Lots of People Want Affordable Better Places to Live in Florida, But They’re Hard to Find Right Now!
It’s unusually hard to find affordable, high quality of life places to live in Florida right now, because this current Florida housing bubble has been inflating for over 10 years.
Allow me to explain…
I’ve been selling real estate since I was in my 20’s and now I’m 39 (my family says I’m much older but they don’t get it. I don’t have birthdays anymore, I only have anniversaries of my 39th).
The point is I’ve been in the business a long time and I’ve talked with 1000’s of buyers from many different states, different walks of life, etc.
While people may come in all kinds of shapes and colors and disagree about many things, when it comes to choosing where to live, we all basically want the same things.
- We all want to live in a community where we’ll feel safe.
- If we have children, we’re all concerned about the schools they’ll attend.
- If we need to work for a living, we all want to know we’ll be able to find suitable employment.
- We all want decent access to goods and services that we require to meet our needs. This can include grocery stores, restaurants, entertainment, recreation medical facilities and more.
Since we all want the same things, we’re all looking to rent or buy in the same Florida cities and towns because they have what we want. Not all places do.
Right now, there is still more demand for housing in desirable places in Florida, than there are available homes for sale or rent to meet that demand.
When demand is greater than supply, prices go up.
Most of the people shopping for homes in Iowa today, are likely from Iowa.
Most of the people shopping for homes in Florida today are from Florida, and from just about any other state you can think of, as well as people from other counties.
Since unemployment and interest rates are at historically low rates, this means more of us have the ability to buy or rent right now.
So housing prices are going up in Iowa, but prices have really skyrocketed in Florida because people from all over are moving to the state, just like they always do when the economy is great.
So If You’re Looking for a Nice Cheap Place in Florida, I Have Some Bad News, Some Worse News and Some Good News for You.
The bad news…
Are you looking for a safe place that has a great school district, plenty of jobs to choose from, many different places to dine, drink and shop, that’s also near the beach or theme parks?
Well, there are places exactly like that in Florida, but because far too many of us want that, there aren’t enough places there to go around. So most of the places we want to live are not affordable right now for most people who want to move to Florida and keep their expenses low.
Even worse news…
If you find a cheap place in Florida that’s still cheap today after the market has been hot for years, there’s usually a good reason it’s still cheap.
What could that reason be? Well, lets take #1 from the list above of things we all want when we’re choosing a place to live “We all want to live in a community where we’ll feel safe” as an example.
Since we avoid places that we feel are unsafe (we don’t usually choose war zones for vacation), those places will have lower home and rental prices because of low demand. Just like when a recession hits and nobody is buying cars, the dealers offer 0% financing, $1000’s in rebates and slash prices. Low demand = low prices.
Here’s an example done June 18th 2019, of a place in Florida with low home prices and the likely reason why:
Lake City Florida– Homes for sale starting at $40,000 and a murder rate higher than Chicago, where you had a 1 in 14 chance of being a crime victim (property or violent crime) which is more than double your chances in the Windy City (based on FBI reporting for 2017).
Now the good news…
- We’ve had a recession or downturn roughly every 7 years since the US was founded. We are now, as of June 18th, in the midst of the longest economic expansion since World War II. That’s a really long time ago because it was before I was born. So we are way overdue for a recession and when it happens, housing prices in Florida will collapse.
- If you need to move to Florida before then, I have identified 5 places that have lower starting housing prices that also meet all of the requirements for desirability to be chosen for inclusion on this site. Those requirements are the same as the list of what we all want, from the beginning of the article. Prices quoted are from when this article was originally written, they may be higher or lower than available currently.
The 5 Cheapest (+Best) Places to Live in Florida With Videos!
*Prices may be much higher (thanks to this ridiculous market we’re in) or lower (like after the next recession, we have them every 7 years on average and we’re way way overdue) when you read this article.
In random order…
1) Cape Coral Florida
- One of the best affordable places in southwest Florida
- One of the more affordable (but still not cheap) places for a waterfront home with access to the Gulf of Mexico for people who plan to own a boat.
There were lots of condos available for under $100,000 and single family homes started in the low $100’s at the time this article was researched. There were brand new construction homes with 3 bedroom 2 baths with a garage starting around #150,000. They were not large homes but they’re priced about $100,000 less than the Florida and US median sale price. If you buy one of these lower prices homes or condos while interest rates are still fairly low, your total housing payment would likely be less than the $1500 a month it would cost to for the average rental here.
The population of Cape Coral is about 175,000 but it doesn’t feel like a city. The property and violent crime rates are low (unlike nearby Fort Myers which is not on any of our best places lists) making it one of the safest places to live in Florida. All other quality of life scores are also higher than average for Florida.
Cape Coral has over 400 miles of canal which is more than any other city on the planet. If you plan on buying a home for your boat, be sure to buy from an agent who has a boat and knows the waterways. Otherwise, you could end up paying a fortune for a home that would take you half a day just to get out to the Gulf. By that time it will be time to head back in.
I’ve had people tell me they thought Cape Coral was an ugly example of urban sprawl. Others love how much home they were able to get for their money compared to other places in southwest Florida. If you’re looking for a safe place to live in Florida where home prices for newer homes are lower, Cape Coral is worth consideration.
Terry Bradshaw in a promo video about Cape Coral
In the Florida Move Guide I cover lots of the reasons people move to Florida only to eventually move back. Here are just 2 things to be aware of before moving to Cape Coral. These will be the only negatives of living in Florida I will be covering in this article.
2) Edgewater Florida
- One of the most affordable safe places along Florida’s east coast.
- Close to Atlantic beaches.
- Close enough for day trips to theme parks in Orlando.
This is a great choice if you’re moving to Florida on a budget and want to be near the beach or you’re a NASCAR fan. Mostly quiet uncrowded beaches are just minutes away and if you want more excitement, Daytona Beach isn’t far either. Edgewater is right off I-95 so trips north are convenient. Affordable, very safe, good schools, average job prospects all add up to a town worth serious consideration.
What? You never heard of Edgewater Florida. Well that’s one sign it may be a good place to live! Edgewater is a town of about 18,000 about 17 miles south of Daytona Beach just off I-95. Edgewater’s violent crime rate is far lower than the national average.
It’s just a short drive from Edgewater to many warm wonderful Atlantic Ocean beaches. It only takes about an hour to get to Orlando. So trips to the theme parks for a day are entirely possible. Move to Florida and be close to both the theme parks and the beaches? How jealous will your friends be when you call them in the middle of winter and it’s snowing there and you tell them you just got back from Disney and are now heading to the beach?
Edgewater is a town where there’s a lot of single family homes for sale for less than $100,000. Some are smaller older places that are closer to $50,000 that would be ideal for snowbirds or vacation homes. Rentals are hard to find so monthly rates are high. But if you intend to by a home cheap, this is currently a great place to look.
See a video about Edgewater, Florida
3) Sebastian Florida
- One of the most affordable safe places along Florida’s east coast.
- Close to Atlantic beaches.
Continuing south on I-95 from about 100 miles or an hour and a half from Edgewater you’ll find the own of Sebastian. Sebastian also offers it’s residents a choice of some wonderful beaches to enjoy and is ideal for beach lovers and water-sport enthusiast.. Many of these beaches aren’t on the radar of the tourist yet so the aren’t quite as crowded during the winter. Nearby Sebastian Inlet State Park is known for it’s surfing and fishing and natural beaches. Also in the area is the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge offering some of the best bird-watching, fishing and sight seeing in the area. It’s an ideal place to take relatives and friends when they visit.
Homes and condos start in the low #100’s in Sebastian. Rentals in this area are in short supply so prices are higher than Florida’s average. Areas with inexpensive home prices and low crime rates are rare in today’s Florida but both Sebastian’s property and violent crime rate are considerably lower than the national average. Cheap, safe and near the beaches is hard to beat.
4) Dunedin Florida
- A more affordable place near west coast beaches.
- One of the safest most walkable downtown’s in Florida. Leave the car at home.
- Lots of affordable condos here if that’s your desire.
Bikeable, walkable and just plain likable this is one of the safest towns in Florida that’s close to both beaches and a major city. This was also a pick on our best small towns list. A quick check showed there were still some condos here priced under $100,000, but the better single family homes under $200,000 were selling quickly when this was written. A small town with good schools, low crime, low cost of living, average job prospects near beaches and all the amenities you could want, Dunedin is what most people move to Florida for, but never really find.
See a video about Dunedin, Florida
5) Coconut Creek Florida
- An more affordable place for condos in south east Florida
- May be ideal if you’re looking for a place with a more diverse population.
Located between the much more expensive cities of Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Coconut creek is just a short drive from some of the best beaches on the east coast of Florida. It also offers easy access to major Southeast Florida employment, shopping and entertainment centers. Coconut Creek’s property and violent crime rate are lower than the national average. Actually, it’s violent crime rate is far lower.
If your Florida dream involves condo living where all the hard work is done for you, then this town may be where your dream can come true, for less. There are a ton of condos on the market for under $100,000 in Coconut Creek at the time this was written. If you’re still a youngster (under 55 years of age) be sure to check for age restrictions on who can own the condo. Although there were a few small single family homes for around $100,000, most were twice that or more.
Coconut Creek is safe community close to world class beaches. It’s somewhat diverse. About 16% of the population is African American and Hispanics account for about 25%. It’s less than an hour to Miami and anything you could possibly want to see, buy or do. The Miami metro area is expensive but Coconut Creek is an affordable option especially if you’re looking to live a condo lifestyle.
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.
Cape Coral: Known as the “Waterfront Wonderland,” this charming town is not only one of Florida's most affordable places but it is also one of the safest. Located in the southwestern part of the state near Fort Meyers, Cape Coral has an intricate system of canals which allow its residents to always be near the water.Where is the nicest but cheapest place to live in Florida? ›
Cape Coral: Known as the “Waterfront Wonderland,” this charming town is not only one of Florida's most affordable places but it is also one of the safest. Located in the southwestern part of the state near Fort Meyers, Cape Coral has an intricate system of canals which allow its residents to always be near the water.What is the safest most affordable place in Florida? ›
It's easily one of the most affordable places to live in Florida. It's also one of the safest cities in Florida, with one of the lowest crime rates in the state. The median cost in Cape Coral is about $290,700, below the Florida and US averages.
Fort Myers offers retirees a low cost of living, historic attractions, and seaside lifestyles. Southwest Florida's Fort Myers offers retirees a low cost of living, historic attractions, and seaside lifestyles.
Cape Coral has cheaper housing costs, utility bills, and healthcare costs than the national average. With an average home price of just over $4,30,000, this city on the Gulf Coast is a great option for those looking for affordable living in Florida.
|Rank||City||Average Commute Time|
1. Crystal River. Crystal River takes the number one spot on the list by having the lowest overall expenditures, the lowest monthly rent, and a decently high livability score of 81. Healthcare is also 2.6% below the national average here.What city in Florida is best for senior citizens? ›
1. Sarasota. Sarasota is a retiree hotspot — over 40% of residents are 60+ years old. With a retiree population this large, it's no surprise that the city is built around the needs of its senior residents.What is the safest city in Florida for seniors? ›
1. The Villages, Florida. The Villages, a 55+ living community, comes out on top of the safest cities to live in Florida. As a retirement community, it's likely not the right choice for young families.How much does it cost to live in a 55+ community in Florida? ›
Florida comes in as the least expensive state, as well as one of the most beautiful. Assisted living services here average around $3,000 a month for all-inclusive care, memory care averages at $4,400 and independent living centers average $2,300.
The most affordable beach town in Florida is Pensacola, although technically speaking, it's a city, not a town. City living can be affordable, even with waterside living. Pensacola currently has a median home value of $235,000 in 2022. The median housing cost (for rent and mortgages) is $932 per month.
According to Realtor.com, the Miami area was the least affordable rental market in February. According to Realtor.com, the area of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach was the top Sun Belt market for rent increases that month, followed by the area of Orlando, Kissimmee and Sanford and the area of Tampa, St.Where is the most affordable place to live right now? ›
- Hickory, NC.
- Youngstown, OH.
- Huntington, WV & Ashland, KY-OH.
- Fort Wayne, IN.
- Beaumont, TX.
- Peoria, IL.
- Satellite Beach. The safest place to live in Florida is Satellite Beach. ...
- Marco Island. Marco Island is one of the safest cities on the west coast of Florida. ...
- Weston. ...
- North Palm Beach. ...
- Naples. ...
- Cooper City. ...
- Port Orange. ...
Of the 592 towns in the state with available data, Gifford ranks as the poorest. The typical Gifford household earns just $22,353 a year, 63.8% less than the statewide median household income.What Florida county has lowest cost of living? ›
- Hamilton County. ...
- Holmes County. ...
- Madison County. Median income: $39,503. ...
- Dixie County. Median income: $44,287. ...
- Calhoun County. Median income: $38,098. ...
- Hardee County. Median income: $41,395. ...
- Liberty County. Median income: $42,438. ...
- Jackson County. Median income: $43,416.
As with any location, the cost of living varies along Florida's coastline. Generally, Northeast Florida offers a more affordable lifestyle, with Jacksonville's housing costs being lower than the national average. On the other hand, St. Augustine's popularity as a historic destination makes it slightly more expensive.