Moving to Florida often brings to mind images of retirement communities and suntanned senior citizens, but the state is actually a top destination for young professionals looking to buy their first home.
Florida living comes with several benefits, including gorgeous weather, no state income tax, a wealth of job opportunities, and access to world-class culture, art, nightlife, beaches, and wildlife. Millennials who are trying to decide where in Florida to move have numerous great options to choose from.
Top Florida Cities for Millennials
Millennials are not a monolithic group, and everyone has a different set of criteria when deciding where to live, but the following cities provide many of the things young professionals look for in a home: a thriving population of fellow millennials, job opportunities, affordable homes, and plenty of restaurants, bars, and entertainment.
Here’s our list of best places for millennials to live in Florida:
1. St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg has a thriving economy, as well as plenty of restaurants and entertainment along the Grand Central District, making the city a top candidate for young professionals. With an average salary of $61,000 and a median home value of $253,032, St. Petersburg offers big-city perks at an affordable price.
Average salary: $61,000
Median home value: $253,032
Miami is an international destination, full of art, culture, food, nightlife, and opportunity. Most millennials would never tire of a city like Miami, although as with any large metropolis, life can be expensive. For those who can’t afford to buy in the city, suburbs like The Crossings have a high livability score at a lower price point.
Average salary: $63,000
Median home value: $379,460
Tampa has a strong and growing millennial presence, perhaps in part because the city is home to the University of South Florida. In addition to having an abundance of young people, Tampa also has a great housing market. Although home prices in the city are relatively affordable, homeowners have also seen tremendous returns on their homes over the past five years. For those who don’t need to be in downtown Tampa, the nearby city of Clearwater is listed as a top city for first-time homebuyers, and Keystone, Wesley Chapel, and Valrico are other good options.
Average salary: $65,000
Median home value: $272,167
Orlando is another city that has a large population of young professionals, with areas like Downtown, Maitland, and the Business District full of world-class restaurants, bars, and shops. Oviedo, outside the city, could be a more affordable option for those looking to buy a home.
Average salary: $63,000
Median home value: $272,605
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida, with a prominent millennial population and relatively affordable home prices. Just 20 miles outside of Jacksonville, Oakleaf Plantation is a good option for buying a home, along with Fruit Cove and Fleming Island.
Average salary: $61,000
Median home value: $207,368
Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, and as a result, boasts a large number of young professionals, as well as a lively nightlife and culture.
Average salary: $57,000
Median home value: $214,251
7. Palm Bay
Palm Bay will likely become increasingly attractive to young professionals as the Emerald Lakes project expands the urban center and creates a lot of job opportunities. Millennials might be wise to buy now while home prices are low.
Average salary: $56,000
Median home value: $200,240
How Millennials Can Prepare for a Move to Florida
If you’ve decided where in Florida you would like to buy a home, you’ve just taken a step toward becoming a homeowner in the Sunshine State. You can continue that journey by taking the following steps:
- Assess your financial situation and save up: Make sure you have enough for a down payment (typically 3-20 percent of the home’s purchase price), as well as closing costs and other home-buying expenses.
- Speak with a loan officer: Find out how much home you can afford and get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.
- Find a real estate agent: An agent can help you navigate the real estate market and find the best home for you.
- Scope out the area: Make sure the property and neighborhood meet your standards.
- Put an offer on a home: Add a personal touch with a hand-written note.
- Have the property inspected: Make sure you’re not accidentally buying a money pit.
- Move into your new home: Enjoy being a Florida homeowner.
For those looking for a more in-depth walk-through of the home-buying process, check out our mortgage preparedness e-book, which includes advice from loan officers on how millennials can start the journey to Florida homeownership.