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Old 05-05-2015, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,119,247 times
Reputation: 7075

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How come people always tell me that the cost of living in southeast FL is high? I mean, when I look at the statistics for home values, they are around $180K-200K in ALL three counties (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach). The only thing I can think of is that maybe the statistic is dragged down because the majority of homes are located in undesirable areas? I don't know.

But I currently live in Fairfield County, CT, which is EXTREMELY expensive. So to me, South Florida seems like a bargain!!! Am I wrong?

I would want a nice home in a nice, quiet area (not a fixer upper) for under $250K, if possible. But it's impossible around here.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:27 PM
 
6,273 posts, read 3,456,069 times
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Your title says "South Florida" but your text says Southeast. If you look at Naples in SWFL it's higher than average.

"Cheap" is also relative. Fairfield County is very expensive, with high taxes. So yes, just about anywhere else is more reasonably priced.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Seminole County, FL
9,624 posts, read 6,605,105 times
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Not to mention, wages in NE are considerably higher than wages in Florida. So cheap is relative.
Where my friend makes ~$80k/yr in White Plains, a co-worker of mine doing the exact same type of work in the same field makes about half here in Florida.
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,119,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcenal352 View Post
Not to mention, wages in NE are considerably higher than wages in Florida. So cheap is relative.
Where my friend makes ~$80k/yr in White Plains, a co-worker of mine doing the exact same type of work in the same field makes about half here in Florida.
No way!

But wait a minute. How come when I look at job postings online, sometimes they specify the pay being $65-75K, for jobs that I'm qualified for? Right now my salary is $77K, so taking a small pay cut should be fine, right?
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
4,836 posts, read 10,186,086 times
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Look for homes in areas people actually want to live in. You can't find anything decent for less than $350k in Miami-Dade County. Add in high insurance rates for car, medical and home, poor public transit, and poor public schools it gets expensive quick.

What $500k can get you in Miami is nothing for what $500k can get you in say Dallas or Atlanta. Not even close. There are plenty of less desirable areas that decrease the median prices, but even those areas are pretty expensive for what they are.
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Old 05-05-2015, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Seminole County, FL
9,624 posts, read 6,605,105 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
No way!

But wait a minute. How come when I look at job postings online, sometimes they specify the pay being $65-75K, for jobs that I'm qualified for? Right now my salary is $77K, so taking a small pay cut should be fine, right?
A small pay cut, yes.
And this isn't for all salaries, LOL. I was just giving an extreme example that I know.
This guy works in Admin for ConEd.
I work at a utility engineering firm down here, and the admins make roughly half of what he makes up there.

Last I checked, engineers down here make roughly 30% less than engineers in NE.
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Old 05-05-2015, 02:28 PM
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Yeah, that definitely doesn't apply to all salaries...but wages really are that lower in FL usually.
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Old 05-05-2015, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
11,145 posts, read 14,119,247 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDF View Post
Yeah, that definitely doesn't apply to all salaries...but wages really are that lower in FL usually.
I don't wanna hear that.
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Old 05-05-2015, 02:49 PM
 
1,640 posts, read 2,047,389 times
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South Florida is, by no means, "cheap" due to lots of costs that don't necessarily meet the eye, so to speak.

When you take into consideration that salaries are roughly half to two-thirds of comparable salaries in the Northeast or California, the cost of housing in "desirable" areas of Florida becomes increasingly less affordable.

Unlike many areas of the Northeast, Midwest, and West, the vast majority of communities in Florida are low-income and/or high-crime. The number of "desirable" communities in Florida, as in those that are safe, family-oriented and moderate-to-high income with high quality public schools and lots of amenities, is very low, especially in South Florida.

I lived in Palm Beach County for 12 years, the wealthiest county in Florida with the highest per-capita personal income and one of the three counties that constitutes the South Florida metro area, and I can count on one hand how many communities meet all of that criteria (Boca Raton, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, and Wellington). FWIW, there are close to 40 incorporated communities in Palm Beach County.

Because public schools are generally lower-performing in South Florida than in, say, Fairfield County, CT or Marin County, CA, families often feel compelled to send their children to private school in order for them to receive a higher quality education.

A long-time friend of mine who I've known going on 20 years lives in Davie, FL and sends her children to Archbishop McCarthy High School, a private secondary school in SW Ranches. Last I checked, her son's tuition is approximately the same as what my cousin is paying to send her son to LaSalle Academy, a private secondary school in Providence, RI with similar high-caliber academic and athletic programs as Archbishop McCarthy. However, salaries and household incomes are much lower in Florida than in Rhode Island, generally speaking.

Another major cost to homeowners in South Florida is homeowners insurance. Because South Florida lies at the heart of Hurricane Alley, not to mention is also highly prone to other adverse weather events such as severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, homeowners insurance is inherently high.

In coastal Florida, hurricane insurance is oftentimes not covered under standard homeowners insurance policies, requiring homeowners to take out an additional, separate hurricane/windstorm policy. Flooding isn't usually covered in homeowners insurance policies regardless of location, but it's highly recommended in South Florida, given the region's very low elevation and poor drainage.

Yet another cost to homeowners that many people from older, more established areas of the country with older housing/neighborhoods don't take into consideration when moving to Florida is HOA fees, which are collected from homeowners in many newer communities for the general maintenance of community landscaping and amenities such as golf courses, tennis courts, clubhouses, swimming pools, etc. The more higher-end your community, the more amenities and better landscaping it will most likely offer, so naturally, your monthly or annual HOA fee will be higher.

In states like Connecticut with very few new construction, "lifestyle" communities, HOA fees are unheard of in residential neighborhoods and often limited to condominium and rental communities. Needless to say, that cost often surprises people who move to Florida from the Northeast.

Even though property taxes in suburban Florida tend to be less expensive than in suburban areas of the Northeast, especially the NYC metro, this cost is often offset by HOA fees and higher homeowners insurance coupled with lower salaries.

But that's not all.

Utilities may not be more expensive in Florida than in Connecticut, but they're certainly more expensive than in coastal California, where heat and air conditioning are rarely ever used. For about 9 months/year, you have to run your A/C constantly, as in 24 hours/day, in South Florida. You can't turn it on in mid-afternoon for a few hours to cool down the house--you have to run it all day long to keep your house at a comfortable temperature and prevent the buildup of mold.

Years ago, before recurring online payments were a thing and not long after I moved to Florida, I remember going to FPL to pay my electric bill, and I couldn't believe the number of people standing in line to contest their bills. It later dawned on me that, in Florida, you can't simply turn your A/C off if you can't afford it--you have to keep it on, kinda like heat up North.

Auto insurance is, far and away, more expensive in South Florida than anywhere else in the country due to incredibly reckless driving habits among the general population. The Northeast transplants, blue-haired retirees and snowbirds, and third-world immigrants as well as tourists who have no clue where they're going make the roads in South Florida some of the most dangerous in North America. The South Florida metro area is consistently ranked first in terms of pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist fatalities.

In fact, there are some auto insurance companies that don't even write policies for residents of Miami-Dade County anymore because the associated risk is too high. I will have you know that my auto insurance was cut in half when I moved from Florida to California, with a newer car ($5,000-->$2,500/year). Insane.

However, a car is almost required for someone living in South Florida because public transportation options are very limited and the region is home to very few "walkable" neighborhoods.

Aside from Connecticut, gas is about the same or more expensive in Florida than in most Northeastern states plus there are many more tolled roads. And although people will argue that the lack of snow/ice is the reason why cars last longer in Florida than up North, they fail to realize that the constant rainfall and intense humidity of Florida as well as high salinity content of the air, especially along the coast, causes cars to rust just as quickly. Why do you think you see so many more classic vehicles on the road in dry areas of the country such as Arizona and Nevada than in Florida?

Food, especially produce, is significantly more expensive in Florida than in the Northeast and especially California due to less price competition as a result of the Publix monopoly. Despite having a year-round warm climate, farmers markets and community-supported agriculture are definitely less common than out West, which help food costs low.

Finally, medical expenses are often higher in Florida because, in addition to lower wages, health insurance benefits tend to be more limited and less comprehensive in Florida than in states such as Connecticut and New York.

With lots of local, out-of-state and even international competition for jobs, Florida’s labor market is essentially a monopsony, so employers can suppress wages below the competitive equilibrium level. This includes non-wage benefits. Prior to the employer mandate of the ACA, many office workers in Florida had no insurance. Even CNA’s, who make $10/hour and expose themselves to illness and disease every single day, had no health insurance. That’s unheard of in California, New York, Illinois, et al.

For someone on the outside-looking-in, especially in Fairfield County, South Florida may seem cheap, but there's a lot more that goes into the equation than lower housing prices, especially for working professionals and families.

Last edited by 8to32characters; 05-05-2015 at 03:00 PM..
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Old 05-05-2015, 02:51 PM
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11,386 posts, read 10,515,233 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nep321 View Post
I don't wanna hear that.
It's the truth, though. You asked why South FL is regarded as an expensive (when it seems cheap) and we answered.
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