As job opportunities change, families grow, children move on, or retirement planning shifts into high gear, many ask themselves two questions: Do we stay where we are? If we want to leave, where shall we go?
Obviously there are many choices, all pertinent to your own interests, tastes and aspirations. When looking for areas to relocate, there are many facets of life to consider such as cost of living, home prices, climate and overall ‘feel’ of the area. In this post, let us do a quick comparison between North Carolina and Florida.
Real Estate Costs
Obviously, one of the biggest areas to look at in any move is overall cost of living; however, most folks specifically look at their largest purchase, a place to live. In North Carolina, median home sales are currently hovering in the $132,000 to $137,000 range whereas the Florida market has been rising, as evidenced by its increased median sales to $169,000. As mentioned in the previous post comparing North Carolina to Texas, some North Carolina city centers are a little higher than that median number.
However, the same is true for Florida where the median housing costs continue to rise, evidenced by Palm Beach County which has seen its median housing costs rise 29% from May 2012 to May 2013. The median in May 2013 was $263,750. The Southwest Florida region continues to see a rise, as well, with current median prices sitting at $210,000. Statewide, the median sales price of a home in Florida increased 10.3% from March 2012 to March 2013.
One caveat to keep in mind when looking at real estate is the cost of insurance. Unfortunately, Florida has been hit by a number of hurricanes in the last ten to fifteen years, which has led to insurance rates that are among the highest in the nation.
North Carolina property taxes continue to be favorable in comparison to the rest of the country. Homes are taxed based on 100% of the appraised value. The property tax for a home worth the median home value of $155,500 is $1,209.
Florida taxes are based on 100% of its market value. For a home valued at the current Florida state median of $182,400 the property tax is $1,773.
Cost of Living
For the most part, both states are fairly low in taxes, although North Carolina per capita state and local taxes are among the 20 lowest in the country, ahead of Florida in that regard.
Both states are starting to come out of the recession methodically. Regarding economic outlook, the economy in North Carolina is more diversified than Florida. Florida mainly relies on the tourism and construction industry.
Both states provide ample amounts of great weather, to allow for a number of outside activities. The state of Florida, even the northern portion, can have summer like weather year round. Being a peninsula provides anyone who enjoys the water and sand an exorbitant amount of coastline for which to play and recreate.
North Carolina has the draw of being cool enough in the fall and winter seasons to produce a real change of seasons. For those who enjoy a changing of the colors of foliage in the fall and some skiing in the winter certainly can enjoy those in North Carolina, especially in the Great Smoky Mountains or Blue Ridge Mountains in the west.
North Carolina has an abundance of coastline, as well. Being along the coast presents a more temperate climate, also. It does not get as cool in the winter as the rest of the state and not as warm in the summer either.
If one is looking for four seasons, North Carolina is your choice. If you are looking to wear shorts and golf shirts year round, however, Florida tops that list.
Recreation and Culture
Both states have a number of opportunities to enjoy. As mentioned, with the diversity of North Carolina’s climate, however, there are activities here that may not be found in Florida, such as skiing and recreation centered in and around the mountains in the western part of the state.
This diversity plays out in the everyday aspect of life in the area. From mountain views and recreation to the pastoral settings of Pinehurst to the long coastline, the opportunities to enjoy oneself are very diverse in the state.
With unique areas like Mount Airy, Asheville and Tryon, an assortment of vibrant college towns and the nation’s second leading financial center in the form of Charlotte, North Carolina presents a wide range of cultural and recreation opportunities that suit a variety of interests.
Each state presents a unique lifestyle, each one subject to one’s own interests, desires and outlook. Both states present their own case as a place to relocate.