What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In The Florida Keys?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

The Florida Keys boast some of the most unique ecosystems in the United States, and also happen to be the place where key limes come from. With all the sun and sand that this area has, it’s not surprising that people tend to go here for Spring Break or for a family vacation. But, is it as good to live here as it is to visit? We decided to take a look.

Life in the Florida Keys offers excellent opportunities to entertain yourself, a wide range of different types of housing, a good economy, and low state taxes. However, high housing costs, low wages, and difficulty with extreme weather might be a serious cause for concern.

Sometimes, moving to a place will bring out elements that you might not realize are even there. The cost of living in the Florida keys is quite high, but is it worth it? This article explains the straight dope on how life really is when you live down by the Keys.

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What Are The Perks Of Living In The Florida Keys?

Let’s face it. You don’t become a major tourist hotspot without having some kind of perks. These benefits below explain why the Keys are so darn hot.

Excellent Entertainment Opportunities

If you want to enjoy time to yourself or time with friends, then you are going to love what the Florida Keys offer. There are tons of places to camp and fish, making it a great choice for people who want to commune with nature. People who love boating and yachting will enjoy life near the beach regardless, but when you’re in a place like the Keys, you can always expect resort-like beaches wherever you go.

Even if you’re not an avid outdoorsman, there’s a lot to do around this area. You’ve got excellent shopping opportunities, cool resorts and spas, all within driving distance. You actually have to work hard to be bored in this area. Did we also mention that this region also has the Everglades? Yep, it’s free to explore!

Different Housing Types

In many parts of the country, you tend to be limited by the type of homes you can choose. Many areas no longer have trailers, while others will not have luxury venues. This is one thing that most people enjoy about the Keys. There is a home style that will suit your needs, no matter what your needs happen to be.

There are trailer parks for people who want to downsize their lives, but there are a bunch of million-dollar homes that you can choose from as well. With those different housing types come different opportunities and lifestyles. So, you can always find some way to fit in within this region’s borders.

A Good Economy

If you are the type that struggles with finding a job, you should strongly consider moving to the Florida Keys. The current unemployment rate in the region hovers around 3.2 percent, making it one of the lowest in the nation. Moreover, companies are moving to the Keys because of the low tax rates. So, demand is expected to grow pretty quickly.

Wondering if the wages are on par with the average? Studies suggest that they are. The median household income of this region is $68,500 which puts it slightly above the national median. So, the jobs in the area are pretty decent for the type of work that is being done. Better still, the number of people in poverty here has shrunk by around 7.5 percent. So, we’re seeing improvements across the board.

Low State Taxes

One of the reasons why Florida is considered to be one of the best places to retire deals with the fact that taxes here are low as can be. This is one of only a handful of states that do not charge a state income tax. The sales tax here is low, at around 6 percent. While some counties may charge additional fees, the truth is that it’s still a very reasonable tax rate when you consider everything.

Another major perk of this area is the fact that property taxes also happen to be relatively low. This makes it easy to be a homeowner, even if you usually find yourself on a tight budget. If you want to start your own business, then this is the place to do it.

What Are The Pitfalls Of Living In The Florida Keys?

While people might flock to the Florida Keys every spring and winter, the truth is that this area is not without a lot of issues. Some people might find the lifestyle to be a bit too “Florida” for their liking. Not sure what this means? Well, I can enlighten you…

Extreme Weather

Yes, we all know that Florida is popular because it’s sunny year-round and doesn’t have snow. The Keys are particularly warm, which is why snowbirds love it. However, there is a major drawback that makes most people rethink living life here: hurricanes. The Florida Keys are right near the coast, exactly where some of the most devastating hurricanes have landed.

During the summer, the humidity that comes with living near the Everglades starts to hit. Having heavy sweats, mosquito bites, and similar difficulties are considered to be a part of life here. Additionally, it’s also worth pointing out that the Florida Keys have a higher rate of rainfall than most other parts of the Sunshine State. Our advice? Get flood insurance and hurricane insurance.

Oh, and it’s important to remember that no part of this area is more than 20 feet above sea level. Should a major wave hit, the majority of homes will be flooded. Understandably, evacuations are pretty common here. Check out the types of soil in Florida before you plant your ideal garden in the keys.

Limited Industries

In a lot of ways, the Florida Keys are a bit strange in their local economies. While the median salaries are high, the truth is that many people might not have an easy time finding a job in their specific field. The vast majority of the jobs in and around this region are hospitality and food service jobs. Or really, freelance service jobs like what you would find on Uber or Taskrabbit.

If you are a person who has years of experience in science, math, or engineering, you may not be able to find a firm that will hire you. Even if you do, the chance of getting let go means that you would probably need to move just so that you can find another job. Opportunities are not what they should be here, though there is a lot of hope in that changing soon enough.

High Housing Costs

Though the region has been undergoing a major boom in terms of economic benefits, the truth is that it’s a double-edged sword. A lot of people in the area tend to balk when they see the uptick in housing prices here. The median price for a house in the more affordable parts of Florida Keys swelled up to $225,000. This is still pretty affordable, right?

Well, wait until you see the housing costs in Key West or Key Largo.

Here, the median price for an average home rests well above $600,000. Not only is this 10 times the median family annual income, but it’s also one of the more elite parts of Florida. Unless you are working from home as a business executive, you are not going to be able to afford a house here with ease. Even the rent prices have been rising up steadily, which has caused serious strife for people who need to work locally.

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Related Questions

What are the most affordable Florida Keys to live on?

If you want to live on the Keys, then you have a few options that won’t hit your wallet so badly. These include Stock Island, Layton, and Big Pine Key. They still offer a fairly resort-like ambiance, but they won’t harm your budget and will make it easy for you to save up money. With that said, some parts of Key Largo can also be affordable as long as you rent your home on the outskirts.

Which Florida Key has the most tourist attractions?

This can be pretty hard to parse out, but so far, it seems like Key West is one of the best in terms of attractions. The Spring Break staple has plenty of beaches, boardwalks, and bars for tourists to go to. It also tends to have family-friendly attractions as well. With that said, many locals can’t stand the sheer number of tourists. So, if you are not into seeing crowds, choose another Key instead.

Can you swim in the Florida Keys?

Swimming isn’t always on the menu in the Florida Keys, so you have to keep a close eye on where you go. Swimming in the Everglades, for example, isn’t a good idea. Alligators live there and will have no problem taking a bite out of swimmers. However, if you live near the beach areas, you might be able to swim without too much of an issue.If you are not sure whether it’s safe to swim, check local guides and ordinances. If you see a bunch of swimmers, you’re probably okay. Otherwise, you may want to stick to land-living.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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