June 13, 2021

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The 10 Cheapest Places to Live in Florida

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If you’re moving to Florida, considering a relocation within the state, or just curious what it might be like to live in the Sunshine State, the following list of the cheapest places to live in Florida can help you on your quest. We’ve compiled a top-10 list of the cheapest places to live in Florida—5 on the coast and 5 inland—for you to take your pick.

Cheapest Places to Live in Florida: On the Coast

Panama City

Fast Facts:
Average Home: $134,700                              Average Rent: $848
Average Income: $38,397                             Population: 36,654

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Overview and History:

Panama City was incorporated in 1909 and named after Panama City, Panama.

Located in Northwest Florida, Panama City is the county seat of Bay County, Florida, and it is the largest city between Tallahassee and Pensacola.

It is also one of the two principal cities of the Panama City-Lynn Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the larger of the two.

Employment:

Two military bases (Tyndall Air Force Base and U.S. Naval Support Activity Panama City) make the federal government the biggest employer in Panama City, Florida, but employment opportunities also exist with several major industrial employers.

 Known For:

  • Twenty-seven miles of scenic, white-sand beaches
  • Music and nightlife
  • Popular spa and fitness destinations
  • Golf courses
  • Two state parks and the Gulf of Mexico

City website: http://www.pcgov.org/

How it Ranks:

Panama City boasts ample employment opportunities, services, and activities relative to its low housing cost, which is why it tops our list of the cheapest places to live in Florida.

New Port Richey

Fast Facts:

Average Home: $65,000                                 Average Rent: $756
Average Income: $31,001                                Population: 15,503

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Overview and History:

New Port Richey was officially incorporated in 1924, with the first mayor being Dr. Elroy M. Avery.

New Port Richey is a suburban city that’s part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Area of Florida.

Employment:

The top employers in New Port Richey include the city’s hospitals, healthcare institutes, rehab centers and nursing homes, as well as Hyundai and Cracker Barrel.

Known For:

  • Sims Park, Orange Lake Park, and the area’s other scenic locations.
  • Fishing charters and boat tours
  • Museums and art galleries, including the West Pasco Historical Society, Inc. Museum and Library
  • Golf courses and spas

How it Ranks:

New Port Richey is one of the cheapest places to live in Florida if you want a quiet coastal town with a lot to offer.

City Website: https://cityofnewportrichey.org/

Pensacola

Fast Facts:

Average Home:$145,700                              Average Rent: $862
Average Income:$45,931                              Population: 53,250

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Overview and History:

Pensacola, Florida is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and sits only 13 miles from the Alabama Border.

Pensacola is the county seat of Escambia County and the Principal of the Pensacola Metropolitan Area.

The area of Pensacola was originally inhabited by Muskogean language-speaking people.

It was nicknamed “The City of Five Flags” because, over the course of its history, Pensacola has been ruled by Spain, France, Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America.

Employment:

Major sources of employment in the area include the military and the city’s extensive medical network.

Known For:

  • The first Naval Air Station in the United States, Naval Air Station Pensacola, commissioned in 1914
  • A number of annual festivals popular with both locals and tourists including the Pensacola Crawfish Festival, The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival, and The Children’s Art Festival, as well as Pensacon, an annual comic convention.
  • Vietnam Veterans’ Wall South, Fort Pickens, Fort Barrancas, the Pensacola Lighthouse, the National Naval Aviation Museum, and other historical military sites.
  • Big Lagoon, Perdido Key, and Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Parks

How it Ranks:

Pensacola’s historical value makes it popular with tourists and locals alike. If you like a lively city with plenty to do, Pensacola is one of the cheapest places to live in Florida that has all of that and more to offer.

https://www.visitpensacola.com/

Cocoa

Fast Facts:

Average Home: $93,200                Average Rent: $705
Average Income: $32,067              Population: 17,558

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Overview and History:

No one really knows how Cocoa, Florida got its name, but we do know that the city was chartered in 1895.

Cocoa is located in Brevard County on Florida’s eastern coast.

Employment:

The city of Cocoa, Florida has 1,198 registered businesses ranging from light manufacturing to retail and office spaces. The city is also home to two university campuses, making education a significant employer.

Known For:

  • Historic Downtown District popular with tourists
  • Cruises stopping on their way from Port Canaveral on excursions and day trips
  • Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, the Eastern Florida State College Planetarium and Observatory, Historic Cocoa Village, the Florida Historical Society, and other museums and historic sites.
  • The University of Central California and Eastern Florida State College Campuses
  • The Cocoa Beach Pier filled with restaurants, bars, shops and lots of fishing to be done.

How it Ranks:

Cocoa is another relatively small city on this list that booms during tourist season. If you’d love to live in a scenic getaway destination with a great deal of historical significance, Cocoa could be one of your cheapest places to live in Florida.

https://www.cocoafl.org/

Destin

Fast Facts:

Average Home: $279,400              Average Rent: $1,347
Average Income: $68,078             Population: 13,312

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 Overview and History:

Destin is the principal city of the Fort Walton Beach-Crestview-Destin Metropolitan Area, located in Okaloosa County.

Don’t let the relatively low population fool you: Destin is a popular destination for tourists because of its scenic beauty.

Destin was named after Leonard Destin, a Connecticut fishing captain whose descendants fished the area for decades. Destin was not incorporated until 1984.

Destin’s famous white sands are made of finely ground quartz crystal, which gives it the appearance of fine white sugar.

Employment:

If you choose Destin as your home, your employment opportunities will be largely related to the city’s booming tourist season, including hospitality and retail.

Known For:

  • Some of the whitest sand in the world and emerald green waters
  • Many celebrities own vacation homes in the area
  • Annual events like the Destin Fishing Rodeo and Destin Seafood Festival
  • Central location for many other popular tourist haunts
  • Population more than triples each tourist season

 How it Ranks:

Housing costs in Destin can be higher because of its tourism value, making this lower on our list of the cheapest places to live in Florida, but still in the top five least expensive coastal towns.

City website: https://www.cityofdestin.com/

Cheapest Places to Live in Florida: Inland

Kissimmee

Fast Facts:

Average Home: $136,300                             Average Rent: $968
Average Income: $38,262                             Population: 66,840

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Overview and History:

Kissimmee, Florida is the county seat of Osceola County and a Principal City of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford Metropolitan Area. It was originally named Allendale, after Confederate Major J.H. Allen.

The origin of the name Kissimmee is still debated, but it is generally agreed that it’s Native American in origin.

Employment:

Top employers in the area include the School District of Osceola County, The Walt Disney Company, Walmart the county and city governments, and several medical institutions. Employment opportunities abound in entertainment and hospitality in the area, and the University of Central Florida operates a business incubator located in the downtown Kissimmee area.

Known For:

  • Close proximity to Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney Parks, and Sea World
  • Kissimmee Lakefront Park
  • Makinson Island
  • Orange World – World’s Largest Orange
  • Grass Island
  • Kissimmee Historic District

How it Ranks:

Kissimmee may not be the least expensive place to live in Florida, but with so many employment opportunities and amenities available relative to its cost to live, Kissimmee easily makes our list of the top cheapest places to live in Florida.

City Website: https://www.kissimmee.org/

Gainesville

Fast Facts:

Average Home: $143,900                             Average Rent: $858
Average Income: $32,000                            Population: 128,610

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Overview and History:

One of the more populous cities on our list, Gainesville is the county seat and largest city in Alachua County, FL. It is the Principal City of the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Area and the largest city in North Central Florida.

Gainesville undergoes an ongoing process of “New Urbanization”, a plan to gentrify the area between the historic downtown district and the University of Florida.

Employment:

Gainesville has become recognized for its startup culture since the founding of Grooveshark in 2006. Contemporaries include Digital Brands, Fracture, and Feathr, among others.

The largest employers in Gainesville is the University of Florida and UF Health, followed by the Alachua County School Board and Gainesville Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Known For:

  • The University of Florida and Santa Fe College
  • Rated the “number-one place to live in North America” by Cities Ranked and Rated in 2007.
  • The nationally-recognized Downtown Festival and Art Show hosted by the city, as well as the Spring Arts Festival, hosted by Santa Fe College
  • The Hoggetowne Medieval Faire
  • The Gainesville Improv Festival
  • The Fest, a multi-day, multi-venue music festival held annually
  • Many historical sites, including the Bailey Plantation House, the Thomas Hotel, and the Seagle Building (downtown Gainesville’s tallest building)

How it Ranks:

Gainesville is a great option as one of the cheapest places to live in Florida if you still want to live in the hustle and bustle of a real city. Gainesville will allow you to take advantage of everything a more populous city has to offer, without an exorbitant price tag.

Crestview

Fast Facts:

Average Home: $161,200                            Average Rent: $974
Average Income: $51,951                             Population: 22,941

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Overview and History:

Crestview, Florida is the county seat of Okaloosa County, and one of the highest points in the state with an elevation of 235 feet above sea level.

Crestview also receives 65 inches of rain each year, which is second only to Fort Walton Beach as the rainiest city in Florida.

Crestview has the coldest winters in the state of Florida, which once earned it the nickname of “the icebox of Florida”. Now, however, the city goes by the more popular nickname, “Hub City”.

Employment:

Crestview is one of the fastest-growing cities in the state of Florida, so it offers many opportunities in terms of employment. As “Hub City”, Crestview also sits at the intersection of multiple major highways, making it a prime location for travelers and commuters to nearby towns.

Known For:

  • Coldest winters in Florida
  • Second rainiest city in Florida
  • Old Spanish Trail, Twin Hills Park, and Durrell Lee Park
  • Close proximity to Yellow River and Yellow River Water Management Area
  • Only about 30 minutes to the coast

How it Ranks:

If you don’t mind a little bit of rain and cold winters(for Florida standards), Crestview offers the opportunity to live cheaply in Florida, making it one of the top cheapest places to live in Florida.

City Website: https://www.cityofcrestview.org/

Zephyrhills

Fast Facts:

Average Home: $87,400                 Average Rent: $789
Average Income: $33,253                 Population: 14,454

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Overview and History:

Located in Pasco County, Florida, Zephyrhills is a suburb of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area.

Zephyrhills was founded in 1910 by Captain Howard B. Jeffries, who planned to turn the area into a community for Civil War veterans.

Employment:

Zephyrhills offers employment opportunities within the city, but also as a suburb of the city of Tampa with a commute of only 30 miles.

Known For:

  • Being the “City of Pure Water” and home to the Zephyrhills bottled water company
  • Being a member of “Tree City USA”
  • Barracks Museum
  • Popular skydiving destination
  • Country clubs and golf courses
  • Close proximity to Tampa

How it Ranks:

Zephyrhills is one of our top choices for the cheapest places to live in Florida, especially if you plan to commute to Tampa for work.

City Website: https://www.ci.zephyrhills.fl.us/

Bartow

Fast Facts:

Average Home: $96,500                 Average Rent: $821
Average Income:$45,039                 Population: 18,501

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Overview and History:

Bartow, Florida is the county seat of Polk County and was originally founded in 1851 as Fort Blount.

The city was renamed after Francis S. Bartow, who was the first brigade commander of the Confederate Army to die in combat during the Civil War.

Barrow is located about 40 miles east of Tampa, and only 50 miles southwest of the Greater Orlando area.

Bartow’s official nickname is the “City of Oaks and Azaleas”.

Employment:

Bartow’s economy is largely shaped by its proximity to the larger metro areas of Tampa and Orlando, but employment in the area is also powered by the county, state, and city governments.

Relative to its size, Bartow has an unusually large number of government jobs, due to its position as the seat of a county with over half a million people, and home to multiple regional, state, and federal offices.

Known For:

  • Three historical districts within the city on the National Register of Historical Places
  • Old Polk County Courthouse
  • Events such as the Cricket Club Halloween Parade and Carnival, the annual Fourth of July Celebration, the Bloomin’ Arts Festival, and the Annual L.B. Brow Festival.
  • A unique Christmas Eve bonfire (burning the city’s discarded Christmas trees) which has sometimes made the news

City Website: http://www.cityofbartow.net/

How it Ranks:

Bartow’s distinctly-southern style and historic value make this the perfect small town for government employees or history buffs, and it also happens to be one of the cheapest places to live in Florida, with the average home costing under $100,000.

Choosing Where To Live in Florida

We hope this list of 10 of the cheapest places to live in Florida has helped you on your quest, whether for sheer curiosity or practical insight. To learn more about each city and what it has to offer, visit the cities’ individual official websites for information on government, climate, employment, tourism, and more! Also please note that the information above is current as of the most recent U.S. Census, which is taken every 10 years (2010).

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