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Cost of Living in Florida, 2021

By: Davina Ward
September 14, 2021

Imagine warm, sunny weather for the majority of the year. Add in white sand beaches, delectable cuisine, and a plethora of entertainment options that mean you’ll never be bored again. That’s the dream Florida residents get to live every day.

If you are considering moving to Florida, it’s crucial to figure out your budget beforehand.

This guide will break down the cost of living in Florida to help you determine whether you can afford to live comfortably in the Sunshine State. Let’s dive in!

Florida Housing Costs

Since 2020, rent and housing prices have experienced a substantial drop across the state of Florida. Over the past year, prices have experienced record lows. However, they’re currently on the rebound.

That said, it’ll take a fair period of time before rent prices recover to their previous year and beyond. Even now, the year-over-year rent price comparison shows that rent prices, though failing to reach their pre-pandemic numbers, are on the rise.

Here's a breakdown of the current rent prices for both one and two-bedroom apartment units in Florida's major metropolitan areas.

  • Miami rent prices have increased by 2.7% over the past month and a 19.9% increase from last year's rates. Currently, the median price of a one-bedroom apartment in Miami sits at $1,478. A two-bedroom apartment sits at $1,931.
  • Fort Lauderdale rent prices have increased by 2% over the past month. According to year-over-year comparisons, rent prices have increased by 17.1% compared to last year at the same time. Currently, a one-bedroom's median price is $1,290, and a two-bedrooms’ price sits at $1,550.
  • Tampa's rent prices have also shown an increase over the past month by a whopping 4.4%. Tampa rent prices are also up 29.4% from a year-over-year comparison. The median rent price for a one-bedroom unit is $1,387. A two-bedroom unit runs for $1,691.
  • Orlando has experienced a significant 4.1% rent price increase over the past month and a 21.2% increase compared to last year's rates of the same time. Currently, the median rent price for a one-bedroom apartment sits at $1,375. The median price for a two-bedroom unit sits at $1,634.

Learn more about Miami and Orlando's average rent prices and trends.

Florida Transportation

According to MIT's living wage calculator, a single adult resident of Florida can expect to pay $5,113 in transportation costs annually. A family of four, with two adults and two children, can expect to pay $13,896 in transportation costs annually.

The calculation for these costs includes the number of vehicles used, gas, vehicle insurance, maintenance costs, and public transportation costs. That said, depending on your commute, whether you will rely on public transportation, and your car ownership information (owned, leased, or financed), you may come up with a vastly different number.

Florida is not known for its robust public transportation options. However, major metropolitan areas have functional public transportation networks that enable residents to get around.

That said, if you opt to forego owning a personal vehicle in a major city like Miami, expect to pay $1,740 annually for year-round access to buses and trains.

Florida Food Costs

Besides its sandy beaches, Florida is known for its plethora of dining options. It is a verifiable foodie paradise. That said, visiting these delightful food spots can make a dent in your budget.

Data collected from MIT's typical expenses report shows that Floridians spend a substantial amount on food-related expenses monthly. As MIT's data is collected on the premise that no meals consumed are made outside of the home, it's important to consider the costs of dining out alongside them.

The following breakdown assumes that two adults eat out a modest one time monthly and prepare the rest of their meals at home. Here's how much you can expect to spend on food in Florida's major metropolitan areas.

  • Miami: $365
  • Jacksonville: $333
  • Tampa: $340
  • Orlando: $321
  • Saint Petersburg: $335

Florida Healthcare Costs

Health insurance costs will vary greatly depending on your personal health, medication costs, whether you rely on employer-provided or personal health insurance, and the number of individuals in your household.

In short, it can be really challenging to find a number that accurately represents healthcare costs.

However, using MIT's data, we've collected the average healthcare costs associated with a single individual and a household. Here's what those numbers look like:

  • Single Adult Annual Healthcare Costs: $2,792
  • Family of Four Annual Healthcare Costs: $9,249

You can shop for a healthcare insurance plan that fits your and your family's needs and budget online via Florida's health insurance marketplace.

Florida Utilities

Considering the notoriously warm Florida climate, it's essential to know what to expect when you receive your first monthly utility bill. The good news is that many Florida metropolitan areas boast renter utility bills that are much lower than the national average.

The average monthly utility bill across the U.S. is $157 for basic utilities including electricity, water, and gas. Here's a breakdown of the average cost for basic utilities in Orlando, Tampa, and Miami.

  • Orlando: $178.09
  • Tampa: $159.74
  • Miami: $140.99

Keep in mind that these rates reflect the average cost for basic utilities. You’ll have to refer to your local municipality regulations and pricing for trash collection, the final public utility.

Many households have begun considering the price of cell phone service, cable (or streaming services), and internet service among their personal monthly utilities. These are things that most people would deem a necessity.

These costs vary greatly from one provider to another. They’re also based on your personal circumstances, so it can be difficult to come up with an accurate estimate.

Be sure to research the top providers in your area before making your move and choosing a plan, so you can have an accurate line item in your updated budget.

Fitness and Entertainment

For those looking for recreation opportunities, Florida is a state that is chock-full of them. Seriously, there’s no shortage of things to do.

That said, it’s easy to run up your entertainment budget line if you’re not too careful. Luckily, there are tons of free and paid entertainment options to choose from. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the fitness and entertainment options that Florida has to offer.

Gym Memberships

If you join a national gym chain, such as L.A. Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, or Planet Fitness, you'll likely catch a deal on your gym membership, with some pricing tiers starting as low as $10 a month.

However, if you're looking for a cheaper alternative, lacing up your sneakers and heading out for a run at one of Florida's many public parks and beaches might be the simplest and least expensive way to break a sweat.

State Parks in Florida

Florida boasts many state parks, each offering a unique and wildly entertaining adventure for the price of parking (generally $6 a vehicle). Here are some of the most beautiful state parks you need to visit in Florida:

  • Oleta River State Park features a fishing, swimming, camping, paddling, picnic areas, and snorkeling in a saltwater lagoon. It also features trails for walking, running, and biking, all within half an hour away from downtown Miami.
  • Hillsborough River State Park is just minutes away from Downtown Tampa. This state park offers geocaching, fishing, biking, hiking, walking, horseback riding, swimming, and more.
  • Wekiwa Springs State Park is located in close proximity to Downtown Orlando and is; one of the best neighborhoods in Orlando. Head over for a day of fun birding, camping, hiking, mountain biking, paddling, snorkeling, and viewing wildlife.

Visit a Famed Attraction

Florida is hard to compete with in terms of its sheer number of famed attractions. Just keep in mind that these attractions are generally expensive to enjoy.

If you're looking for a day of entertainment and fun, then you've got a lot of options. Check out Disney World, Universal Studios (home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter), the Daytona 500 Speedway, or the Kennedy Space Center. Make a weekend of it and enjoy an in-state vacation.

Other Expenses to Consider in Florida

The one thing about moving to another state is that it can be challenging to anticipate the “hidden costs” of making the move. These expenses are often completely forgotten about when creating a budget. Even worse, sometimes people assume they’re at a much lower rate than they should be.

Don’t fall prey to these costs. Here are some of the additional expenses to consider in Florida.

  • Childcare Costs: Childcare costs can be expensive in the state of Florida. The average annual cost of childcare for a single child in the state is $9,271.43. That rises to $18,542.86 for two children.
  • Sales Tax: Although Florida’s sales tax rate is lower than some other states, it’s still a significant 6%. That’ll certainly make a difference to your bank account. Additionally, some counties may add a percentage point or two to this tax rate. That can increase it substantially. So be sure to check your county’s tax rate.
  • Income Tax: Florida does not have a state income tax rate. That’s a real advantage to living in the Sunshine State.

According to data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of Florida residents sits at $51,908. However, this number only tells a part of the story.

Understanding how much you need to earn starts by understanding how much you need to earn to live comfortably. It’s recommended that you earn a minimum of three times your monthly rent cost. That way, you can ensure that you aren’t overburdened by housing costs.

The golden rule of budgeting states that your rent should amount to no more than 30% of your monthly income.

Using Tampa as an example, where the median rent price of a one-bedroom apartment is $1,387, a renter should earn at least $4,161 monthly before taxes. This translates to an annual salary of $49,932.

That said, it’s essential to build your budget before making the move to Florida. Not only will this help you ensure that you can afford to live in the state, but it can also give you an idea of what costs to expect when you get there.

Final Thoughts - What Do I Need to Know When Moving to Florida?

Knowing whether you can afford to live in Florida is crucial. If you’ve built your budget and are sure that it’s a move you can afford, congrats!

Get started with your apartment search. Take our quiz to help you find your dream apartment in Florida.

You can also learn more about:

Orlando:

Miami:

Tampa:

Learn more about the best and cheapest places to live in Florida.

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AUTHOR
Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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