15 Best Places in Florida for a Couple to Live on Only Social Security – Insider Monkey

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The big news is that Florida is now the second most valuable housing market in the United States, overtaking New York, per Zillow’s research. The Sunshine State has long been a dream destination for many, drawn in by its absence of state income tax, beautiful beaches, and warm climate.

Regardless, the housing market has been very scary for both sellers and buyers in 2023. Amidst the high housing costs and mortgage rates, fewer home buyers have been looking to relocate this year. Those who are choosing to leave are doing so to escape the expensive coastal cities for more affordable options, many of whom are in Florida, notes Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN). Their study notes that Orlando is one of the most popular destinations for home buyers who are looking to relocate. North Port-Sarasota, Cape Coral, and Tampa are three other metro areas making it into Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN)’s list of most popular destinations. Orlando has been ranked as the 4th most popular city, while Tampa is the 3rd most popular. Miami has also made the top 10.  This is despite the fact that since 2019, Florida’s home prices have soared by 60%, as noted by Redfin Corporation (NASDAQ:RDFN).

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Since Florida is a very hurricane and wind prone state, many insurance companies have been pulling out from the market over the years. Higher insurance costs, together with soaring prices and interest rates have been encouraging many homeowners in certain parts of Florida to sell their homes too. This is especially true for areas such as West Palm Beach. The state has been experiencing this insurance crisis due to the extreme weather events, rises in litigation, and also because of the higher costs of rebuilding. Many homeowners who are choosing to stay have in turn dropped off insurance in their entirety, or have chosen to drop only wind coverage.

Despite the huge climate risks, Florida remains a popular state for living, especially for retirees. Many individuals who wish to move to the Sunshine State wonder if the state is affordable enough to live on Social Security alone. According to the Missouri Economic Research & Information Center (MERIC), the cost of living in this state is 101, implying that living costs are 1% higher than the state average. Taking this into consideration, it can be hard for a retiree to live in Florida on just Social Security.

However, the Sunshine State is one of the best states to retire for taxes and cost of living. Since the cost of living is close to national marks, retirees can live well compared to other states. Moreover, there is no income tax in Florida, a major reason residents flock to this state in droves. Social security benefits, pension incomes, and even income from IRAs and 401(k)s are all received tax-free in this state. Within the state, many towns and cities boast a lower cost of living than the state average. Retirees on fixed incomes can manage to live on social security in these areas. Let’s check out these places.

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To compile the list of best places in Florida for a couple to live on only social security, we have used several sources such as The Motley Fool, US News & World Report, and Florida for Boomers, amongst others. We also used forums such as Reddit and Quora to ascertain where retired couples are best living on social security in Florida. All the places selected have a cost of living index which is 95 or below. To elaborate, the cost of living in these places is 5% or more below the national average.

We have also discussed the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the city/town center, as well as listed down the median house prices of the places. Rents and house prices have been sourced from Redfin, Zillow, Zumper, and others. A consensus approach was used next to determine the rankings of each place. One point was awarded to each place, each time it was recommended by a source. Scores were totaled and places were ranked in an ascending order from the lowest to the highest scores.

Here are the best places in Florida for a couple to live on only social security:

15. Dunnellon

Insider Monkey Score: 5

Cost of Living Index: 87

Average Monthly Rent: $1,350

Median Listing Home Price: $278,000

The peaceful town of Dunnellon is one of the best places in Florida for a couple to live on Social Security. Seniors can choose to live in active senior communities or find themselves a home in the many rural and suburban neighborhoods. Ocala and Gainesville are 20 and 40 minutes away for those who are looking for additional amenities. Seniors can also find lots of delectable options for dining, such as Tiki Bar and Restaurant Blue Gator, and Swampy’s Bar and Grill, amongst others. The town’s allure is further enhanced by the meandering Rainbow River and nearby state parks, providing abundant recreation opportunities.

14. Wauchula

Insider Monkey Score: 6

Cost of Living Index: 82.6

Average Monthly Rent: $870

Median Listing Home Price: $253,000

With a cost of living that is 17.4% lower than the national average, Wauchula is one of the most affordable places to retire in Florida on our list. This town holds a distinct allure for seniors who cherish a connection to nature and agriculture, as it boasts a rich heritage rooted in agriculture and has several natural parks nearby. Moreover, the town offers a laid-back atmosphere and a tight-knit community for retirees. The surrounding natural landscapes are ideal for outdoor fun.

13. Quincy

Insider Monkey Score: 7

Cost of Living Index: 83.7

Average Monthly Rent: $1,350

Median Listing Home Price: $170,000

Revered for its rolling hills and lavish greenery, Quincy can be a great place to retire for those on a fixed income.  The downtown district is brimming with Victorian homes to choose from, and the median listing home price here is much less than the national median. This city is ideal for those seeking a serene lifestyle. Having a population of under 8,000, residents can live in a tranquil and relaxed environment.

12. Rockledge

Insider Monkey Score: 9

Cost of Living Index: 95

Average Monthly Rent: $1,598

Median Listing Home Price: $362,000

One of the cheapest places to live on Social Security is Rockledge, Florida. Nestled along Florida’s east coast, seniors in the city enjoy access to the Atlantic Ocean and coastal areas. Residents can embark on day trips to nearby natural parks, rivers, and other outdoor recreation spots, indulging in a myriad of outdoor activities. Moreover, the town offers a community-oriented atmosphere, and there are all essential amenities and healthcare services available as well.

11. Frostproof

Insider Monkey Score: 10

Cost of Living Index: 91.6

Average Monthly Rent: $1,600

Median Listing Home Price: $300,000

One of the quieter towns of Florida, Frostproof can be an ideal place in Florida to live on Social Security alone. The town’s name is an inspiration of its sunny weather and mild winters, offering an ideal climate for seniors to live in. The town is very small and sparsely populated, but it has its very own golf resort, theater, and  a charming downtown. Residents can also spend a leisurely day at Lake Clinch. Overall, it is an ideal place to retire for the budget-constrained retirees.

10. Fort Meade

Insider Monkey Score: 11

Cost of Living Index: 91.6

Average Monthly Rent: $1,900

Median Listing Home Price: $232,000

Fort Meade offers a small-town atmosphere and a low cost of living for seniors. One of the oldest cities in Polk County, it is home to more than 150 historical landmarks, and offers several parks, restaurants, and stores as well. Seniors love to hike along the Peace Trail River, attend local community events, indulge in nature walks, and even experience wildlife at the Fort Meade Outdoor Recreation Area.

9. Bartow

Insider Monkey Score: 13

Cost of Living Index: 91.6

Average Monthly Rent: $1,295

Median Listing Home Price: $315,000

Ideal for a lake-side lifestyle, Bartow is another one of the best places in Florida for a couple to live on social security. History buffs will find immense pleasure in delving into the rich narratives showcased at the Polk County History Center and the Historic L.B. Brown House and Museum. There are lots of restaurants and cafes in town. Annual events and traditions such as the Bloomin’ Arts Festival and Bartow Annual Craft Fair keep residents busy throughout the year.

8. Okeechobee

Insider Monkey Score: 14

Cost of Living Index: 85

Average Monthly Rent: $1,800

Median Listing Home Price: $320,000

Set alongside the expansive Lake Okeechobee, Okeechobee City is no less than a tranquil retreat for those looking for a peaceful yet affordable lifestyle. There are lots of activities to engage in, such as boating, fishing, and exploring nature trails. The Speckled Perch Festival, sponsored by the Okeechobee Main Street, is held every year and is the highlight of this city.

7. DeLand

Insider Monkey Score: 15

Cost of Living Index: 94.9

Average Monthly Rent: $1,413

Median Listing Home Price: $360,000

DeLand makes it to our list of best places in Florida for a couple to live on only social security because it has affordable rent and a cost of living that is 5.1% lower than the national average. The city boasts a charming historic downtown brimming with vibrant cultural amenities such as art galleries, theaters, and boutiques. Its welcoming community and friendly atmosphere help retirees feel at home. DeLand is also renowned for its mesmerizing natural surroundings, including parks and trails, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities. With a reasonable cost of living, diverse housing options, and proximity to healthcare facilities, it is surely an appealing choice for retirees.

6. Arcadia

Insider Monkey Score: 16

Cost of Living Index: 81.1

Average Monthly Rent: $1,000

Median Listing Home Price: $173,000

Seniors who choose Arcadia as their home report having a wonderful experience in the city. Boasting a cost of living that is 18.9% lower than the national average, as well as housing prices that are well below the national median, it is one of the best places to retire on social security. The city’s charming small-town atmosphere promotes a close-knit community feel, providing a sense of belonging and social connection to seniors. It also offers various recreational opportunities, including parks, nature trails, and community events, catering to a range of interests for retirees.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 Best Places in Florida for a Couple to Live on Only Social Security.

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Disclosure: none. 15 Best Places in Florida for a Couple to Live on Only Social Security is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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