Moving to Florida Cost of Living

Are you considering a move to Florida? Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. At first glance, Florida appears to be a reasonably priced place to live and it has been historically when compared to other states. However, you should consider the expense of living in Florida before making the big move.

Cost of Living in Florida?

The cost of living in Florida will not only depend on where in Florida you want to relocate, but where you are moving from. There are many factors to consider if moving to Florida, such as healthcare, transportation, insurance, and taxes but I am going to touch on a few that have seen big increases in the past year.

Average Housing Costs in Florida

Florida has seen an influx of people move into the state this past year which has driven up home prices and St Johns County Florida is no different. Our median home price in 2020 was $378,000 but in 2021 it was $447,500. An 18% increase and 28% higher than the states median home price of $346,900. However, Florida’s median home price was only .03% higher than the national median so there are still affordable areas within Florida to consider. Although, if you are coming from a state that has an even lower median sale price, Florida may be out of range for you.

* Note: Median listing price data is sourced from NEFAR MLS and is based on closed sales in 2021.

Rental Prices in Florida

We have seen big rate increases in the rental market as well. There aren’t many if any high rise buildings in St. Johns County like you will find in Ft Lauderdale and Miami, so our rental inventory is limited. Additionally, many families moving here are looking for a single family home in a good school district so we are finding low inventory in this market as well which is driving up the rents.

The median rental rate in St Johns County FL rose 13% over the past year from $1,325 to $1,500 for a condo. The median rental for a single family has increased 52% from $1,700 to $2,600 . This has taken a toll on a lot of the people locally who rent and are being forced to move to Jacksonville or the Palm Coast to find more affordable options, resulting in a longer commute to their jobs.

Which brings us to TRANSPORTATION in St Johns County FL

In St. Johns County Florida there is not much in the way of public transportation. There aren’t any commuter rails or a public bus system that can truly accommodate a population that commutes to work. With that being said, you can expect to drive everywhere and we all know that gas prices in 2022 are affecting everyone all over the country.

On average Florida’s gas per gallon costs are lower than the national average but our gas tax is one of the highest at 26.5 cents. In March 2022 our gas prices topped the national average which has reignited interest in our Governors proposed gas tax break legislation to suspend the state’s gas tax for five-to-six months so hopefully Floridians and tourists will begin to see a break at the pump in October 2022.

In any case, this is definitely something to consider if you are thinking about moving to this area of Florida. If you work from home or have a short commute, this probably won’t be a big deal for you.

Florida Insurance

Car Insurance

Another area Florida has seen an increase is auto insurance. Rates in Florida saw a 25% increase from 2015 to 2021. There are several factors that contribute to why car insurance in Florida is so expensive and that includes busy roadways from tourism, additional insurance requirements, high healthcare costs, rates of uninsured drivers and risk of severe weather. According to Bankrate, the average auto insurance cost for full coverage is $2,364 a year, while the national average is $1,674, a 41% difference.

Homeowners Insurance

It doesn’t stop there, home owners insurance is another area that has seen big increases and you can thank the lawyers for that one.  Florida residents are seeing huge increases from 50 to 100% and much of this is due to roofing schemes and frivolous litigation. For example, after a major storm, roofing companies will canvas an area with salespeople and visit homeowners to sell them new roofs on the insurance companies dime.

Policyholders in Florida can assign their benefits to a contractor, who can then make repairs and charge the insurance company directly. The issue is that the roofer will rebuild the roof for $20,000 but bill the insurance company $40,000, and when the insurance company denies the claim, the roofing firm sues. With more than 100,000 lawsuits against Florida property insurers expected in 2021, many private insurers are fleeing the state, leaving homeowners with little options.
But there is hope though, Governor DeSantis instituted a law that will make it harder to take insurers to court in hopes of bringing more private insurers back to Florida so there can be more competition and therefore options and hopefully more affordable ones.

Healthcare Costs in Florida

Let us now turn our attention to health care. A new study performed by the Commonwealth Fund found that Floridians were hit harder than any other state and found Employees in Florida paid more for Health insurance and it’s not because our premiums are the highest in the nation. Workers in Florida pay an average of $7,674 a year for family premiums, which is 28.4% more than the national average of $5,978.

The study found that the main reason is employers in Florida are not covering as much of the cost as employers in other parts of the country, paying only 63% vs the national average of 71%. However, Floridas total average annual healthcare premium of $20,862 is on par with the national average of $20,758.

Jobs & Salaries 

We can’t forget to mention that incomes in Florida are lower than many other states. The median income in Florida is $59,227 vs the national median of $65,712, so depending on where you are coming from and what type of work you do, you may find Florida to be more costly.

The Cost of Living in Florida, the Bottom-line

Many people are working virtually now so Florida has become an attractive state because they can bring their income from let’s say New York and live in a state with no state income tax and that brings us to one big PRO about living in Florida but it might not be for everyone.

A lot of people like the idea of not having to pay a state income tax so Florida is on their list for a potential move and that tax savings is a big benefit especially to those with extremely high incomes. This benefit allows it’s residents to save a lot more of their money to put towards retirement savings, vacations, school tuition and more but be aware that when a state doesn’t impose a state income tax, they have to make it up somewhere and here in Florida they rely on sales tax and property taxes and don’t forget that gas tax that I mentioned earlier, which are all above the national average.

Living in Florida

There’s plenty to love about living in Florida. The sunny weather makes it easy to enjoy life and the outdoors as much as possible. So quality of life is definitely present here, which is an important consideration when deciding where to live.

We are home to award-winning beaches, attractions and are lucky to be able to vacation where we live. If you are thinking about a move here, this is an excellent time to start doing you research to see if Florida is a good location for you so give me a call and I’ll help anyway I can. I hope you found this to be helpful, thank you so much!

About the Author
Kim Devlin
Kim Devlin is Your St Augustine Realtor. A Relocation Specialist serving Northeast Florida, St Johns County and Flagler County. She enjoys sharing real estate tips and local insight on communities and living in St Augustine Florida. Tune in weekly and be sure to subscribe to her monthly newsletter.