The 9 best places to live in Florida if you want to avoid the bomb cyclone

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You don’t need to be retired to move to Florida. After all, it’s been one of the hottest destinations among those who moved during the pandemic. 

And with weather forecasts predicting a “bomb cyclone” ripping through most of the U.S. this week, relocating to the Sunshine State—which just so happens to be a tax haven—has never seemed more appealing.

Just ask Harshneel More, a 30-year-old software engineer who moved to Tampa from San Francisco last year. In Florida, he and his wife got a bigger space, including a home office, while keeping his San Francisco salary, he told the Tampa Bay Times. “I really liked the amenities, like swimming pools, gyms, things you couldn’t get back home.”

Florida even has an unemployment rate of 2.7%, below the the national unemployment rate of 3.7%. But for all its perks, Florida’s popularity over the past few years has driven up its cost of living. According to real estate marketplace Zillow, the typical U.S. home value in October 2022 was $357,589 (up 13.5% year-over-year), while the average Florida home was worth $406,876 (up 25%). 

The real estate marketplace provided Travel + Leisure with the “typical home values” in the state, which represent “the average of the middle 30% of the distribution of estimated home values” in a given region. This metric comes from individual “Zestimates” of all homes in a region, rather than just those sold or on the market. It was used to help determine the best places to live in Florida, among other factors like the unemployment rate and income (using data from the St. Louis Fed).

Here are the experts’ picks:

  • Miami
    • $474,101 typical home value
    • 1.7% unemployment rate
  • West Palm Beach
    • $437,939 typical home value
    • 2.7% unemployment rate
  • Jacksonville
    • $378,914 typical home value
    • 2.7% unemployment rate
  • Tampa
    • $391,314 typical home value
    • 2.6% unemployment rate
  • Cape Coral
    • $431,137 typical home value
    • 3.9% unemployment rate
  • Orlando
    • $402,064 typical home value
    • 2.8% unemployment rate
  • The Villages (age-restricted retirement community)
    • $438,197 typical home value
    • 5.3% unemployment rate
  • Ocala
    • $289,855 typical home value
    • 3.3% unemployment rate
  • Lake City
    • $238,698
    • 2.9% unemployment rate

While the cost of living is higher in some of these places, incomes are typically stronger to balance it out. And, LinkedIn has ranked Cape Coral as America’s top work-from-home city.

Florida has been a fan favorite among the wealthy looking for sunshine and a tax break. More high-earners moved to Florida than any other state during the pandemic, per an August 2022 analysis of IRS data from SmartAsset. Between 2019 and 2020, Florida saw a net influx of 20,263 households earning over $200,000 annually—nearly quadruple the number of high-earners moved to Texas, the second-most popular state.

Plus, with the advent of work-from-anywhere jobs, it’s no surprise Florida’s been so popular. When given the option to log on from home, the office doesn’t stand a chance, a standard unlikely to change in 2023. In fact, experts predict remote work will become a non-negotiable for most white collar jobs. 

Indeed, remote work “opened the door for more people to move farther away from the workplace and explore living in a new area,” Randy Ryerson, vice president of marketing and communications for rental truck company Penske, told Fortune in May.

It’s not hard to see why; plus, Florida’s a cheaper and shorter flight than Portugal

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