These Are The 10 Best Places To Buy A House In Florida For 2018


Using science and data, we can tell you which places in Florida have seen home prices rising and people flocking over the past year.

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Editor’s note: This is not investment advice and we are not financial advisers.

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There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Florida:

Should I buy a place or rent?

Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉

And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Florida, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Sunshine State.

To do that we are going to look at places in Florida that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the ‘deals’.

The best deal in Florida at the moment? That would be Apopka according to our analysis.

Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Florida:

  1. Apopka (Photos | Homes)
  2. Cape Coral (Photos | Homes)
  3. Tampa (Photos | Homes)
  4. Orlando (Photos | Homes)
  5. Cape Canaveral (Photos | Homes)
  6. Palm Coast (Photos | Homes)
  7. Sarasota (Photos | Homes)
  8. Dania Beach (Photos | Homes)
  9. Clermont (Photos | Homes)
  10. West Melbourne (Photos | Homes)

The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.

If you’re not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in Florida and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Florida.

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How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Florida?

We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.

So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Florida. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Florida with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.

To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2012-2016 and compared it to the previous vintage (2011-2015). Specifically, we used the following criteria:

  • Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
  • Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
  • Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)

We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still ‘cheap’ for Florida with the following caveats:

So of the 915 cities and towns in Florida, only 24 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.

We then ranked each place from 1 to 24 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a ‘best place to buy’ index with the place having the lowest index being the best.

Turns out that Apopka is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Sunshine State.

Read on for more on these places.

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1. Apopka

Apopka, FL

Population: 47,023
Median Home Price: $167,600
Population Change: 2.7%
Home Price Change: 7.4%
More on Apopka: PhotosReal Estate | Data

The earliest known inhabitants of the Apopka area were the Acuera people, members of the Timucua confederation. They had disappeared by 1730, probably decimated by diseases brought to Florida by Spanish colonists.

2. Cape Coral

Cape Coral, FL

Source: Public domain

Population: 170,063
Median Home Price: $173,400
Population Change: 2.5%
Home Price Change: 10.5%
More on Cape Coral: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Cape Coral history began in 1957 when two brothers from Baltimore, Maryland, Leonard and Jack Rosen, flew over the peninsula known as Redfish Point, across the Caloosahatchee River near present-day Fort Myers. Cape Coral was founded as Redfish Point. Leonard and Jack Rosen, who were real-estate developers, purchased a 103-square-mile (270 km2) tract known as Redfish Point for $678,000 in that year and, in 1958, began development of the city as a master-planned, pre-planned community.|The Gulf American Land Corporation (GALC), was formed to develop the area. Canals were dug, streets paved, houses and businesses built. Cape Coral was promoted like no other Florida development. Celebrities were brought in to tout the benefits of ‘the Cape’, as it is known locally. The first building in Cape Coral, even before any houses were constructed, was the Rosen’s sales office. It was built right on the spot where George’s Auto now stands, at Cape Coral and Coronado Pkwys. Cape Coral’s first permanent resident was Kenny Schwartz, the Rosens’ general manager. Cape Coral’s first four homes were completed in May 1958, on Riverside and Flamingo Drives.

3. Tampa

Tampa, FL

Source: Public domain

Population: 361,477
Median Home Price: $172,100
Population Change: 1.7%
Home Price Change: 7.4%
More on Tampa: PhotosReal Estate | Data

When the pioneer community living near the US Army outpost of Fort Brooke was incorporated in 1849, it was called ‘Tampa Town’, and the name was shortened to simply ‘Tampa’ in 1855. The etymology of the name is unclear. The word ‘Tampa’ may have meant ‘sticks of fire’ in the language of the Calusa, a Native American tribe that once lived south of today’s Tampa Bay. This might be a reference to the many lightning strikes that the area receives during the summer months. Other historians claim the name means ‘the place to gather sticks’. Toponymist George R. Stewart writes that the name was the result of a miscommunication between the Spanish and the Indians, the Indian word being ‘itimpi’, meaning simply ‘near it’.|The first iteration of the name ‘Tampa’ first appears in the memoirs of Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda (1575), who had spent 17 years as a Calusa captive and traveled through much of peninsular Florida. He spelled it ‘Tanpa’ and describes it as an important Calusa town on the west coast. While ‘Tanpa’ may be the basis for the modern name, archaeologist Jerald Milanich states that the Calusa village of Tanpa was on the shores of Charlotte Harbor, which is about 65 miles south of Tampa Bay. A later Spanish expedition did not notice the mouth of Charlotte Harbor while sailing north along the west coast of Florida and assumed that the current Tampa Bay was the bay they sought, thus accidentally transferring the name on Spanish navigational charts. Tampa Bay was labeled Bahía de Espíritu Santo (Bay of the Holy Spirit) in the earliest Spanish maps of Florida, but became known as Bahía Tampa (Tampa Bay) as early as 1695.

4. Orlando

Orlando, FL

Population: 263,306
Median Home Price: $172,100
Population Change: 2.6%
Home Price Change: 7.2%
More on Orlando: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Before European settlers arrived in 1536, Orlando was sparsely populated by the Seminole tribe. There are very few archaeological sites in the area today, except for the former site of Fort Gatlin along the shores of modern-day Lake Gatlin south of downtown Orlando.|After Mosquito County was divided in 1845, Fort Gatlin became the county seat of the new Orange County in 1856. It remained a rural backwater during the Civil War and suffered greatly during the Union blockade. The Reconstruction Era brought on a population explosion, resulting in the incorporation of the Town of Orlando on July 31, 1875 with 85 residents (22 voters). For a short time in 1879 the city revoked its charter, and was subsequently re-incorporated. Orlando was established as a city in 1885.

5. Cape Canaveral

Cape Canaveral, FL

Population: 10,116
Median Home Price: $181,100
Population Change: 0.8%
Home Price Change: 8.2%
More on Cape Canaveral: PhotosReal Estate | Data

After the establishment of a lighthouse in 1848, a few families moved into the area and a small but stable settlement was born. As the threat of Seminole Indian attacks became increasingly unlikely, other settlers began to move into the area around the Indian River. Post offices and small community stores with postal facilities were established at Canaveral, Canaveral Harbor and Artesia. It is thought the Artesia post office was so named for the ground water of artesian springs that are prevalent in the area.

6. Palm Coast

Palm Coast, FL

Source: Public domain

Population: 80,948
Median Home Price: $168,400
Population Change: 2.1%
Home Price Change: 5.7%
More on Palm Coast: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Developed by ITT Community Development Corporation (Levitt) in 1969, the original development plan encompassed 48,000 home sites on approximately 42,000 acres (17,000 ha) of the 68,000 acres (28,000 ha) owned by ITT. Paved streets and central water and sewer serve all lots developed within the plan. An extensive water management system was designed to replenish the area’s water table, which includes 46 miles (74 km) of freshwater canals and 23 miles (37 km) of saltwater canals.|In 1975, the Flagler County Board of County Commissioners established Palm Coast Service District, which included almost 40,000 acres (16,000 ha). Funds for the district were derived primarily from ad valorem taxes and were used to provide fire services, fire hydrants, street lighting, animal control and emergency services.

7. Sarasota

Sarasota, FL

Population: 54,425
Median Home Price: $190,500
Population Change: 1.6%
Home Price Change: 12.7%
More on Sarasota: PhotosReal Estate | Data

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.9 square miles (67 km2), of which 14.9 sq mi (38.6 km2) is land and 11.0 sq mi (28 km2) is water.

8. Dania Beach

Dania Beach, FL

Population: 31,046
Median Home Price: $167,300
Population Change: 0.5%
Home Price Change: 4.5%
More on Dania Beach: PhotosReal Estate | Data

The area was started as a neighborhood called Modello in the late 19th century.

9. Clermont

Clermont, FL

Population: 31,171
Median Home Price: $186,800
Population Change: 2.8%
Home Price Change: 7.4%
More on Clermont: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Clermont was founded in 1884 and named for the French birthplace of the manager of the Clermont Improvement Company, A.F. Wrotniski. The city was incorporated in 1916.

10. West Melbourne

West Melbourne, FL

Source: Public domain

Population: 20,207
Median Home Price: $173,900
Population Change: 2.7%
Home Price Change: 5.7%
More on West Melbourne: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Voters created the city in 1959 to stop the area from being annexed into the City of Melbourne.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Florida

There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Florida. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.

In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 915 places in the state.

So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.

For more Florida reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Florida

City Rank Median Home Price Population Change Home Price Increase
Apopka 1 $167,600 2.7% 7.4%
Cape Coral 2 $173,400 2.5% 10.5%
Tampa 3 $172,100 1.7% 7.4%
Orlando 4 $172,100 2.6% 7.2%
Cape Canaveral 5 $181,100 0.8% 8.2%
Palm Coast 6 $168,400 2.1% 5.7%
Sarasota 7 $190,500 1.6% 12.7%
Dania Beach 8 $167,300 0.5% 4.5%
Clermont 9 $186,800 2.8% 7.4%
West Melbourne 10 $173,900 2.7% 5.7%
Hollywood 11 $197,100 0.9% 8.5%
Delray Beach 12 $207,100 1.7% 12.7%
Ocoee 13 $181,800 3.8% 7.0%
South Pasadena 14 $169,900 0.6% 3.8%
Ormond Beach 15 $169,900 1.9% 3.3%
Mount Dora 16 $208,500 2.1% 9.2%
Temple Terrace 17 $174,900 1.2% 4.1%
West Palm Beach 18 $198,100 1.3% 6.3%
Tallahassee 19 $182,200 0.8% 2.4%
Panama City Beach 20 $208,400 2.0% 6.3%
Lynn Haven 21 $184,400 2.3% 2.7%
Niceville 22 $204,600 2.8% 5.3%
Wildwood 23 $203,100 12.0% 5.3%
Valparaiso 24 $195,800 0.3% 2.1%

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