Many people seek luxury homes in south Florida due to the beautiful weather and great home prices. You may be surprised to learn the Florida cost of living is higher than average for the country. Florida is not quite in the top 10 most expensive states; however the overall cost of living in Florida is rated at only four percent less than the national average. Much of the Florida cost of living is dependent on what part of the state you choose to live in. Rural and inland areas are less expensive than the scenic coastal areas.

Keep in mind the following factors to help you establish a budget when you work with a real estate agent in Palm Beach County, Florida, to find your dream home.

Housing Costs

The average 2007 rent in Florida was $925 per month, which was more than 15 percent higher than the U.S. average, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The average home price in 2010 was $175,000, which was lower than the U.S. average of $185,700.

The housing crisis a few years ago had a dramatic effect on Florida real estate. Prices surpassed the national average by more than 35 percent in 2005; however, fast forward to 2011, and one in every 360 Florida houses were in foreclosure, which was one of the highest rates in the country. The high number of foreclosures led to quick sales and has kept prices down.

The foreclosure rate makes it difficult to predict future housing expenses. It’s entirely possible for prices to bounce back and once again be higher than the average. It’s also possible for prices to level or tumble well below the national averages.

Utility Bills

Utilities are one area where many new residents in Florida will pay less compared to other states. The 2010 national average kilowatt-hour was 11.54 cents, according to USA Today. Florida residents spent slightly less, totaling 11.44 cents, which is better than about half the country; however, the average is skewed by California, which charges an average of 28.10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Grocery Shopping

The proximity of many substantial agricultural farms makes some grocery items cheaper in comparison to other states; however, much of your grocery pricing depends on where you shop and how close you are to local farms. Grocery items generally cost more for residents who live along the coast, compared to those who live further inland.

Household Income

Based on data from the Census Bureau, Florida’s average median household income of $44,243 in 2010 was slightly lower than the U.S. average of $49,445. Florida’s 12 percent unemployment rate in December 2010 was much higher than the national average. The unemployment rate likely contributed to the average household income, meaning it is not a good gauge of what income is needed to deal with the Florida cost of living.

If you are shopping for luxury homes in south Florida, contact us. Our experienced Fort Lauderdale real estate agents are ready to help you find the home of your dreams.