Cost of Living in Miami: Everything You Need to Know

Cost of Living in Miami: Everything You Need to Know

Jan 05, 2024 January 05, 2024

Famed for its vibrant culture and wonderful weather, Miami has attracted a diverse population throughout the years, which has made it an exciting and multicultural metropolis on par with other major cities around the world. No wonder, then, why more and more people think about it as a permanent location and not just a vacation destination. However, before making the move, it’s important to consider the cost of living in Miami and that’s what we’re here for!

In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know: give you a Miami cost of living comparison to the national average and other cities; how recent changes in its population and inflation have affected what it’s like to live here; we’ll give you a breakdown of all necessary living costs; and give an estimate of how much you should earn to lead a comfortable life in the Magic City. Ready? Let’s go!

— First off,
Is It Expensive to Live in Miami? 

Miami Beach, FL

In recent years,
Miami has acquired a reputation as an expensive city. It wasn’t always like that and even now it depends on who you ask. According to a November 2023 report from the Council for Community and Economic Research, Miami is 15.3% more expensive than the average of 269 urban areas in the country, and a U.S. News report ranked it in the fourth position among the most expensive cities in the U.S. This comes as no surprise since, for decades, Miami has been an iconic city and coveted travel destination, attracting celebrities and high-net-worth individuals from across the globe.

However, when you compare it to other major hubs in the U.S., the Magic City is cheaper across the board when it comes to the cost of housing, utilities, and food. For example, Miami is definitely less expensive than Los Angeles, the latter being 47.3% more costly than the U.S. average. And if Manhattan were its own city, it’d be way more expensive than Miami, as it surpasses the national average by 127.8 points! 

Overall, combined with a vibrant cultural and entertainment scene, premier shopping destinations, and a stunning landscape, one can see why many people from these and other cities are choosing to move to Miami and why, for them, it can be a bargain for all they get.

— So, What Is Driving Up Prices in Miami?

Downtown, Miami FL

Securing a spot in the top 10 most expensive cities in the U.S. hadn’t always been part of Miami’s identity. But recently some circumstances have helped it get there. So,
why is Miami so expensive? 

The first reason seems to be demand. A high influx of people and businesses that have made the Magic City their home since the pandemic. For companies, Miami is a very attractive city as it offers flexible business regulations, an international hub with gateways to Latin America and Europe, and it allows them to offer their employees a great lifestyle. For ultra-high-net-worth individuals, like Lionel Messi, Jeff Bezos, Miami, and Florida specifically, can’t be beaten with its cosmopolitan nature, exceptional weather, and also because it has no income tax. 

A second reason is, well,  inflation. While the whole world, especially many cities in the U.S., has suffered its consequences this past year, Miami has also seen its share of price hikes that have increased the cost of living in South Florida. According to a study by WalletHub from September 2023, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach area had the highest increase year-over-year, with an inflation rate of 7.8%, while the national average was 3.7%. However, the good news is that inflation is cyclical and the nation is already starting to see inflation decrease.

— A Breakdown of the
Cost of Living in Miami

The Most Important: Housing

Miami Condo with Waterview

This will be your highest expense when moving to the city as it is
45.3% above the national average. The average rent for a two-bedroom condo in Miami, Florida, is close to $2,900, however, this is much less than what you will find the cost to be if you are looking in prime coastal neighborhoods like Brickell, Edgewater, Coconut Grove or anywhere on the beach. You can expect to pay about $3500-$4500 and up to rent a two-bedroom condo in these prime areas.  

If you want to purchase, Miami-Dade’s median sales price for a condo in the most popular neighborhoods is around $700,000, and the average price for single-family homes reached $620,000 in the summer of 2023, a new housing price record. Again, if you are interested in more popular areas, this will be much closer to the $1 million mark. 

It’s just true that the costs of rent and homeownership in Miami can vary drastically depending on your chosen location. If you want to live in a popular neighborhood such as South Beach or Brickell, expect to pay a higher price when compared with a home in the suburbs like Kendall or Doral. Even then, the cost fluctuates depending on whether you want to live in a residential home or a luxury condo with access to lifestyle amenities.

Overall, part of the surge in prices has to do with the high demand for housing that comes with any big movement in population and the low inventory or supply that ruled the real estate market during the last couple of years. Add to this the high-interest rates in mortgages and some costly insurance premiums and you’ve got the perfect mix for price hikes. 

Nevertheless, many pre-construction projects are underway and our report shows the market has started to stabilize, meaning things may get back in order sooner rather than later. We expect that prices will remain stable, but buyers and renters will have more choices as inventory increases. 

Transportation in Miami

Rolls Royce in Miami (Wynwood)

Even though more and more people are forgoing car ownership in Miami, it's still very common to own a car, and many would deem it necessary. Parking is usually included with your home or condo, although this is not always the case. So, when considering the
cost of living in Miami, make sure to include the maintenance of a car, car insurance, gasoline, and perhaps parking if it’s not already included. 

Also, one thing to keep in mind is that Florida has high car insurance rates compared to other states. However, there are many neighborhoods in Miami suitable for living that car-free life, and public transportation systems like the newly inaugurated Brightline station make it easier to be connected to other important areas like Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and all the way to Orlando without a car.

Groceries and Eating Out 

Dining out in Miami

In Miami, the cost of groceries is slightly above average by about 3.8%. This means that if you regularly eat at home, maintaining a healthy, fulfilling diet is possible with a budget of $150 per week or less. There is, however, an enticing amount of options for dining out, including
several Michelin-starred restaurants in Miami, so if you’re a foodie or enjoy trying the best of the culinary offer, expect your food expenses to be higher, as with living in any popular international city.

What About Utilities?

Smart Climate Control

Utilities in Miami are only 2.9% higher than the national average and the most significant price variation comes with the changing seasons. Due to its warm climate, heating is only used a few days or weeks out of the year but AC is definitely needed during most months, especially in the summer when heat and humidity make for a hot combo. 

Ultimately, your monthly expense in utilities will depend on various factors such as how big is your home, how many people live in it, and how modern your appliances are, but generally don’t expect to be paying much more than if you lived somewhere else in the country. Also, gas utilities are not common in Miami, so you won’t likely have a gas bill. 

How Much is Entertainment in Miami?

A day out at the museum

There are so many options for entertainment and recreation in Miami, from free or low-cost alternatives to luxurious experiences that of course come with a high price tag. On one end of the spectrum, you have all the parks, beaches, and public sporting facilities, as well as many venues, restaurants, and bars that hold free concerts and shows. 

On the other end, there are world-class shows with big-name artists, symphonies, and touring Broadway plays worth hundreds of dollars at places like the Kaseya Center or the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, among many other venues. 

Other popular forms of entertainment include admission to museums, with the Pérez Art Museum costing $16, or to important events like Miami’s famous Art Basel, which costs $50 or $75 when included with Design Miami. The good thing is your options are endless, and can be tailored to your budget and taste. You can go as high or as low as you want, and it's one of the many reasons attracting expats to Miami as well.

— What Salary Do You Need to Live in Miami?

Fisher Island with Yacht

When determining the
salary needed to live in Miami, it will depend on your conditions and what you consider a comfortable life. Overall, you can live with $70,000 in Miami, but expect it to only only cover the essentials. And if your lifestyle includes access to top amenities or you envision yourself living in a highly sought-after condos in a neighborhood such as Coral Gables or Coconut Grove, your salary must be much higher to match your lifestyle.

— Final Thoughts on the
Cost of Living in Miami

Walkway in Miami

Although the average cost of living in Miami is more expensive than the national average, it is more affordable or as affordable as other major U.S. cities when you take a look at the big picture. If you wish to maintain a high quality of life, Florida’s tax-friendly environment, including having no personal state income tax can save you quite a lot. That means by living here, you get to keep more of your money.
Understanding this valuable knowledge helps you make informed financial decisions when considering Miami as your next home.

Overall, as housing is the most prominent factor in determining the ideal salary needed to live in the city, it is in your best interest to work with a great real estate agent who will help you find the best options for buying or renting in the ideal Miami neighborhood. Our agents are more than happy to help you and will guide you every step of the way. Contact us today by text, email, or phone for expert insight.

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