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 2022
Where Alligator HWY 90 meets Alligator HWY 129 is our most affordable city in Florida for 2022, 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 $44,505 with average home prices up around $96,700. So it’s no surprise that Live Oak scored off our charts in terms of snackability. They are the fourth 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”.
Located in the Florida Panhandle along I-10, DeFuniak Springs is Florida’s second cheapest place to call home. DeFuniak Springs has a little something for everyone — from the Chautauqua Vineyards & Winery, to the gorgeous buildings of the Historic District to the quaint mom-n-pop shops like the Little Big Store.
Not to mention that mountain climbers have their work cut out for them here: the highest point in Florida is at DeFuniak Springs’ Britton Hill, a 345-foot peak that ranks as the lowest “high point” in the US.
Rent in DeFuniak Springs goes for a measly $738. For those looking to buy a home here, the median price is around $125,900. The median household income in DeFuniak Springs is $49,663, but the best part is that property value, income, and the number of employees here have all gone up by over 10% each in the past year.
Keep your eye on DeFuniak Springs because it’s got a winning combination of trends going for it.
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 2022.
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.’
Located in Central Florida just East of Tampa, Fort Meade is the Sunshine State’s fourth most affordable city for 2022.
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.
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 fifth most affordable city in Florida for 2022. 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.
Located in the Tampa Bay area, Dade city ranks as the sixth most affordable place in Florida. Homes in Dade city are relatively cheap at a median price of $117,200, and with residents earning a median income of $53,406, Dade City has the fifth best ratio of home price to income in Florida. Sounds like an excellent place to invest in some property in the fifth fastest growing state in the country.
Eustis is a city in Lake County, Florida, United States. The population was 15,106 at the 2000 census. The Census Bureau estimated the population in 2008 to be 19,129. It is part of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Metropolitan Statistical Area. Eustis High School is the town’s local public high school.
Callaway is a city in Bay County, Florida, United States, and is a suburb of Panama City. The population was 14,405 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Slightly northwest of Disney World, in central Florida, is our ninth most affordable city, Mascotte. This little city in Lakeland County had one of the highest jobs snackability scores on our list: an 8.5/10. Mascotte’s jobs in healthcare, juice making, and education are keeping the real estate agents, here, very happy. The median home price is close to $165,200.
Now, if those jobs don’t sound like they’re going to work, we hear Disney’s hiring.
Located almost dead center between Gainesville and Orlando, right in the middle of the state, is Belleview. The cost of living in this “City with Small Town Charm” is 20% lower than the overall cost of living in Florida. While almost every aspect of living here is cheaper, home prices are the main driver of affordability. The median home price sits at $96,600, the tenth lowest mark in the state. Rents are equally cheap. You can score a rental for a median price of $846 per month.
Much of the social scene in Belleview revolves around Lake Lillian. There are events held by the lake almost year round including easter egg hunts, lights at night during the winter, and annual events that honor the city’s history. In the same vein, there are many parks and hikes in the surrounding area that make the town a great place for families that everyone can afford.
Cheapest Places To Live In Florida FAQs
The county in Florida with the lowest cost of living is Suwannee County. The average living wage in Suwannee County is $78,392 according to MIT data. Suwannee County has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to Florida as a whole. Childcare costs $11,498 a year in Suwannee County for two children compared to the Florida average of $16,916. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $8,808 per year in Suwannee County compared to $15,237 on average in Florida.
The cost of living in Florida is 2.4% higher than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in Florida is $91,891 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a Florida household is $57,703.
The cheapest housing market in Florida is Pembroke Park. The average home value in Pembroke Park is $47,100, the lowest in the state. The average home value in Florida is $232,000, almost 4.9 times higher than Pembroke Park.
Methodology: How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Sunshine State For 2022
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- 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 2016-2020 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 221 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.
Summary: 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 2022.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Florida according to the data:
- Key West
- West Miami
For more Florida reading, check out:
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Florida
|19||Green Cove Springs||51.33|
|35||New Port Richey||63.0|
|58||Fort Walton Beach||79.0|
|97||Royal Palm Beach||102.0|