Buying a Home 4 MIN READ

2021 best places to live in Florida

Written by Brittany Slagle

If you’re thinking of moving to Florida, you’re in good company. Thousands of people move to the Sunshine State each year to enjoy its beautiful beaches, outdoor adventures, and an abundance of amusement parks. The state has endless miles of coastline and more than 11,000 miles of rivers and waterways, which make it the perfect destination for those who enjoy water-based activities. 

A top reason why many people move to the state is its affordability. The typical home value in Florida is $262,291, while the median home price in the sunny state of California is more than double, currently at $599,159. The state has no personal income tax, which is a large benefit to those in the workforce and retirees. 

If you haven’t spent much time in Florida, you might wonder which city is the best choice for your move. A variety of factors likely play into that decision, including affordability, the job market, safety and the overall vibe of the city. Use this list as a starting point from which to launch your potential move. 

Port St. Lucie

Coastal view of Port St. Lucie, Florida with blue skies and water on horizon

Port St. Lucie is located along the Florida coast and situated halfway between Orlando and Miami. The city has a population of 195,248 and is a good fit for those wanting a larger city, but one that is not as large as Miami, Tampa, or Orlando. Residents of Port St. Lucie have easy access to the St. Lucie River, which is ideal for boating and fishing. Additionally, the New York Mets hold their spring training at the local Clover Park, which allows sports enthusiasts to be in-person spectators. Also, Port St. Lucie is home to the PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance.

As a resident of the city, you can also enjoy walking on the beach, horseback riding, or hiking local nature preserves. Water cruises frequently travel on the Indian River, providing an opportunity to view wildlife. The Oxbow Eco-Center allows visitors to enjoy the 225-acre wildlife preserve. 

The median home price in the city is $244,689, and the median household income is $48,898 annually. 

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Cape Coral 

Cape Coral is situated on Florida’s Gulf Coast and is home to roughly 183,000 residents. The city has beautiful ocean views and has more than 400 miles of canals. A low crime rate and low cost of living attract new residents to the city. 

Residents enjoy a variety of water opportunities, including playing in the Gulf of Mexico, visiting the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve, or fishing on the Caloosahatchee River. The city’s public schools are known for their students’ excellent academic performance, as they continually exceed the national averages. 

The typical home value in Cape Coral is $248,354, and the average household income in Coral, Florida, is $57,125. However, home values have steadily risen. 

Clearwater

View of beach in Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater is home to pristine beaches, which give residents opportunities to fish, play, or walk along the coastline. The city has roughly 100,000 residents and is close to areas in which people can enjoy hiking, canoeing, and bike paths. 

Residents can visit a variety of local attractions, including the St. Pete Pier, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and the Dali Museum. The city has a healthy job market, which is fueled by the technology industry. 

The cost of living is lower than that in other coastal communities nationwide. Renters and homeowners can expect to pay about 28% less than the national average, making Clearwater an affordable city. The median home price in the area is $226,710, and the median income is $47,070 annually. 

Oviedo 

Oviedo is a relatively small town with a population of 41,557 and is located within a close commute to the Orlando metro area. Beaches can be reached within 30 minutes, and most of the state’s popular theme parks are less than an hour away. People select this community due to its low crime rate and good public schools. 

Residents can enjoy a variety of events year-round, including the Highland Games, the Taste of Oviedo street festival, the BBQ Blowout, and the Winter Springs Festival of the Arts. 

Relocate America named Oviedo as one of the Top 100 Cities to Live In and Family Circle called it “one of the best towns for families.” The city is also home to a high-tech high tech corridor that features the digital media simulation industry and medical science organizations. The median home price is $351,224, and the median household income is $82,259 annually

Sarasota 

Sarasota is nestled in the central Florida coastline and offers residents access to pristine beaches, outdoor activities, and cultural sites. The city is located on the south side of the Tampa Bay metro area and located close to Fort Myers, which gives residents a variety of employment options. The community is small, with a population of around 55,000. 

Cultural events are available year-round, including art, musical theater, and outdoor musical showcases. During June, the city hosts the Sarasota Music Festival, which lasts a few weeks. The city also has a strong medical system and Sarasota Memorial Hospital is among the largest acute care facilities in the state. 

A prime benefit of the city is that it offers the chance to live along the coastline but with a lower cost of living than many other coastal cities. The average cost of a home in Sarasota is about $259,000, and the median household income is $47,884. 

Moving forward with greater confidence 

Living in Florida offers the promise of year-round sunny and warm temperatures with about 200 sunshine-filled days annually. Beautiful beaches and communities that offer discounts to locals on entertainment, such as amusement parks, mean that you are unlikely to run out of things to do. 

Access to affordable housing, good health care, and excellent schools make the move to Florida a top consideration for families and retirees. Decide which city is best by analyzing your priorities in greater depth and then weighing them against the cost, location, and opportunities available for both recreation and employment in each city.


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