What Is The Cost Of Living In Colorado vs. Florida?

Cost of Living in Colorado vs. Florida

Cost of living is a major factor that people use to determine whether they want to live in one place versus another. When it comes to Colorado vs. Florida, both states have much to offer potential residents. Colorado has outdoor adventure, breathtaking landscapes, an active lifestyle, and a booming economy. Whereas, Florida boasts plenty of employment opportunities, world-class beaches, numerous tourist attractions, and a warm climate all year round. But, how do these two states stack up in terms of cost of living?

The cost of living index in Colorado is 121.1, meaning it is about 21% more expensive to live in Colorado than the national average (100). Florida, on the other hand, has a cost of living index of 102.8, so it is less expensive than Colorado but more so than the national average. The median price of a home in Colorado is $488,600, which about 68% higher than the national average of $291,700. Meanwhile, the median home price in Florida is $294,900 – relatively on par with the national average but about 40% less than Colorado.  

Aside from median housing prices, let’s explore how the cost of living compares in Colorado vs. Florida.

Housing Market in Colorado vs. Florida

When you evaluate the fact that the median home price in Colorado is close to $500,000, it is much more expensive to purchase a home here than in the state of Florida. With Florida’s median home price of nearly 295,000, you’d be looking at spending about 66% more on a home in Colorado compared to Florida.

Throughout much of 2020, there was a huge migration of people to the state of Florida because people learned that they could still make the same amount of money there but have a much higher quality of life. Though, with such an influx of people and mortgage rates at an all-time low, this caused limited inventory, a high demand, and skyrocketing home prices. Though home prices are higher than anyone ever expected, it’s predicted that the ratio of buyers to sellers may start to ease slightly.

The same situation is occurring across most of the U.S. as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like Florida, Colorado is experiencing a serious demand problem. With the state also being such a desirable place to live, people are flocking there. This has resulted in Colorado becoming one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. During the pandemic, people flooded into the state at record rates and those who previously lived in apartments pursued more space.

In Denver specifically, the amount of money bid over the original asking price is also at a record high. Well it may be an excellent time to be a seller in Colorado and Florida, both markets are competitive for buyers and home prices are more expensive than ideal. Regardless, it remains cheaper to purchase a home in Florida than Colorado.  

Home Prices in Colorado vs. Florida Comparison

Median home prices are ultimately based on the specific city and county that you live in in a particular state, and this is certainly true for both Colorado and Florida. The following table highlights some of the major cities in Colorado and Florida, along with their applicable median home prices:

City Median Home Price
Denver, CO $545,000
Colorado Springs, CO $427,900
Boulder, CO $850,000
Tampa, FL 306,900
Orlando, FL 294,400
Miami, FL 398,100

Due to the booming economy and plentiful employment opportunities, Colorado has quickly become one of the fastest growing states in the nation. Though, more affordable housing overall is considered a significant advantage of settling in Florida over Colorado. Of course, homes in major Florida cities are above the national average, but housing costs in Florida are still between 35 and 40 percent cheaper than Colorado.

Rent Prices in Colorado vs. Florida

Between 2019 and 2020, average rent increased in 39 states across the country and Colorado was among them. In fact, Colorado comes in seventh on the list of states with the highest average monthly rental prices in the nation, right behind New York State. The state’s average rent is $1,271, but rates vary based on where you live in Colorado.

With that said, the following table outlines the average rent for some of the various cities across the state of Colorado:

City Average Rent
Denver, CO $1,824
Colorado Springs, CO $1,458
Aurora, CO $1,563
Boulder, CO $2,171
Lakewood, CO $1,710
Fort Collins, CO $1,706

Like Colorado, rental prices in Florida differ depending on the city you live in. With a statewide average rent of $1,175 per month, Florida is the eleventh most expensive state for renters. Reports show that rental prices are expected to keep rising all across the state, with South Florida having the third fastest-growing rental market in the nation. In this area, the average rent is currently (as of August 2021) $2,432, about a 27% increase from last year.

The following table displays a more detailed look at the average monthly rental prices you can expect in some of the Florida’s major cities:

City Average Rent
Tampa, FL $1,647
Miami, FL $1,915
Orlando, FL $1,611
Jacksonville, FL $1,381
Sarasota, FL $1,816
Lakeland, FL $1,291

Taxes in Colorado vs. Florida

There are some distinct differences between the taxes in Colorado versus the taxes in Florida, highlighted in detail below.

State Income Tax

Colorado boasts one of the lowest income tax rates in the country. Unlike most states that have a state income tax, Colorado has a flat income tax. This means that, regardless of your income level, you pay a flat rate of 4.63% of your taxable income. Eight other states in the country have a flat income tax rate, and Colorado is considered to be in the middle of the pack.

Fortunately, one of the benefits of living in Florida is the lack of state income tax. The state is among a select few other states in the nation that have no personal income tax. Whether you’re a doctor, teacher, real estate agent, or nanny, come tax season you do not have to file a state income tax return and do not have to pay any sort of state income tax on your income in Florida.

Of course, you’ll still need to file a federal income tax return and pay your federal income taxes – but nothing is required at the state level.

Sales Tax

Among states that have a sales tax, Colorado is considered the lowest in the country – at just 2.9%. Though, this is just the base rate. Because of the numerous extra city and county sales taxes, actual combined rates may add up to as much as 11.2%. For example, Boulder County’s sales tax rate is almost 5% and San Juan County is 9.4%.

Florida, on the other hand, has a statewide sales tax of 6%. Some Florida counties collect their own local sales taxes, ranging from as little as 0.5% to as much as 2.5%. This means that the actual sales tax rates in Florida that you pay could be as much as 8.5%. Unlike Colorado, there are no sales taxes charged at the city level in Florida.

Property Tax

Whether you’re thinking about purchasing a home in Colorado or somewhere along Florida’s 8,436 miles of coastline, you must consider property taxes. Fortunately, the property taxes in Colorado are some of the lowest in the country. Colorado’s average effective property tax rate is just 0.49%. This means that the average Colorado homeowner pays 0.49% of their home’s assessed value annually. However, some areas have even lower rates. For instance, Gilpin County’s effective property tax is only 0.23%.

Meanwhile, Florida’s average effective property tax rate is 0.83%, which is higher than Colorado but still well below the national average of 1.07%. Since the property taxes in Florida are collected at the county level, they can vary based on where you live. For instance, Miami-Dade County’s effective rates are actually 0.97% of home assessed value.

Taxes in Colorado vs. Florida Comparison

State Income Tax Sales Tax Property Tax
Colorado 4.3% 2.90% – 11.20% 0.49% (average effective rate)
Florida None 6% – 8.50% 0.83% (average effective rate)

Transportation Costs in Colorado vs. Florida

Whether you decide to settle in Colorado or Florida, transportation costs are another important consideration involved in determining cost of living in either state. These costs include expenses like gas prices, vehicle purchase prices, bus fares, monthly transit passes, and other public transportation fees.

While both states have indexes above the national average, with Colorado’s transportation cost index of 106.7 and Florida’s index of 112.6, these expenses actually tend to be slightly more expensive in Florida overall.

Cost Factor Colorado Florida
Gallon of gas $2.54 $2.39
Monthly public transit pass $78.47 $54.99
Taxi trip in downtown (approx. five miles) $19.82 $15.48
New Volkswagen Golf $24,614 $23,090

Entertainment & Miscellaneous Costs in Colorado vs. Florida

Cost Factor Average Price in Colorado Average Price in Florida
Monthly local gym membership $56.64 $31.39
Movie ticket $11.42 $11.38
Pack of cigarettes $7.02 $6.94
Domestic beer (1 pint) $4.64 $4.41
Cappuccino (mid-range area) $4.55 $4.14
Pair of running shoes $77.56 $73.55
Fast food combo meal $8.41 $7.75

Colorado vs. Florida: Which is More Expensive?

Living in Colorado or Florida is comparatively more expensive when you consider the national cost of living index of 100. However, when you compare these two states together, Colorado is about 18% more expensive than Florida.

Although healthcare, groceries, transportation, and utilities expenses are slightly cheaper in Colorado than Florida, the significant cost savings in Florida is contributed to the lower housing costs, which are only slightly above the national average.

Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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