents are nice and welcoming, hence the motto of the city “A Caring Community”.
The oldest city in Polk County, Fort Meade was established in 1849. This peaceful city is situated in Central Florida along the Peace River which is a part of the Florida paddling trail system. Located just east of Tampa, this peaceful city has a population of over 6000. The median value of a housing unit is about $78,000 while the median gross rent is $770. The city offers economic opportunities and great jobs which is evident by its 57.5% income to rent ratio.
Fort Meade is a small but comprehensive city with a downtown business area, schools, parks, and a strong community. The city is also popular for canoeing and kayaking.
Situated in Northern Florida, this is a small city in Gadsden County with a population of about seven to eight thousand. It is just a 20 minutes drive away from the state capital Tallahassee. The city is famous for being a tobacco manufacturing hub in the past. The average house in this peaceful city is priced at $77,100 while the median gross rent is $640. These rates are quite low if you consider the serenity and other merits of this town. The crime rate is lower than the average. The unemployment rate is about 6%. Overall, Quincy is a great option for affordable living in Florida.
The Victorian homes in downtown testify to the prosperous past and rich history of the city. There are several attractions for you to explore. Places like The Shade Tobacco Museum, Apalachicola River Blueway National Trail, and Lake Talaquin State Forest appeal to tourists as well as the residents. It is not just about history though. You also get to see modern spots like Gadsden Arts Center.