Here is everything you need to know about Fort Lauderdale cost of living.
Known as the “Venice of America” because of its intricate canals and waterways, Fort Lauderdale is an exciting, cosmopolitan destination. If you’re planning on moving to this entertaining, cultural, and experiential city city, you have to be able to afford the Fort Lauderdale cost of living.
Before knock this robust city off your list of “best cities to live in” (because it is), let’s lay everything out for you so you have the full picture. And trust us, it’s a GREAT picture!
Here is our guide to the Fort Lauderdale cost of living.
Fort Lauderdale Cost Of Living Guide
Overall, the Fort Lauderdale cost of living is on the slightly more expensive side, coming in at 16% higher than the national average. This is largely due to housing expenses, which are 52% higher than the national average.
We can feel you gasping. But if you think about the 23km of pristine beachfront, the shopping mecca, the arts-and-culture soul of the city – blended with the plethora of dining and entertainment options – the lifestyle offsets the cost.
Keep in mind that the average Fort Lauderdale cost of living is not that expensive compared to other Florida cities like Miami, for example, coming in at around $28,300.
Let’s break this down so you have a better idea of the Fort Lauderdale cost of living, per sector.
The cost of housing is probably the biggest cost you’ll have to contend with. The average listing price of homes in Fort Lauderdale is around $495,000. Real estate has seen a marked increase due to the influx of new residents, but it is only in the beginning stages of its rise, so now is the time to buy.
The cost of housing is largely influenced by the area you choose to buy or rent in. And with a wide variety of condos, townhouses, single-family, and larger-family homes – along with much new development – you have choices.
Beachfront properties will demand the highest prices due to their location. You’ll be looking at around $2,700 rental per month for a condo; and if you’re buying, a townhouse or home could cost you around $1.5 million.
What’s important to keep in mind when buying in the city is that property taxes are very high – you’ll be paying around 0.8% of your home’s value annually. But there are some ways to get tax exemptions, including homestead exemptions, widow/widower exemptions, senior citizen exemptions, blind person exemptions, veteran exemptions, and total and permanent disability exemptions
Not Just For Retirees
Sounding like all the older folks get the tax breaks? That’s because Fort Lauderdale became the post-career destination for professionals, who sought a resort-style lifestyle removed from the rat race – but to also have options to enjoy entertainment and exceptional dining.
The magic and desirability of this popular city have, however, boomed and more entrepreneurs and families are moving into this five-star destination. Fort Lauderdale is now in the top 3% of best cities to live in in the world.
Affording Your Spot
So what do you need to earn to secure a spot in Fort Lauderdale?
The average income is around $36,400 per year, with the median household income being around $55,000. This is a pretty tall order for the average blue-collar worker, as most available jobs are more in the professional areas.
With that being said, a boom in tourism and property development has opened up more job opportunities for both blue and white-collar workers. The sectors that offer the most employment are, in order, hospitality, healthcare, professional, education, administrative, construction, other services, transportation, and real estate.
Here are some average salaries (per annum) across these sectors:
- Registered nurse: $79,000
- Chartered Accountant: $70,000
- Mechanical Engineer: $106,000
- Paralegal: $64,000
- HR Manager: $90,000
- Electrician: $57,000
Fort Lauderdale Neighborhoods
There are 60 distinct neighborhoods to choose from. Colee Hammock is one of the oldest areas in Fort Lauderdale, with a mix of Cape Cod-style homes, condos, apartments, and bungalows. There are also highly-rated schools in the area.
Harbor Beach is a very intimate and private gated community, hidden behind the southern end of Seabreeze Boulevard. It is one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale, with exquisite architecture. There is also a marina with waterfront dining and a private beach.
Then we have Victoria Park, a tight-knit community of upper to middle-class families, and senior citizens. And for younger families, there’s Tarpon River – conveniently located near to schools, supermarkets, parks, and the water.
Some good news, if you’re considering moving to Fort Lauderdale, is that the cost of utilities like water and lights is lower than the national average. Not by much, but every cent helps, with America’s Venice coming in at 96.4 points to the national rating of 100. This will help reduce the overall Fort Lauderdale cost of living.
One of the most important expenses in any household is your monthly groceries. Unfortunately, you’ll be spending more on groceries than in many other cities. This Fort Lauderdale cost of living expense is 7% higher than the national average. Here are some average costs for everyday groceries, to give you an idea:
- Milk: $4.19
- Bread: $3.50
- Eggs: $2.65
- Rice: $3.19
- Apples: $2.73
- Cheese: $5.11
- Beef: $8.00
- Chicken fillets: $5.71
- Domestic beer: $5.79
The Flavors Of Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale has an abundance of traditional as well as new-age and fusion flavors, you are spoilt for choice when deciding where and what to eat.
Fresh-from-the-sea flavors include freshly-caught lobster and crab, scallops, grouper, and fish tacos. Or hit up the traditional Cuban and Mexican eateries for something a little spicier. On the fusion side, you can look forward to trendy cafes, casual taverns, or hearty steakhouses.
Some local favorites to try out in the city include Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill for their burgers; The Foxy Brown for their affordable menu; Coconuts for your fresh seafood; Kousine Fort Lauderdale for some vegetarian and Peruvian dishes; and El Camino Fort Lauderdale for authentic Mexican cuisine.
While meal prices in Fort Lauderdale vary significantly based on location, the average cost of food is $39.00 per day.
When The Sun Goes Down
Between 4,100 restaurants and 120 nightclubs, you’ll never get bored (or hungry) in the evenings in Fort Lauderdale. Many of these are located in the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District, running from the heart of Downtown Fort Lauderdale to the beach.
Groove to the local and international music vibes at Escape Lounge and The Culture Room. Or pull into Shooters Waterfront, YOLO, or Rocco’s Tacos for a bite and a cocktail. And you can always stop in on the Friday Night Sound Waves, a free live-music event that takes place every Friday at the Beach Hub – come rain or come shine.
For more classical music tastes, the South Florida Symphony Orchestra has become a cultural institution across the whole of South Florida, including Fort Lauderdale. Performing everything from Handel’s Messiah, to the masterworks of Beethoven, Bach, and Tchaikovsky, this superlative collection of talented and skilled musicians will weave magic around your ears.
Depending on your preferences, there are all kinds of entertainment in Fort Lauderdale, to fit any budget.
It is advisable to have your own car when living in Fort Lauderdale, as the public transport system isn’t the best. Car prices range from $27,570 for a 2022 Toyota Camry to $31,307 for a 2021 Mazda CX-30, and $44,789 for a 2021 Jeep Gladiator.
Many Fort Lauderdale locals rely on their own steam or bikes to get around. It’s no secret that travel will have significant effects on the Fort Lauderdale cost of living. If you’re traveling further than you’re comfortable walking or cycling, here are your options.
This is the commuter rail line that links Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and West Palm Beach. It is 71 miles long, with 19 stations along the coast of South-East Florida. It also connects directly to Amtrak at various stations. A second line on the Florida East Coast Railway corridor takes commuters further north to Jupiter, and south through downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Tickets cost between $4 – $6 and the journey takes around 44 min
Broward County Transit (BCT)
The 300-strong bus service covers more than 400 square miles of the city and services about 1,600 stops. This passenger rail system connects Fort Lauderdale, Miami, West Palm Beach, and Orlando, and is privately owned, operated, and maintained.
A one-way fare will put you back $1.75 with significant discounts for Seniors, children, the disabled and those on medicare.
The Sun Trolley is a wave-and-ride community shuttle – and it’s free! It covers six routes in the city, providing access to Las Olas Boulevard (the shopping highlight of Fort Lauderdale), the beautiful beaches, and many of the exemplary dining destinations.
Broward B-Cycle/AvMed Rides
Ever heard of bike-share before? This great bike-sharing program has 16 stations across Fort Lauderdale, with very affordable membership options. Weekly memberships are $35 with the first 30 minutes of each ride being free. A 30-minute one-off ride will cost you $5, with a maximum of $55 per day.
Clean, white beaches with gentle blue waters run the 23-mile coastline outside in reach of Fort Lauderdale. The main beach is called Blue Wave in Fort Lauderdale Beach, which stretches for four miles along the coastline.
Aside from exquisite sunsets, the beaches offer a variety of activities for residents and visitors alike. Swimming, snorkeling, jet-skiing, or catching some vitamin D while sunbathing, are some of the activities you can enjoy.
If you’re a boater, then you’ll be in your “happy place” in Fort Lauderdale. The coastline is a boater’s paradise, with nearly 500 miles of waterways giving access to the city’s waterfront bars – where the city’s unique form of entertainment, the waterway bar crawl, takes place. Boating is so popular in the Venice Of America, that nearly 40,000 residents live aboard their yachts.
All beaches are free to access and have a variety of amenities available.
If you’re a health and fitness enthusiast, then Fort Lauderdale is made for you. The residents of the city are known for their health-conscious lifestyles. There are many beautiful parks that you can go to or take your family to, to enjoy activities such as swimming, jogging, hiking, skateboarding, kayaking, bike-riding, inline skating, or just taking your dog for a walk.
For those who prefer to work out indoors, you can get yourself a gym membership. A basic gym membership will range from $30/pm to $50p/m
Arts And Culture
It is widely known that the Fort Lauderdale art and culture scene is equivalent to that of Miami. From live local music to innovative art walks, performances to local crafts – Fort Lauderdale is a creative’s paradise.
The FAT Village Arts District (Flagler Arts and Technology) found in Flagler Village, and the MASS District (Music and Arts South of Sunrise), are hotspots for handmade jewelry, fine art, and sculptures, clothing, and multiple art galleries.
In this arty district, you can also enjoy the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Broward Center For Performing Arts, local craft beers and breweries, and a host of live-music venues.
There you have Fort Lauderdale in a nutshell. Yes, it is on the expensive side in terms of housing and groceries. But on the other hand, utilities are lower than the national average. And you have one of the most desirable lifestyles on the planet, whether you’re an end-of-career professional, or an entrepreneur aiming to make waves in the hospitality or tourism industries.
The “Venice of America” is a residential destination to consider. With all the amenities – and a wonderfully friendly community – you’ll be hard-pressed to find another city that has it all. And when you’ve made the big decision to move on over, our team of movers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is waiting to give you a helping hand!