Florida's "Living Wage:" Crunching the Numbers on Affording Rent, Housing, and Living "Comfortably"

L. Cane

The cost of living has been rising all over the United States, but Florida has arguably been hit particularly hard. Parts of Florida are considered inflation "hot spots" and the cost of living in Florida, which used to be considered reasonable, is now higher than national averages.

The average salary for Floridians also lags below national averages. According to Zip Recruiter, the average Floridian earns $48,592 per year, while Zip Recruiter has the average American earning $28 per hour or about $58,200 per year.

The website Go Banking Rates calculated a "living wage" for each state in the U.S. in September of 2023. This article will look at whether that "living wage" is in line with Florida's average salary and how far that "living wage" will go, considering Florida's current housing and rent prices.

What Go Banking Rates Defines as Florida's "Living Wage:" Go Banking Rates determined a living wage for each of America's states and ranked them. Florida did not rank in the top 10 cheapest states, nor did it rank for the most expensive.

Instead, it ranked 30th overall, with a "living wage" of $57,064. So what can you get in Florida with this living wage in terms of housing or rent if you're a single person? Let's have a look.

How Much House in Florida Can You Get With a Living Wage of Around $57,000? Where Could You Live?: According to Mortgage Calculator, someone earning $57,000 per year could afford a home priced around $161,560.03 with monthly payments of around $1,110.00.

That might be a tall order since the median home price in Florida is around $404,000, according to Redfin.

However, those willing to buy a condominium or manufactured home instead of a traditional single-family home might have some options.

For example, Zillow listings in Orlando for under $150,000 show 13 homes as of this writing. However, most are under 1,200 square feet and some are as small as 700 square feet.

Another option is to look in a less expensive market such as Frostproof in the central part of the state. A quick Zillow search shows a limited amount of options for single-family homes under $150,000.

Of course, if one is willing to get a roommate or has a spouse or partner with whom they are splitting costs, then the financial situation is much better.

What Kind of Rent Can You Afford to Pay in Florida if You Make Only the State's "Livable Wage?: With a yearly wage of $57,064, one would make a monthly wage of around $4,755.

Since most experts say that you should spend no more than 30% of your income on rent, that puts you at $1,426.50 for rent. According to Florida Property Management, the average rent in Florida is $1,790, which would make renting in many Florida cities difficult.

However, a realtor.com search shows a couple of studio apartment options in Tampa for under $1,400, but they are quite small, with some around 500 square feet.

Jacksonville is a bit cheaper and has more options as does Panama City. If you have some flexibility in your location, you'll have more options.

"Living Comfortably" in Major Florida Cities Versus the "Living Wage:" Interestingly enough, Go Banking Rates had a similar survey in July of 2023 when they identified the salary you'd need to live comfortably in some of Florida's major cities.

The study found that one would need to earn $131,776 if paying a mortgage in Miami, and $99,235 for the same situation in Tampa. A smaller city like Gainesville only requires $84,151 to live comfortably, according to Go Banking Rates.

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