Spouse Perspective: Which Florida Region Should You Settle In?
With over 58,560 square miles of land, 1,350 miles of stunning coastline, and year-round sunshine, Florida has a lot to offer military families looking for a permanent residence.
With so many options, where should you settle? We’ll break the state into 3 regions (North, Central and South Florida) and briefly discuss what you can expect from each.
Northern Florida includes the panhandle, Central, and Northeast Florida and is home to 6 notable cities, including Tallahassee, the state’s capital. Here, you’ll find that the climate is more temperate than the rest of the state. So if having all four seasons (or at least something close) is important to you, this area might be best for you and your family.
You’ll also find the homes are the most affordable in the state,with Gainesville making the top 5 affordable Florida cities list in 2018. The median home price in the Gainesville area is around $143,900.
To the east and west coast, the median home value raises to $200-$300,000. However, if your proximity to the beach or ocean is a deal breaker, it may be worth the price. As a bonus, North Florida schools are ranked among the state’s best, the tech and software industries are steadily growing, and the region is home to 15 military installations.
North Floridians embrace the less-developed region’s laid back lifestyle, treating the springs, rivers, and quiet beaches as their versions of theme parks. While the area is certainly more rural than other regions, Jacksonville offers its residents the amenities of a large city but with room to spread out.
For most people, their love of Florida grew right in the heart of the state. Central Florida includes cities like the ever-growing Orlando, the Theme Park Capital of the World, bustling Tampa, or laid back Cocoa Beach. With companies like SpaceX launching from Kennedy Space Center, the Space Coast on the region’s Eastern edge is experiencing a high-tech boom that offers career opportunities and the chance to see launches first-hand. The region also makes for a diverse living experience and offers a ton of your favorite hometown qualities.
From East to West, central Florida takes about 2 hours to drive while also being 3 to 4 hours north to Jacksonville or south to Miami and the Keys. If travel and exploration is your passion, there is no better place in the state to reside.
With shockingly fast growth plus being home to some of Florida’s largest tourism corporations, Orlando always makes the top of the list for best places to find employment in Florida.
Florida is already a state that honors veterans and military spouse preference. However, the large tourism industry makes for a great climate for military-friendly brands like Hilton, local universities, airports, and government entities to hire veterans and their dependents. This coupled with the affordability and family satisfaction makes Orlando increasingly attractive to families looking to relocate to the area.
For the most part, central Florida stays within a reasonable median home rate. Tampa and Orlando are closely tied with a median home sold price of $232,000 in Tampa and $295,000 in Orlando. However, homes in the Eastern Cocoa Beach area are listed at approximately 5% above the national average. Overall, central Florida is the sweet spot of Florida and it makes for a great place to settle and raise a family of any age. Central Florida continuously ranks the highest in terms of meeting the needs for Military families in the categories of employment, overall experience, and affordability.
South Florida is home to some of Florida’s most well-known cities like Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami, and the Keys as well as the lesser-known cities like Naples and Fort Myers. When it comes to diversity and culture, nothing could be more different and charismatic than the South Florida region. While Miami brings on a strong Latin flare, you can get the classic Florida beach town further north between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach.
While South Florida is quickly growing with Military friendly employment opportunities, it is also important to note that the cost of living is the highest in the state. South Florida is most pleasing to those who have retired or who have older kids and looking to splurge on their forever home. Between West Palm Beach and Miami, the median home cost is between $400-$600,000 making it the steepest place to live in the state. However, the region’s consistent growth means you can find affordable new construction housing. As a bonus, you can expect to bring in more income in the South Florida than its counterparts. Some of the more cost-effective and family-oriented areas in South Florida include Naples, Pembroke Pines, and Homestead.
On the upside, South Florida is a traveler’s mecca. Not only is it home to multiple international airports but it is also home to the largest cruise ports. With close proximity to the Florida Keys and the Bahamas, South Florida makes for easily accessible travel and recreation.
The State of Florida welcomes your Military family to paradise. For more information about Florida’s Diverse Regions, visit http://www.veteransflorida.org/why-florida/live/