Top 5 Cheap Cities in Florida

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Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida

Jacksonville is located on the coast in the northeastern part of the state. Residents have access to Interstate 95 and the airport. It is the most populous city in Florida – 911.5 thousand people live in it (from April 2010 to July 2019, the figure increased by 10.9%). In addition to green spaces, nature preserves and a zoo, it has an art museum, urban beaches, shopping malls and restaurants. Jacksonville also has good medical care (more than 20 hospitals) and plenty of educational opportunities. Thus, there are 190 public and more than 600 private schools in and around the city. Further education can be obtained in local colleges and universities, among which one of the best in the state – the University of North Florida. The cost of living in the city is 7% lower than the national average and 50% lower than in New York City. Both buying and renting a home is affordable for locals (spoiler: as in all other cities in this ranking):

  • ratio of median housing cost to median annual household income: $173,200/$54,700;
  • ratio of income to rent and utilities: $54,700/$12,700.

75.8% of local residents own their homes in Jacksonville.

The following are considered the best neighborhoods to live in.

  • Northside with the cost of houses from $200 thousand to $1 million. Here, as a rule, families with children settle down.
  • Riverside, in which the range of housing costs is even wider – from $100 thousand to $3 million. The district is often chosen by young professionals.
  • San Marco, in which prices for houses go up to $5 million! This is a neighborhood of art, galleries, restaurants, shopping and other entertainment.
  • Orange Park offers, perhaps, the most budget homes – the upper limit of $650 thousand. Located in the suburbs, you can say, in the countryside.
  • Southside is also considered budget ($150-850 thousand), but a promising neighborhood, suitable for those who are buying their first home.

Unemployment rate in Jacksonville in 2021 – 4.2% (below the national average of 5.8%.) But the poverty rate is higher than the national average – 14.9% vs. 10.5%, respectively. Among the city’s most prestigious employers are two naval air stations, hospitals and banking entities. Another 14,000 people are employed by Duval County Public Schools. It takes locals an estimated 25 minutes to get to work. There are 6.49 violent crimes per thousand residents here, which is higher than the state (3.78) and national (4.00) median.

St. Petersburg, Florida

Located in the central part of the state on the west coast. It is connected to other major areas by highways. There are several small airports in the city, and St. Pete Clearwater and Tampa International St. Pete are within a half-hour drive. Lives in the American Peter 265.3 thousand people (from April 2010 to July 2019, this figure increased by 7.6%). The city has a scenic pier area with many restaurants, the Salvador Dali Museum, various beaches and nature trails. Also based here are more than 30 medical centers, 45 public and more than 150 private schools, colleges and the University of South Florida campus. However, the area’s educational infrastructure is rated below average. The city’s cost of living is 1% lower than the national average, 47% lower than New York City, and 5% lower than Jacksonville. Buying your own home and renting are not burdensome for local residents:

  • Ratio of median home value to median annual household income: $205k/$57k;
  • ratio of income to rent and utilities: $57 thousand/$13.4 thousand.

60.4% of “St. Petersburg residents” own their house.

Analysts recommend choosing housing in the following neighborhoods.

  • Bayway Isles. The range of house prices is really large – from $150 thousand to $3.5 million. 12 minutes to the city center.
  • Casa Del Mar, where condominiums are mostly concentrated, can offer housing from $175 thousand to $575 thousand.
  • In Colonial Place houses can be found for $100 thousand, and for $730 thousand.
  • Harcourt – here you can buy a home in the range of $250-600 thousand. In the neighborhood there are many options for single-family homes.
  • Forbes Park Roberta, perhaps, the least expensive – real estate in it costs from $175 thousand to $300 thousand. But the objects here are small and, as a rule, are located on compact plots.

The unemployment rate in the city in 2021 is 4.6%, the poverty rate – 13.4%. The largest employers are Jabil, Raymond James and HSN. Local citizens are also often employed in the financial services and retail industries. The average commute time to work is just over 23 minutes, the shortest time in the entire ranking. There are 6.01 crimes per thousand local residents.

Cape Coral

Located in southwest Florida on the Gulf Coast. Interstate 75 connects the city to other major areas in the western part of the state. And a half-hour drive away is Southwest Florida International Airport. Cape Coral is served by a large number of waterways and has a well-developed beach infrastructure. Interestingly, dolphins and other aquatic life are often seen in the area! In addition, there are various parks, eco-trails, and the Four Mile Cove Nature Preserve.

Cape Coral has a population of 200,972 (2019 estimate). That said, the population has grown by 26% in ten years, which is many times higher than the previous two ranking participants (and basically higher than all cities on this list). The educational infrastructure is considered top-notch. Here, for example, you can study at Florida Gulf Coast Technical College or University of Florida (it is half an hour away – in Fort Myers). There are also 27 public schools and 56 private schools in Cape Coral. The city’s cost of living is 4% higher than the national average, but 45% lower than New York City. There should be no financial problems with buying a home:

  • ratio of median property value to median annual household income: $229,400/$61,600;
  • ratio of income to rent and utilities: $61.6 thousand/$15 thousand.

74.5% of local residents own their homes.

The best neighborhoods to live in are:

  • Gator Circle with homes from $250k to $450k. The neighborhood is brand new – it was founded in 2004. In his neighborhood Yellow Fever Creek Preserve and Del Tura Golf Club.
  • Sunset Pointe – here you can buy a house within $300-525 thousand. Also a relatively new neighborhood, which is mainly represented by single-family homes.
  • Casa Di Fiori is even cheaper – condominiums, built mostly in 2012, cost $175-250 thousand. Now there are gradually appearing and detached family houses.
  • There are also condominiums in Sandy Circle, and with the same price range as in the previous one, Casa Di Fiori. However, the buildings here are much older, dating back to 1975.
  • Blue Heron is the same price range as the previous two neighborhoods in Cape Coral.

The city’s unemployment rate in 2021 is 4.6% and the poverty rate is 10.4%. The largest employer in the area is Viking Construction. In addition to this corporation, local citizens are employed by Century 21 Sunbelt Realty and Sellstate Priority Realty. The average commute time to work is just under half an hour. Safety in the city is at a high level. There are 1.16 crimes per thousand residents here, which is well below state and national medians.

Palm Bay

Located in central Florida on the east coast. Transportation accessibility is good, with an exit to Interstate 95 and an airport in nearby Melbourn a short drive away. There are 115,500 people living in the city. And that number grew by 11.1% from April 2010 to July 2019.

Palm Bay is very green with Castaway Point Park, Turkey Creek Preserve, and Fred Poppe Regional Park, as well as hiking trails with beach access and ocean views. The educational infrastructure here is average. It is represented by the campus of Eastern Florida State College, public (25) and private (45) schools. But the main trump card is the University of Central Florida, which, however, is an hour’s drive away.

Palm Bay has good hospitals, and nearby Melbourn has a regional medical center. The city’s cost of living is 11% lower than the national average. Real estate is also inexpensive:

  • Ratio of median home value to median annual household income: $155,200/$51,400;
  • ratio of income to rent and utilities: $51.4 thousand/$12.7 thousand.

74.5% of local residents own their homes.

Analysts recommend choosing properties in these neighborhoods:

  • Waterstone with homes ranging from $175k to $350k. This is a suburban area with a large number of single-family homes.
  • Parkside West, where home prices start at $250k and go up to $350k.
  • Magnolia Park at Bayside Lakes has larger homes priced from $275k to $350k.
  • Riviera Key with a home price range of $200k to $275k. Although the neighborhood is close to the highway, there are extensive natural areas nearby.
  • Port Malabar Country Club offers even more budget-friendly homes ranging from $150k to $450k.

Palm Bay has an unemployment rate of 4.3% and a poverty rate of 13%, which is higher than the national average. Major employers include MC Test Service, Advanced Magnet Lab, and ISO Group, which are active in aerospace maintenance and development. On average, people get to work in 26.5 minutes. There are 3.43 violent crimes per thousand residents here, which is below state and national medians.

Palm Coast

Palm Coast is located an hour south of Jacksonville on the state’s east coast. It can be reached via Daytona Beach International Airport 45 minutes south of the city or Interstate 95. Palm Coast has the fewest people of all the cities in the ranking – only 90 thousand. But from April 2010 to July 2019, their number increased by 19.4%!

Here, as in all previous locations, there are plenty of natural areas, parks and eco-trails, as well as beaches and golf clubs. In terms of education, Palm Coast is not inferior to similarly sized neighborhoods: the level of local colleges and few schools (10 public and 25 private) is above average. The city’s cost of living is 4% lower than the national average, but 3% higher than Jacksonville, for example. Here’s how real estate affordability is doing here:

  • Ratio of median home value to median annual household income: $209,300/$54,300;
  • ratio of income to rent and utilities: $54.3k/$15.4k.

74.3% of local residents own their homes.

The best neighborhoods to live in are considered:

  • Palm Harbor, where homes can be found for $150k. The upper limit is $450k. This is probably the most sought-after neighborhood in Palm Coast.
  • Cypress Knoll – the central district, and therefore the houses in it are much more expensive – up to $525 thousand housing is not, prices go up to $ 700 thousand.
  • Lehigh Woods, where you can buy a house in the range of $225-475 thousand.
  • Quail Hollow, which is fast-growing and close to the highway, with prices in the range of $225-425k.
  • Matanzas Woods is commensurate with the previous two neighborhoods in terms of prices.

The unemployment rate in 2021 is 5% and the poverty rate is 12.3%, which is higher than the national average. Many jobs in Palm Coast can be found in the hospitality sector, and many people also work on golf courses. On average, residents get to work in 26.6 minutes. Crime does not mar local life. There are 1.65 incidents per thousand residents, which is significantly lower than Florida in particular and the States as a whole.

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