How Much Does It Cost to Live in Orlando, Florida?
Thinking about moving to Orlando, Florida? There’s more to love about this sunny city than just its warm weather and close proximity to Cinderella’s Castle. Orlando also happens to be an affordable place to live compared to many other major metropolitan areas in the U.S. Located in Central Florida, the City of Orlando is home to more than 250,000 residents and growing. According to USA Today, the metro area experienced one of the largest net increases in population in the country between 2010 and 2017, ranking seventh among 50 U.S. cities for highest population increase due to migration. Of course with its affordable amenities, it’s no surprise that Orlando draws thousands of newcomers to its city every year. For a closer look at the cost of living in Orlando, keep reading.
Cost of living in Orlando
According to AreaVibes, Orlando has an overall cost of living index score of 98, two percent lower than the national average and 1 percent lower than the Florida average. This cost of living index gives a general feel for the affordability of a city. If a city’s index score is higher than 100, then the cost of living is above average. If a city’s index score is lower than 100, then the cost of living is below average.
According to WalletHub, the City of Orlando is the third best place to find a job in the U.S. This is in large part due to its plethora of job opportunities and employers in and around the Orlando metro area. WFTV9 reports that Walt Disney World is the leading provider of jobs in the city with more than 53,000 employees. The company is responsible for employing many Orlando residents in various industries including hospitality, tourism, construction and manufacturing. Other major employers in Orlando include Orange County Public School, the State of Florida Government, Adventist Health System, Florida Hospital, Publix Supermarkets and Universal Studios. The Orlando Economic Partnership notes that the city is also the “world capital of Modeling, Simulation & Training (MS&T) and the top producing region for engineers in the Aviation, Aerospace & Defense industry.”
The city’s median household income is $45,436, with a typical Orlando resident making $28,117, according to U.S. Census data. While this is below the national average, many would argue that given Florida’s low cost of living and lack of state income tax, residents don’t necessarily need to earn a higher paycheck to live well in Orlando.
Looking to buy a home? Real estate in Orlando is plenty affordable. In fact, according to Realtor.com, the median listing price for a home in Orlando is $245,000, with an average cost of $147 a square foot. According to AreaVibes, the median home price in Orlando is 7 percent lower than the national average. However, newcomers should be aware that home prices have steadily (but slightly) increased over the years. Currently, the housing market in Orlando is a seller’s market, meaning there are more buyers than homes for sale. According to U.S. Census data, the median gross rent between 2013 and 2017 was $1,091 a month. While rent isn’t exorbitantly high in Orlando, it is 10 percent higher than the national average. Expect to pay around $1,100 a month for a modern one-bedroom apartment in a new, luxury apartment building.
Good news for Orlando residents: they won’t have to pay state income taxes come tax season. As is the case for any full-time Florida resident, this lack of income tax allows residents to save more of their hard-earned money for vacations, education, retirement and fun activities. For reference, most other U.S. states have an income tax rate of anywhere from one to 13 percent. It should be noted, however, that Florida residents must pay sales taxes and property taxes, among others.
Plan on driving? Gasbuddy.com reports that the average price of regular unleaded gas in Orlando is $2.57 per gallon. This is right on par with the national average of $2.60 per gallon (at the time this article was written). While the cost of gas in Orlando isn’t incredibly expensive, it’s not particularly cheap either. The average commute time in the city is 25.6 minutes, according to the Orlando Sentinel. As an alternative to driving, many residents opt to take the bus or shuttle via LYNX, the public transit provider in Orlando. This public transit system covers more than 2,500 square miles, providing bus service to 61 routes as well as shuttle services to special events. Riders can purchase a fixed route all-day pass for just $2.25. In downtown Orlando, residents can also take advantage of LYMMO, a free bus rapid transit service.
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