So, you're dreaming of buying a house in Florida and envisioning yourself on the sandy, sunny beaches, but you're missing a couple pieces in the strategy department. It's understandable. Daydreaming about snorkeling/tanning is way more fun than thinking about housing markets and homeowners insurance.
That's why we've come to the rescue with this little guide to all things Sunshine State housing market, in order to help get you rollin'. We'll go over all the important stuff we'd be searching for if we were you, plus we'll toss in some fun state trivia as a bonus. So, let's get this party started, shall we?
There's a lot to think about when deciding where to buy your next house. Wouldn't it help to simplify the process if you knew a few of the most/least money-hungry areas in your chosen state first? Luckily for you we checked out homesnacks.net and compiled a list of just that. Get ready.
Most expensive cities:
Least expensive cities:
There you have it. You're primed and ready to go off on your hunting journey, while considering the oh-so-sensitive feelings of your wallet/bank account. They'll thank you for it.
Before looking into houses in Florida (or, y'know, anywhere), you might wanna check out their housing market. So we'll take a peek at Florida's overview next.
Well, floridatrend.com says that between the state's low housing inventory and the rising home prices, it's the perfect recipe for a seller's market at the moment. But there's hope. Recent trends could help to add inventory - enough to satisfy buyer demands - and slow rising home prices. So that's good. Homes are staying on zillow.com for an average of 83 days, and they give Florida's market a 9.0/10 (as of September 2018) overall, which they rank as "very healthy."
But where are the hot spots to move to in Florida these days? Well, it's three-fold: Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Why Miami? Because it's got lots of culture, great weather, active adult communities, walkable streets, great health care, sandy beaches and tons of entertainment. Home values here average $333,600. The home price per square foot is about $431, and renting a house costs about $2,500/month.
What about Fort Lauderdale? It's got epic food and art scenes, tons of golfing, shopping and nightlife, and it's great for families. The place is also called the "Venice of America" because of all its cool waterways. Home values here average $314,100. The home price per square foot is about $322, and renting a house costs around $2,000/month.
And finally, West Palm Beach. This place is packed with jobs, good schools, festivals, great weather and beaches, and it's known as a "big, little city." Home values here average $233,200. The home price per square foot is about $200, and renting a house costs around $1,700/month.
But wait, there's more . Florida's got new construction underway ALL OVER the place - especially along the coasts, and a tiny bit inland. You'll find a good amount in/around Jacksonville, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Port Charlotte, Tampa and Pensacola. So, if you've got your heart set on a brand-new place, hit up one of these areas.
Great, so now you've got a clearer picture of WHERE to look for your house, but it might help even more to know how much the thing's gonna COST. So, we'll move right along to an overview of some home prices/values, just for you.
To start off, zillow.com says that the median home value in Florida currently is $227,800. Values have appreciated 8.5% over 2018, and are expected to rise another 5.4% next year. The price per square foot is about $165. Homes are currently listed on the market for about $289,900, and are closing for around $217,800. Renting a house will cost you about $1,800/month.
Apartment hunters, check it out. We've got a list of some average monthly rental prices in a few Florida cities, from rentcafe.com:
And townhouse lovers, don't worry, we didn't forget you. As seen on zillow.com, the range in monthly rent starts low at about $500 for a two-bed/one-bath joint, and reaches the high end of about $1,200 for a three-bed/two-and-a-half-bath joint.
It's true that Florida's got bright sunshine, sandy beaches and almost criminally perfect weather, but they've also got the occasional natural disaster. OK, it's a bit more than occasional. Actually, Florida was ranked as the #5 most disaster-prone state by NBC News. Their biggest enemy? Hurricanes. So, it might not be super-shocking that Florida is one of those 19 lucky states that require a hurricane deductible as a part of a homeowners insurance policy.
But what does that mean, exactly? Well, basically you'll have to pay your insurance company a certain amount of money before they'll cover any damage to your home dealt out by an angry windstorm. Deductible costs are typically about 1%-5% of the insurance value of the home, but it really depends on where you live, too. Houselogic.com says that those living in a low-risk area in a smaller/cheaper house might pay $300 towards their deductible, while those living in a high-risk area in a fancy mansion might pay $30,000.
No one likes hurricanes (or paying more insurance deductible costs), but if you're REALLY concerned about them, you could always move to a state away from the coast. Areas further inland have a buffer of protection, but they also come with their own breed of risks. Nowhere's gonna be immune to EVERYTHING.
With rising temperatures come rising sea levels, which can bring flooding (and lost newspapers). Heck, Florida's practically an island, anyway. It's great for that paradise vibe, but you might also need to get some flood insurance.
If you live in an area deemed to be "high-risk," your mortgage lender might require you to purchase extra homeowners insurance coverage specifically for flooding. However, it's important to note that even areas not in designated high-risk areas might still need it. Why? Because as that old annoying (but even more annoyingly ACCURATE) expression goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Okay okay, so you might need it, but what exactly IS it? Well, broken down, flood insurance will cover your property (the actual structure of your home and belongings in it - to an extent) if natural water (i.e., rain, waves, etc.) wreaks havoc. Many policies will say that the water must cover at least two acres of normally dry land in order to qualify for reimbursement.
Check out your specific coverage, so that you're SURE you'll be good to go. Call your agent and have a chat about what EXACT homeowner's insurance you need, because you do NOT want to find out too late that you didn't have enough. They won't mind, and you'll thank yourself later. Trust us.
Those on the continuous search for knowledge might wanna know about the quality of the school system in their new state - so next up we've got a peek at a snapshot, Florida-style.
Here are some 2018 WalletHub stats about how Florida schools ranked in the country:
The top-rated schools in Florida are Pine View, a high school in Osprey, and the University of Florida, in Gainesville.
OK, we've got the more-factual stuff out of the way, so it's time for a bit of fun (don't get too excited). We'll take a peek at why people even MOVE to Florida - but we'll hear it from some people who already did. So, prepare yourself for some heck yeah!s and some aww man!s related to Florida livin'.
PROs (as voted by 100% real Floridians):
CONs (also from the mouths of 100% Floridians):
Obviously, there's tons of stuff to do in Florida. Since we've already looked at WHY people move here, we'll look at a few specific examples of WHAT those super-tanned and relaxed Floridians are doing. We hit "redial" and chatted up the locals for a bit longer to find out some must-sees in the state.
Here are just a few of the state's best attractions:
Well folks, that's it - our little CD insert of a guide to the housing market in Florida. Obviously there's no way we'd have the power to address ALL of your concerns before buying your house in a new state (we're busy hanging out with Dr. Venkman and Sideshow Bob), but we're hoping that you'll leave us with the knowledge/wisdom you need to get started on your journey, and that maybe you've even learned some cool Florida stuff, too.
If you're dreaming of buying your new house a state that has manatees AND armadillos, then pinch yourself already and get on over here.