12 Florida Cities That Are Getting Too Expensive for Retirees

RETIREMENT - RETIRED LIFE
Discover the unexpected Florida cities that are breaking the bank for retirees.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Active retirees enjoy the sunset

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You might imagine spending your golden years soaking in sunshine. The sandy beaches of Florida is a popular destination for retirement for this reason, but it can depend on your budget.

There are some great cities in Florida where seniors can avoid wasting money or retire early due to the low cost of living.

On the other hand, many cities are getting too expensive for retirees in the Sunshine State. Here are a few you might want to avoid.

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Palm Beach

jovannig/Adobe water color of palm beach

Palm Beach, located on the Atlantic coast, could be a great place to live when you’re retired, but it comes at a steep price.

According to Redfin, the median sale price for a home there was $2.4 million in December. The good news is that it’s a whopping 29.0% decline compared to a year earlier.

But that $2.4 million could still be out of your price range and may be reflective of other living costs in the area, which might be tough on a tight budget.

Tampa

Grindstone Media Grp/Adobe city of Tampa Florida

Tampa is becoming more popular with retirees, which could be causing some strain on the market.

Homes in Tampa sold for a median sale price of $416,250 in December, a 15.7% increase compared to a year earlier.

The city also ranked as one of the most expensive in the state by Florida Rentals when factoring in costs for things like groceries, utilities, and other living expenses.

Miami

Alberto GV PHOTOGRAP/Adobe Woman walking down the street

Miami may be a popular tourist destination, but you may want to take it off your list of possible cities to settle down and retire.

Home prices in the city increased 11.8% compared to the previous year with houses in December selling for a median sale price of $570,000. 

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Key Biscayne

kmiragaya/Adobe famous lighthouse at key biscayne

Key Biscayne is one of the wealthiest cities in Florida, a contributing factor to its cost of living. You may want to expect to pay seven figures for a home if you decide to move there.

The city's median home sale price in December was $1.72 million, which was a whopping 101.8% increase from a year earlier. The market is still coming down after reaching a five-year high of $2.35 million for a median sale price in April.

Key Largo

Lynda/Adobe beach chairs and tiki hut on the shore on a beach in Key Largo Florida

The Florida Keys is home to Key Largo, known for water adventures like diving, snorkeling, and fishing.

It’s also known for being an expensive place to live if you want to settle down in Florida. The city had a median sale price of $800,000 in August, a 17.3% increase more than a year earlier.

Sarasota

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Sarasota Florida USA

Sarasota has been a popular destination along the Gulf Coast of Florida for retirees, but it may not be your best option if you’re worried about expenses.

You might find the cost of living higher in Sarasota compared to other cities in the state, particularly when it comes to home utilities.

Housing is also an expensive factor. The median sale price for a home was $950,000 in August, up 140.5% compared to a year earlier.

Jacksonville

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe jacksonville, florida, usa city skyline

Jacksonville is another city with a looming rental price that can be hard for some retirees to afford.

The city, on the Atlantic coast near the border with Georgia, had a median home sale price of $309,990 in December. This was 8.8% higher than the previous year. 

Pinecrest

Ivan Zhdan/Adobe apartments with palm trees

South of Miami is Pinecrest, with its lush vegetation throughout the area. The city’s website references the more than 50,000 trees that line the community's streets.

But those beautiful streets come at a price that may be high for retirees on a fixed income. Pinecrest saw a median sale price of $1.6 million in August, a whopping 52.1% decrease compared to a year earlier.

Gainesville

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Gainesville Florida USA downtown

Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, making it appealing if you’re considering a college town for your retirement. But other costs could add up when you’re living there.

Homes in Gainesville as of December sold for a median price of $272,500, down 0.91% compared to the last year.

It’s also important to factor in taxes. While Florida doesn’t have a state tax, it does have other taxes, including sales tax. Local and state sales tax in Gainesville is 7.5%, higher than the state average of 7.02%, which could impact your wallet more.

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Naples

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Naples Florida USA Skyline

Naples is a great beach town to consider for your retirement years with its sandy beaches along the Gulf Coast. It’s also close to state parks and the Florida Everglades for retirees wanting to spend time in nature.

But there is a cost to living in the area. The median sale price for homes in the area was $800,000 in December. It’s not as bad as other towns in the state, but it could still be out of reach for some retirees on a fixed income.

Weston

icholakov/Adobe senior couple enjoying walk on beach

Weston, west of Fort Lauderdale, is close to beaches and the Florida Everglades, giving you different outdoor options when you’re retired and living in this planned community.

But the cost could keep you out when it comes to housing. Homes there sold for a median sale price of $735,000 in December, up 0.7% compared to the previous year.

The past several months have also seen a decline in the number of days a home is on the market, so you may have to act quicker than expected to secure your residency in the city.

Orlando

lunamarina/Adobe Orlando skyline from Lake Eola

Orlando is an amusement park dream with Disney World and Universal Studios. You’ll never have to worry about getting your kids or grandkids to visit you when you retire there.

But those fun activities could come at a cost. Home prices can be considered reasonable compared to other cities, with a median sale price of $394,950 in December.

However, according to Florida Rentals, you’re likely to pay more in utilities and bills than in other locations in Florida. It’s important to factor in these additional costs when creating a budget and trying to keep more money in your bank account.

Bottom line

DisobeyArt/Adobe couple cheering with champagne on sailboat

Florida is a great place to live for many retirees, but you also need to research where you want to live before you buy a place there.

It’s important to consider home costs and other expenses that can eat into your fixed income. For example, Orlando has plenty of toll roads, which could be an issue.

On the other hand, you may find a place in a desirable area that’s also affordable, and it could even allow you to retire early, depending on your monthly budget and how much you have saved.


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Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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