Top 5 Cheapest places to live in Florida with the Best quality of life – 2024

If you’re considering a move to the Sunshine State and looking for affordable places to live, here’s some good news! There are various options for affordable cities in Florida that cater to different lifestyles. 

From the bustling downtown areas of Tampa and Orlando with their theme parks to the serene Cape Coral and Palm Bay for beach enthusiasts. Or whether you’re interested in a college town vibe with the University of Florida in Gainesville, there’s a place for everyone. In this list, you will find the cheapest places to live in Florida with an equal sense of living in a big city.

Read on to discover the top 5 cheapest places to live in Florida with the best quality of life.

Cheapest places to live in Florida with the Best quality of life - 2024

Methodology

We based our ranking of the 5 cheapest places to live in Florida on the median cost of buying a property in 2023, the median cost of rent for a 1-bed apartment in 2023, and the quality of life. We collected the data from Rocket Homes Real Estate Housing Market Reports and Zillow. To help you compare, As of November 2023, the median cost of buying a property in Florida is $375,096 and as of December 2023, the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,814

The “Best quality of life” aspect is measured based on feedback from real people who have moved to this area in our database or real people from trusted online forums. More specifically, we look for positive feedback on job opportunities, quality of education, quality of healthcare, feeling of safety, public transportation, environment (cleanliness), as well as availability of recreational facilities and parks.

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1. Bartow

Apartments in Barlow
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $1,745
  • Median property buying cost: $269,000

If you value small-town charm and a friendly community spirit, Bartow is an ideal place to call home. The city not only offers a rich Southern history with landmarks like the Old Polk County Courthouse, but it also provides access to shops and dining within its historic downtown district. Additionally, pharmacies and medical centers, such as Bartow Regional Medical Center, are all within minutes.

Its strategic location between Tampa and Orlando, near Lakeland and Winter Haven, facilitates easy commuting. Newcomers are welcomed by the friendly community that appreciates the quiet environment. Housing is affordable, with a median property price of $269,000 and a $1,745 median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment as of January 2024.

City of Bartow (Jan 2024), Local Logic (Jan 2024), Zillow (Jan 2024) & Rocket Homes (Jan 2024)

Bartow, FL

2. Palm Bay

Apartments in Palm Bay
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $1,969
  • Median property buying cost: $330,175

Palm Bay, located on Florida’s east-central coast along the Indian River Lagoon, offers residents scenic waterfront views and outdoor activities, including 29 city parks, golf courses, off-road cycling, and beaches. Moreover, they also enjoy nature in The Turkey Creek Sanctuary’s 130-acre preserve area with jogging trails, all within a peaceful countryside setting.

Residents also have easy access to malls and entertainment venues, such as Palm Bay Center and Bayside Lakes Shopping Center. Housing in Palm Bay is more affordable than in many other Florida cities, providing options from single-family homes to apartments and condominiums. As of January 2024, the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,969, and the median property price is $330,175.

Palm Bay Florida (Jan 2024), Local Logic (Jan 2024), Zillow (Jan 2024) & Rocket Homes (Jan 2024)

Palm Bay, FL

3. Sebastian

Apartments in Sebastian
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $2,400
  • Median property buying cost: $355,000

The coastal city of Sebastian, along the Indian River Lagoon, offers pristine waterways and natural beauty. Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts with activities like surfing and fishing, it’s also a haven for eco-lovers, featuring Pelican Island for birdwatching. Housing consists mainly of reasonably priced single-detached houses and large apartments. As of January 2024, the median property price is $355,000, and the rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,400.

The city of Sebastian is described by residents as peaceful and secure with a small-town vibe that seamlessly connects to vibrant cities like Melbourne (a 29-minute drive) and Vero Beach (a 23-minute drive) via Dixie Hwy, providing diverse dining and entertainment options.

City of Sebastian (Dec 2023), Local Logic (Jan 2024), Zillow (Jan 2024) & Rocket Homes (Jan 2024)

Sebastian, FL

4. Newberry

Apartment in Newberry
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $2,100
  • Median property buying cost: $362,194

Newberry is a small city located in North Central Florida, in Alachua County. It is known for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, making it ideal for living. The city has a mix of residential, commercial and agricultural areas. With natural landscapes and parks where residents enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. 

It is well located just a 29-min drive to Gainesville where is located the University of Florida, named as one of the top ranked public universities in the country. Newberry is home to mainly people in their 20s and 60s. Housing type is mostly single detached houses, providing an affordable living option. As of January 2024 the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,400, and the median property price is $355,000.

Newberry (Jan 2024), Local Logic (Jan 2024), Zillow (Jan 2024) & Rocket Homes (Jan 2024)

Newberry, FL

5. Port Orange

Apartments in Port Orange
  • Median 1-bed apt rent: $2,100
  • Median property buying cost: $362,194

Port Orange on Florida’s east coast blends coastal charm and tranquility. The warm climate and nearby beaches provide opportunities for water sports and relaxation, while parks like Riverwalk Park offer a chance to connect with nature through biking or leisurely strolls. Residents also appreciate its proximity to Daytona Beach (a 17-minute drive for dining) and Orlando (a 1-hour drive for theme parks).

Port Orange offers a more affordable cost of living compared to other cities in the Sunshine State, especially in housing. Neighborhoods like Ashton Lakes and Forest Lake Preserve provide diverse and budget-friendly options. As of January 2024, the median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $2,400, and the median property price is $355,000 in Port Orange.

Port Orange (Jan 2024), Local Logic (Jan 2024), Zillow (Jan 2024) & Rocket Homes (Jan 2024)

Port Orange, FL

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Conclusion

Moving to Florida offers a promising prospect for those seeking to raise a family, retire, or find a new place to call home. However, the decision is not without its considerations, particularly when it comes to the cost of living and housing costs. Careful research and evaluation of various beach towns and big cities in Florida will be important in finding the perfect balance between affordability and a high quality of life.

Identifying the cheapest and nicest places to live in Florida, whether it is a beach town or a big city, requires patience. Be sure to carefully review this list before making your final decision. Planning a move to Florida soon? Discover the best moving companies in Miami and best movers in Orlando for a smooth moving experience.

 

Last year’s ranking (2023)

  1. Bartow
  2. Palm Bay
  3. Port Orange
  4. Sebastian
  5. Newberry
  6. Dunedin
  7. Cape Coral
  8. Temple Terrace
  9. Niceville
  10. Winter Springs

Our rankings are meticulously curated, considering affordability and quality of life. It’s important to highlight that certain places were excluded from last year’s lists due to insufficient rental data. Moreover, entries with higher average housing pricing in the previous year were excluded from the current rankings. We encourage readers to weigh these rankings in light of their individual needs and preferences for a more informed decision-making process.

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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