The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Florida For 2021


We used data and science to determine which places in Florida go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the cheapest places to live in Florida.

If you ask any foreigner about America, you will find that they likely know of at least three states: New York, California, and Florida. Obviously, New York is the Big Apple and California has the company Apple, so why is Florida so famous?

The great weather and Disney, of course. You can also spend an afternoon exploring the Everglades and a night in one of Miami's top clubs. Who wouldn't want to live in the Sunshine State-- a place where summer reigns supreme and you have a theme park where magic is alive year-round. Everything reminds you of those summer vacation days back in grade school.

No wonder Florida is known as a retirement state. Everyone knows that Florida has something special so why not spend your retirement someplace beautiful. But Florida doesn't just have the weather, the beaches, and Disney World going for it. It also has one massive asset, which is its affordability. Florida is cheap. This southern state has got it all and it won't leave you penniless.

So where are the most affordable places in Florida? Will you be able to live near the beach without paying massive amounts in rent? Will you end up living in swamps? The answer: no. Curious which cities made the cut -- read on.

What is the cheapest place to live in Florida? Live Oak has done it again, placing first in the top ten cheapest cities to live in Florida. A great place to live in the Sunshine State if you like paddling over lakes.

If you want to live near Georgia, but not in it, then you've got Fort Meade, Live Oak, and Macclenny. If you are looking for that beachside oasis, check out Perry, Florida. No matter where you end up with these top 10, you know you will have one thing: a bank that isn't broke.

Want to learn how we created this top ten list? Read on to learn more about our methodology and how these cities are so cheap.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Florida and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Florida For 2021

Live Oak, FL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,890
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 66.7x (214th cheapest)
More On Live Oak: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Where Alligator HWY 90 meets Alligator HWY 129 is our most affordable city in Florida for 2021, Live Oak. Located in northern Florida, agriculture, timber, and technology have been keeping the economy in this little Suwannee County city moving in right direction.

The median income, here, is close to $47,859 with average home prices up around $110,600. So it's no surprise that Live Oak scored off our charts in terms of snackability. They are the eighth most affordable city when we looked at home price to income ratio. Affordability = happiness. We get why your city's motto is "A Caring Community".

Fort Meade, FL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,104
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.5x (200th cheapest)
More On Fort Meade: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Located in Central Florida just East of Tampa, Fort Meade is the Sunshine State's second most affordable city for 2021.

This little city in Polk County crushed our HomeSnack's snackabiliy scale by earning an 8.5/10 for affordability. This first place could not have been accomplished without their blue ribbon for most affordable city in terms of home price to income ratio. And it couldn't have happened without great jobs and a strong economy.

Word on the street is Fort Meade is popular with kayakers, canoers, and people who love legos. We think those activities are a great way to wind down after a long day of working to pay for Fort Meade's low cost of living.

Quincy, FL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,334
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.7x (74th cheapest)
More On Quincy: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

For a city to be truly hip, it needs to be affordable.

Once a tobacco manufacturing hub, Quincy scored a 7/10 for affordability and a 9/10 for diversity. We think that makes Quincy truly hip; and thus, affordable. More importantly, this little city in Gadsden County is our third most affordable city in Florida for 2021.

Coca Cola also made a lot of Quincy residents wealthy. Do we think that has something to do with why the city is so great and so affordable? Probably. Either way, Quincy, you are 'The Heart of Florida's Future.'

Macclenny, FL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 6,592
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.2x (46th cheapest)
More On Macclenny: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Macclenny, Florida is an ideal destination when you're trying find that affordable big town feel. This is definitely one of the reasons it is our fourth most affordable city in Florida for 2021. Nicknamed the 'Babymaker,' this city must be affordable, right.

All baby making aside, this little city in Baker County is great place to live. And while you're deciding what home to buy, Macclenny has great deals when it comes to renting. They are the ninth cheapest place to rent based on income to rent ratio. So pack up the family camper and get-a-movin', because Macclenny's great deals won't last long.

Clewiston, FL

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 7,781
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (14th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.5x (212th cheapest)
More On Clewiston: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Florida may have the tenth highest rent prices in America, but you wouldn't know it living in Clewiston. The median rent in Clewiston is $752, which is less than half the statewide average. You can use your extra cash to go on a safari in the Everglades, or save the money and just chill on Lake Okeechobee

Buying is slightly less attractive in Clewiston, where the median home price is $112,600. With residents earning a median income of $41,759, Clewiston has the 14th lowest home price to income ratio in the state.

Lake Alfred, FL

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 5,788
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 12)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (18th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 58.3x (83rd cheapest)
More On Lake Alfred: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Situated right in between Tampa and Orlando, Lake Alfred ranks as the sixth most affordable city in Florida for 2021.

Folks in Lake Alfred have an eye for value, as evidenced by the multiple antiques shops around. Lake Alfred also has one of the nicest parks in the area at the Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve.

Unemployment is fairly low in Lake Alfred at 4.75%, and the overall crime rate is about 75% below the national average. It's good knowing you don't have to trade security for affordability here.

Homes in Lake Alfred sell for a median price of $142,700, and the median household income is $51,563. Low housing costs are part of the reason Lake Alfred has such a low overall cost of living, but everything -- from groceries to utilities to healthcare -- is cheaper here than the national average.

Bartow, FL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 19,440
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (23rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.8x (87th cheapest)
More On Bartow: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Bartown is located a stone's throw from Lake Hancock, just East of Tampa. The "City of Oaks and Azaleas" is our seventh most affordable in citrus-land. Bartow's overall snackability score was strong enough to keep them in the top five for 2021. Not surprising considering they are ninth most affordable in terms of home price to income. They scored an overall 8/10 for affordability.

Bartow must be something right in terms of affordability. The city is projected to double by 2030.

Newberry, FL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,944
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (15th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 71.6x (12th cheapest)
More On Newberry: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

You don't have to live on ramen noodles and the McDonald's dollar menu to live in our eighth most affordable city in Florida for 2021: Newberry. This city in Alachua County is our 15th most affordable city in terms of home prices in line with median income. Once an old phosphate mining city, Newberry has since turned to commodity based agriculture to support their economy.

So if your looking to dump your job to run off and start a watermelon farm in the Florida sticks, Newberry is the spot.

High Springs, FL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,989
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (27th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.7x (119th cheapest)
More On High Springs: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Located 80 miles southwest of Jacksonville, High Springs is the ninth cheapest city in Florida. High Springs really stands out in terms of its income to rent ratio, with residents earning a median income of $57,132 and paying a median rent of $745. It's about equally affordable if you're buying, with a median home price of $167,800. Home to a state park and multiple swimming springs, you don't have to pay a dime to have a good time in High Springs.

Defuniak Springs, FL

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 6,448
Rank Last Year: 76 (Up 66)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (26th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.3x (188th cheapest)
More On Defuniak Springs: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

DeFuniak Springs is a city in Walton County, Florida, United States. The population was 5,089 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Walton County.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Sunshine State For 2021

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Florida
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2015-2019 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Florida to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 220 places in Florida that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Florida according to the data is Live Oak. You can download the data here.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Florida Cheapskate

If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Florida, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Florida for 2021.

Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Florida according to the data:

  1. Surfside
  2. Key West
  3. West Miami

For more Florida reading, check out:

The Most Affordable Places To Live In Florida

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Live Oak 14.67 6,890 2.3x 66.7x
2 Fort Meade 15.33 6,104 1.8x 57.5x
3 Quincy 17.33 7,334 2.1x 56.7x
4 Macclenny 17.67 6,592 2.3x 71.2x
5 Clewiston 29.33 7,781 2.7x 55.5x
6 Lake Alfred 31.33 5,788 2.8x 58.3x
7 Bartow 33.33 19,440 2.9x 56.8x
8 Newberry 33.67 5,944 2.7x 71.6x
9 High Springs 34.0 5,989 2.9x 76.7x
10 Defuniak Springs 34.67 6,448 2.9x 56.3x
11 Okeechobee 36.0 5,724 2.7x 53.6x
12 Perry 42.33 6,896 2.6x 48.1x
13 Alachua 44.67 9,867 2.8x 59.5x
14 Milton 44.67 9,995 2.3x 49.0x
15 Callaway 47.67 14,958 2.9x 52.2x
16 Crestview 52.67 24,117 3.0x 53.7x
17 Orange Park 54.5 8,734 3.1x 58.9x
18 Dade City 55.67 7,121 2.3x 44.0x
19 New Port Richey 55.67 16,223 2.5x 43.0x
20 Brooksville 56.0 8,191 1.9x 40.4x
21 Plant City 57.67 39,012 3.1x 54.4x
22 Titusville 58.0 45,932 3.1x 49.2x
23 Auburndale 58.17 15,799 3.3x 60.9x
24 Cocoa 58.33 18,285 3.0x 46.9x
25 Zephyrhills 58.33 15,573 2.7x 43.6x
26 Lake City 59.33 12,063 2.8x 44.4x
27 Labelle 59.33 5,106 2.7x 42.2x
28 Avon Park 59.67 10,461 2.3x 39.4x
29 Green Cove Springs 59.83 7,923 3.3x 62.2x
30 South Bay 61.33 5,158 2.6x 40.2x
31 Lynn Haven 62.33 20,948 3.0x 56.6x
32 Palmetto 63.0 13,611 3.2x 51.5x
33 Springfield 63.33 9,319 2.9x 43.8x
34 Palm Bay 63.67 111,997 3.0x 48.5x
35 Niceville 63.67 15,386 3.1x 68.8x
36 Eustis 64.33 20,700 3.5x 55.3x
37 Jacksonville 66.5 890,467 3.2x 51.4x
38 Lakeland 66.67 107,922 3.1x 47.6x
39 Palatka 68.0 10,363 2.8x 37.6x
40 Pahokee 69.33 6,269 3.6x 47.8x
41 Rockledge 69.33 27,305 3.0x 52.9x
42 Winter Haven 70.0 41,248 3.3x 48.6x
43 North Port 70.67 66,410 3.0x 50.3x
44 Debary 70.67 20,696 3.2x 57.8x
45 Deltona 71.0 90,403 2.9x 44.8x
46 Fort Walton Beach 71.33 22,084 3.4x 55.0x
47 Largo 71.33 84,130 2.8x 41.2x
48 Pinellas Park 73.0 52,857 3.1x 45.8x
49 Lake Park 73.67 8,508 3.3x 54.1x
50 Pembroke Park 74.33 6,677 2.2x 32.1x
51 Edgewater 74.67 23,324 3.1x 45.9x
52 Kenneth City 74.67 5,127 3.3x 46.9x
53 Oviedo 75.0 40,370 3.0x 58.9x
54 Tavares 76.0 16,752 3.2x 44.5x
55 Holly Hill 77.67 12,147 3.0x 37.6x
56 Ocala 77.67 59,267 3.4x 45.3x
57 Haines City 78.0 24,164 3.2x 43.2x
58 Lake Wales 78.33 16,035 3.8x 53.8x
59 Starke 79.0 5,393 3.0x 37.3x
60 Longwood 79.67 14,930 3.2x 53.7x
61 Pensacola 82.0 52,642 3.6x 52.9x
62 Orange City 82.33 11,990 2.9x 35.8x
63 Casselberry 84.33 27,950 3.2x 43.6x
64 Mascotte 85.0 5,743 3.6x 48.5x
65 Winter Springs 85.67 36,342 3.4x 57.1x
66 Safety Harbor 86.0 17,803 3.4x 59.2x
67 Lake Mary 86.0 16,698 3.3x 59.4x
68 Fruitland Park 86.0 7,848 3.8x 61.7x
69 Panama City 86.67 36,640 3.5x 46.5x
70 Ocoee 87.67 46,305 3.2x 52.3x
71 Fort Pierce 88.0 45,329 3.2x 37.3x
72 Melbourne 88.0 81,468 3.5x 47.3x
73 Gulfport 88.33 12,335 3.5x 49.2x
74 West Melbourne 88.67 22,225 3.3x 50.6x
75 Belle Isle 89.33 7,010 3.6x 100.0x
76 Arcadia 89.33 8,072 3.5x 40.2x
77 Sanford 91.0 59,700 3.3x 42.5x
78 Sebastian 91.67 25,107 3.6x 51.1x
79 Lady Lake 92.0 15,426 3.4x 41.1x
80 St. Petersburg 92.33 261,338 3.6x 51.1x
81 St. Cloud 92.67 51,158 3.6x 49.5x
82 Groveland 93.0 13,672 3.2x 45.0x
83 Temple Terrace 94.0 26,539 3.6x 55.1x
84 Inverness 94.67 7,281 3.5x 36.5x
85 Tarpon Springs 95.0 25,176 4.2x 58.8x
86 Apopka 95.5 51,800 3.5x 51.0x
87 Port Orange 96.67 62,726 3.5x 44.7x
88 South Daytona 99.33 12,879 3.6x 40.8x
89 Palm Springs 99.67 24,843 3.4x 37.2x
90 Marianna 100.33 6,923 3.9x 37.9x
91 Altamonte Springs 100.33 43,810 3.5x 44.6x
92 Greenacres 102.67 40,529 3.3x 37.3x
93 Lauderdale Lakes 103.67 35,606 3.4x 31.7x
94 Sebring 104.0 10,377 3.8x 35.5x
95 Coconut Creek 104.67 60,490 3.1x 37.8x
96 Cooper City 104.67 35,556 3.5x 57.0x
97 Winter Garden 105.67 43,648 4.3x 66.7x
98 Seminole 107.17 18,657 3.8x 47.5x
99 Cape Canaveral 107.67 10,377 4.5x 61.2x
100 Cape Coral 108.67 183,942 3.7x 49.5x

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.