Here's Where Hopeful Florida Retirees Have the Best Shot of Owning a Home

Miami is the most challenging place to buy a home in Florida, while Port St. Lucie offers the most accessible path to homeownership.

Miami Beach Florida
Updated June 18, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

A cherished milestone for Americans, homeownership has become increasingly difficult. While homeownership rates are declining due to limited housing supply, higher home prices, and stagnant wages, a few places remain where owning a home is feasible — without spending all of your income to pay your mortgage.

In a recent FinanceBuzz study, we examined the 100 largest cities in the U.S. and crunched the numbers to discover where Americans stand the best chance of owning a home. You may not be surprised to find that prospective homeowners in California have it rough, but what about the Sunshine State? 

We evaluated everything from mortgage and vacancy rates to income and student debt levels, and not surprisingly, several Florida cities ranked highly as being accessible to future homebuyers. These cities are especially favorable to retirees, with higher vacancy rates and lower-than-average home prices.

Here are the best cities in Florida for retirees to buy a home, ranked from most challenging to most accessible to homebuyers.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

Get a free quote


6. Miami

None Miami, United States

Residents of Miami spend more than 50% of their median household income on mortgage payments, so it’s not a surprise that Vice City has one of the lowest homeownership rates in the whole country. 

Miami renters also spend 31% of their gross income on rent — guess all the sun and sand are worth it! If you decide to make a go of it in the Magic City, Miami is known for its excellent medical care, nice weather, and free city services.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

Get a free quote



5. Orlando

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe orlando florida skyline

Orlando residents fare slightly better than their more Southern neighbors, putting 35% of their monthly income toward their mortgages. Only 40% of Orlando residents own their own homes, compared to over 80% in Port St. Lucie, Florida, an affluent area popular with retirees. 

For retirees looking for community, there are few better places — it's just south of The Villages, a sprawling retirement community with more than 130,000 residents. (Plus, with the city's proximity to Walt Disney World, you'll never have to work too hard to convince the grandkids to visit!)

4. Tampa

mandritoiu/Adobe aerial panorama of tampa florida

Tampa, population 398,000, is another city where Florida residents may need help to gain traction in a competitive housing market, thanks to high home prices and a median income of around $70,000. 

Still, nearly half of all Tampans own their homes, ranking it much higher on our list than Orlando or Miami. Retirees love the year-round sunshine and ample access to beaches and parks, which makes it ideal for those who like an active lifestyle.

Get a protection plan on all your appliances

Did you know if your air conditioner stops working, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it? Same with plumbing, electrical issues, appliances, and more.

Whether or not you’re a new homeowner, a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty could pick up the slack where insurance falls short and protect you against surprise expenses. If a covered system in your home breaks, you can call their hotline 24/7 to get it repaired.

For a limited time, you can get your first month free with a Single Payment home warranty plan.

Get a free quote



3 St. Petersburg

One of Florida’s best cities for prospective homeowners, St. Petersburg has a higher vacancy rate and lots of new construction compared to other cities we studied. 

St. Petersburg residents spend just 31% of their median income on their mortgage, and 60% of the city’s residents own their homes. Also known as "St. Pete," this Florida Gulf Coast city has laid-back, beautiful beaches, and more than 20% of the population is older than 65.

2. Jacksonville

Michael/Adobe jacksonville sunset

With a median home price under $400,000, Jacksonville was the second-best city in Florida for homebuyers. Homeowners here spend 27% of their income on their mortgage payments — among the lowest of all cities we surveyed nationwide. 

Some retirees here may be eligible for property tax exemptions as well. That's not all, though: Jacksonville is also home to 22 miles of beaches and the country's largest urban park system. 

1. Port St. Lucie

Felix Mizioznikov/Adobe port st lucie florida usa

Popular among retirees, this Florida city of 231,000 residents has a median income of $70,613 with an average home price of $413,600. Loads of new construction and a booming population — among the fastest-growing cities in Florida — make Port St. Lucie enticing and approachable for homebuyers.

 Its excellent location close to more expensive nearby towns like Vero Beach and West Palm Beach means there's always something to do, from golfing to fishing or just simply lounging on the beach. 


Bottom line

Nancy Pauwels/Adobe fort lauderdale florida

Thanks to its great weather, a large senior population, and plenty of things to do, Florida is an attractive destination for retirees — but some cities are more expensive for home shoppers than others, so retirees looking to watch their wallet may want to avoid pricier places like Miami. 


Author Details

Laura Ratliff

Laura Ratliff is a writer and editor based in New York. Her writing expertise spans numerous topics, including insurance, travel, food and drink, and reported pieces covering political and human rights issues. She has previously worked at Architectural Digest, Bloomberg News, and Condé Nast Traveler.