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Many people envision the palm trees and bright lights of Miami when thinking of the Sunshine State. But the housing market in Florida has significant financial challenges, which can make living in the popular city more expensive than many people anticipate. If moving to Miami is in your sights, you should understand the true cost of living there before packing your bags.

Miami cost of living and population statistics

The cost of living in Miami is driven by factors besides housing.

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  • The cost of living in Miami increased nearly 3 percent from 2023 (Salary.com)
  • Transportation, food and housing costs saw the most significant cost increases since 2023. (Salary.com)
  • Florida experienced a 1.6 percent population growth rate in 2023 — the second-fastest growing state in the U.S. — adding 365,205 residents (U.S. Census)
  • Miami’s cost of living is 15.4 percent higher than the national average (Salary.com)

Housing costs in Miami

When evaluating the true cost of living in Miami, housing is one of the most important factors. According to RealtyHop’s Housing Affordability Index for April 2024, Miami is the second-least affordable place to live in the U.S. Miami homeowners average $4,347 per month on mortgage and tax payments — which is a staggering $52,164 per year.

For the first time since 1970, the U.S. Census recorded a population decrease in Miami-Dade County of 1 percent from April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022. While many people are moving into the area, 79,535 moved out of Miami into other states or counties within Florida. For most people, housing is their biggest expense and unaffordable rent and home prices are cited as to why residents within the middle-class income spectrum are leaving. Whether you rent or own, here is what you need to know about the cost of housing in Miami.

Average cost for a house

The average home price in Miami has skyrocketed in recent years. This is partly due to the fact that many Americans moved to Florida since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

In the 12 months after July 1, 2020, an estimated 220,890 people moved to Florida according to the U.S. Census Bureau — the biggest population increase of any state during that time frame. In 2023, Florida experienced even more population growth with 365,205 new residents, accounting for 93 percent of the nation’s growth alongside Texas, North Carolina and Georgia. That means, on average, there were about 1,000 new Florida residents moving from other states per day.

During the pandemic, Florida was a popular place to move because of the lack of income tax, moderate real estate taxes, warm weather year-round and spacious neighborhoods. Due to increased housing demands, the average Florida sold home price rose from $360,000 in 2019 to $560,000 as of April 2024, with a median price per square footage of $510. The housing market in Miami shows an overall upward trend thus far 2024.

Homeowners insurance

Miami real estate is located in the heart of Florida’s homeowners insurance crisis. Increases in the severity and frequency of flooding and tropical storms combined with inflation, insurance fraud and a rocky economy have caused several companies to stop writing homeowners insurance coverage in Florida. As a result, homeowners have limited options and higher premiums. Coastal cities like Miami are particularly vulnerable to catastrophic losses, and with high replacement costs, some homeowners are forced to secure coverage with Citizens Insurance, Florida’s government-backed insurer of last resort.

Houses are a significant investment, and home insurance can help protect your finances if your property or belongings are damaged by common weather-related risks. When searching for cheap home insurance in Miami, it’s good to remember that cheap is relative. The average cost of Miami home insurance in May 2024 is $11,963 per year for $300,000 in dwelling coverage, which is more than five times the national average of $2,153. Compared to the Florida state average of $6,366 for the same level of coverage, Miami homeowners pay 88 percent more.

Since even the best home insurance policies usually exclude flood damage, another factor to consider is the cost of flood insurance. If you are unable to secure flood insurance through a private provider in the area, you can purchase a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). On average, the yearly expense for an NFIP policy in Miami-Dade is $829, but this can vary significantly depending on the ZIP code, home construction and several other rating factors.

Average cost for an apartment

Renting is usually cheaper than purchasing a home. But in Miami, renting an apartment is still quite expensive. According to RentCafe, the average cost of rent for an apartment in Miami is $2,538 per month for an 892-square-foot apartment. For perspective, the national average cost of rent for an apartment of the same size is $1,713 per month. The most expensive neighborhoods to rent in are Brickell Key ($4,131), Brickell ($3,343) and Breezeview Manors ($3,303).

However, the cost of rent in Miami depends on factors like the location, size of the rental and the quality of the unit.

In addition, you may also want to consider the fact that Miami has been experiencing a housing shortage since the mass migration to Florida began over the last few years. This could make it more difficult to find housing, let alone affordable housing. Rent prices have been steadily increasing, with no signs of slowing down.

Renters insurance

Renting an apartment rather than buying a house could be a cheaper option. But in this case, you may still want to consider purchasing a renters insurance policy. In fact, many Miami landlords require tenants to carry renters insurance before signing a lease.

A standard renters insurance policy covers personal property, personal liability and additional living expenses. It’s one of the cheapest types of insurance you can get, and it’s much less expensive than homeowners insurance.

However, renters in Miami also face flood risks. Because renters insurance does not cover flood damage, you may want to speak with your agent about your flood insurance options. While flood insurance can be expensive, renters pay drastically less than homeowners since it only covers your personal property. According to FEMA, some flood policies for renters start at just $100 per year. Without flood insurance, if a hurricane or severe storm causes a flood that wipes out everything you own, you would be responsible for replacing your belongings out-of-pocket.

National housing market statistics

Miami isn’t the only metropolitan area experiencing an increased cost of living. Here are some recent housing market trends from across the country:

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  • The current national average rate for a 30-year fixed rate refinance mortgage is 7.35%. (Bankrate.com)
  • As of March 2024, the median price of existing home sales is $393,500. (National Association of Realtors)
  • For March 2024, pending home sales were up 6.8% month-over-month in the West, but decreased 4.3% month-over-month in the Midwest. (NAR)
  • Existing home sales decreased in the Northeast, Midwest, South and West regions. (NAR)
  • As of the first quarter of 2024, the U.S. rate of homeownership is 65.6%, virtually the same as the 2023 rate of 66%. (U.S. Census)
  • The Midwest region of the country has the highest rate of homeownership at 69.4% as of the first quarter of 2024. (U.S. Census)
  • 42% of millennial homebuyers have buyers’ remorse, citing maintenance and other hidden costs of homeownership being more expensive than anticipated. (Bankrate)
  • Millennials were responsible for 28% of home purchases in 2022. (Fool.com)
  • In 2023, 25% of home purchases were over the listing price. (NAR)

The cost of driving in Miami

The cost of driving and car ownership in Miami is increasing alongside the cost of housing. Here is what you need to know about car prices in Miami and how much it costs to insure your vehicle in the state of Florida.

Car prices in 2024

Car prices are up across the country, and that includes in Miami. While average car prices are slowly dropping as of January, finding an affordable vehicle is still very difficult.

According to a report from Kelley Blue Book, the average price of a new car in January 2024 is $47,401, down 3.5 percent from January 2023. Used cars are only a slightly better deal these days. The average price for a used car in January 2024 was $25,328, down 4 percent from the previous year.

Even if you can find a great deal on a car, be prepared to sit in traffic. The average one-way commute in Miami takes 28.1 minutes. That’s almost two minutes longer than the U.S. average commute time of 26.4 minutes. Round-trip, you are looking at an average commute of almost one hour per day in Miami.

Car insurance

In Florida (like in most states), car insurance is a legal requirement. In addition, Florida is a no-fault state, which means drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP).If you get injured in an accident, PIP pays for your medical bills and lost wages, up to coverage limits, regardless of which driver was at fault for the crash.

However, having a comprehensive car insurance policy in Florida could be extremely important. Data shows that there are more accidents in Miami-Dade County than anywhere else in the state of Florida, and nearly 16 percent of Florida drivers are estimated to be uninsured. Incidents of staged accidents are also particularly prevalent in the state, leading to a high volume of auto insurance fraud. With the city’s high likelihood of accidents, having a robust coverage policy is especially important.

Before you purchase a car insurance policy, it’s usually a good idea to shop around and get quotes from a few different companies. Keep in mind that some car insurance companies offer cheaper rates than others, so you should be able to find a policy that fits within your budget, especially if you can take advantage of discounts. The average cost of full coverage car insurance in Miami in May 2024 is $4,454 per year and $1,414 per year for minimum coverage, much higher than the national averages of $2,299 and $637 for the same coverage types, respectively. Miami car insurance is also significantly more expensive on average in comparison to the statewide averages of $3,579 for full coverage and $1,173 for minimum coverage.

Public transportation

If you can’t afford to own a car in Miami, you can rely on public transportation to get around and save money. Here are some of the popular public transportation options in Miami:

  • Brightline high-speed rail system: The Brightline train connects Miami with other areas of the state, including Orlando. It has a rate of $10 per day when pre-purchased on the Brightline app or $20 for walk-up passengers.
  • Metrorail: The Miami Metrorail includes 25 miles of track that connect the most populated areas of the city. There are 23 stations in areas like Miami International Airport, the Civic Center, downtown Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital. The Metrorail runs from 5 a.m. to midnight seven days a week. The current standard fare is $2.25 each way or $5.65 for a one-day pass. You can pay using an EASY Card, EASY Ticket or the GO Miami-Dade Transit mobile app.
  • Miami-Dade Metrobus: The Metrobus connects passengers to the major shops, entertainment and cultural centers in the area.
  • Metromover: The Metromover is a free transit service that operates seven days a week in downtown Miami and the Brickell area. There are 21 stations, with stops near FTX Arena, Bayside Marketplace and Miami Dade College. Cars arrive every 90 seconds during rush hour and every three minutes during less busy hours.
  • Tri-Rail: The Tri-Rail commuter rail service connects Miami with other South Florida communities in Broward and Palm Beach counties. The current standard fee is up to $8.75 one way or up to $17.50 roundtrip. Passengers can purchase a paper ticket or pay using an EASY Card.
  • Trolleys: The City of Miami operates a free trolley service that runs from 6:30 a.m. — 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. — 8 p.m. on Sunday. There are many stops around the city and you can track the trolley online.

Other cost of living considerations in Miami

The cost of healthcare in Miami, Florida, can vary significantly based on the health insurance plan and provider you choose. Florida Blue, United Healthcare and Aetna are three of the largest health care providers in South Florida. Oscar Medical is a provider in the Miami area that may offer low monthly costs and competitive maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) expenses. Ambetter is another provider that may offer budget-friendly plans with similarly low monthly rates and competitive MOOP expenses.

Keep in mind that factors like your specific location can impact your rates and plan availability. For those in need of hospital care, the average cost per inpatient day in a Florida hospital is around $2,826. For individual health insurance, the average monthly cost is approximately $489 per person, but this can vary depending on personal factors such as age, gender, medical history and specific ZIP code, as well as the plan type you have.

Outside of healthcare cost, here are some other cost of living considerations:

  • The average monthly utility costs in Miami for basic utilities including water, gas and electricity are approximately $128.11, which is substantially lower than the US average of $240 a month.
  • The cost of groceries in Miami is approximately $327.89 per week.
  • The cost of a basic lunchtime meal (including a drink) in the business district in Miami, Florida is $27.
  • The average Wi-Fi costs for 60 Mbps in Miami are about $65.89, though you may opt for faster service at a different rate.

Fun things to do in Miami

Miami is one of the most fun cities in the country and there is something for everyone to enjoy. If you’ve recently moved to Miami and are looking to explore the city, here are some things you might want to check out (and also add to your ‘living in Miami’ budget):

  • Beaches: One of the biggest draws of Miami is the beautiful weather that sticks around all year. The beaches of Miami are one of the city’s biggest selling points, whether you want a family-friendly beach, like Key Biscayne, or a more lively spot, like the infamous South Beach in Miami Beach.
  • Sports games: Miami is home to several popular sports teams including the Miami Marlins (MLB), Miami Dolphins (NFL), Florida Panthers (NFL) and Inter Miami CF (MLS). Miami Heat is one of the most popular NBA teams in the league. You can check out a game at the FTX center, which is centrally located in downtown Miami.
  • Miami Design District: The Miami Design District is a neighborhood that celebrates the city’s arts, architecture and cultural scene. You’ll find shops with items curated by local artists, restaurants from Miami-based chefs and galleries with unique pieces from Miami artists.
  • Perez Art Museum Miami: The Perez Art Museum Miami is located in South Beach. Entry currently costs $18 for adults, with discounts for kids and seniors. The 200,000-square foot museum features a rotating collection of art from contemporary artists from the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • Vizcaya Museum and Gardens: The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is located in Coconut Grove, FL. It was built by James Deering in 1914 and is an architectural marvel, complete with 10 acres of gardens. Several movies have been filmed in the museum and gardens.
  • Wynwood Walls: Wynwood Walls is also called the Urban Graffiti Art Museum Miami. As the name suggests, this mostly-outdoor museum is dedicated to graffiti art, which can be seen on outdoor displays.
  • Bayside Marketplace: Bayside Marketplace is one of the biggest shopping and dining centers in Miami, with a variety of popular retail stores and restaurants.
  • Little Havana: Little Havana is a neighborhood in Miami that showcases the city’s Cuban history. You’ll find Latin-inspired restaurants, shops and events that celebrate Cuban culture in South Florida.
  • Brickell City Center: Brickell City Center is another shopping mall in Miami, with a variety of stores and restaurants.
  • Zoo Miami: Zoo Miami is home to many exotic animals, including snakes, crocodiles, native Florida birds, lions, elephants, tigers, rhinoceroses and many others. Admission currently costs $22.95 for guests over 13 or $18.95 for guests under 13. Admission is free for kids under age two and zoo members.

Frequently asked questions

    • Yes, Miami is currently one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. to live in and in regard to the housing market, it is the most unaffordable. When looking to move into any part of Florida, there are more factors to consider than just the cost of rent or mortgage payments. Aside from the price and availability of auto, home and flood insurance, you may want to factor in the added risk associated with living in a location so prone to catastrophic loss.
    • The cost of living in Miami is 15.4 percent higher than the national average. While the cost of energy is about 12 percent lower in Miami, housing, food, healthcare and transportation are significantly higher. MIT’s Living Wage calculator shows that a living annual income in Miami-Dade County would be $107,959 for two working adults with two children. Comparatively, a single adult with no children would need an annual income of $50,464.
    • The cost of relocation to Miami depends heavily on where you are moving from. Other factors that contribute to relocation costs are:

      • How much you are bringing with you — it costs more to move a three-bedroom house vs. a studio apartment
      • If you need storage at a facility
      • If you hire movers to help pack, load and deliver your furnishings vs. doing it yourself
      • If you need a car transport
      • If you need to move a pet
      • Time of year
      • If you need insurance for breakables
      Since moving costs vary, you will want to get quotes from several moving companies and look for coupon codes and discounts to help cut costs. If you have flexibility with your moving date, you may want to inquire about off-season prices.
    • The average cost of car insurance in Florida in May 2024 is $3,462 per year for full coverage, which breaks down to $289 per month. While that is much higher than the national average, drivers in Miami pay even more at an average of $4,454 per year for full coverage, which breaks down to $371 per month. For drivers that only want minimum coverage, the average cost of a liability-only policy in Miami is $1,414 per year, about $118 per month.