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  • Writer's pictureEd DiMarco MS, MA

Florida's Five Most Affordable Counties for Renters in 2024

Florida's Five Most Affordable Counties for Renters in 2024

Finding affordable living in a state known for its sunshine and sprawling beaches can be challenging. However, amidst Florida's high-profile and high-cost rental markets, several counties offer respite to budget-conscious renters. This article delves into Florida's most affordable rental counties, backed by the latest rental data.

Florida's Five Most Affordable Counties for Renters

1. Highlands County: A Haven of Affordability Amidst Florida's Boom

Highlands County stands out for budget-conscious renters, boasting one of Florida's lowest median rent indices. As of December 2023, the average rental price was around $1,481, a modest increase that reflects the general stability of the market rather than the sharp spikes observed in more urban areas. Over the past decade, Highlands has maintained a steady growth in affordability, diverging from the trend of rapid rental increases found elsewhere in the state. This stability is largely due to its inland location away from the bustling coastal markets and a local economy that benefits from a slower pace of development and a focus on agriculture and small businesses.

2. Putnam County: Rural Charm with Urban Access

In Putnam County, renters enjoy significantly lower costs, with average rents around $1,171 as of December 2023. This county's affordability reflects its rural setting and the limited industrial activity, which keeps the cost of living down. Over recent years, Putnam has seen a gentle uptick in rental prices. Still, it remains well below the state average, making it an ideal spot for those looking for peace away from city bustle but still within reach of urban centers like Jacksonville and Orlando. The county's natural landscapes, including access to the St. Johns River, bolster its appeal, providing residents with a quality of life often unattainable in more metropolitan areas.

3. Hernando County: Suburban Living at a Reasonable Cost

Hernando County presents a compelling case for renters seeking suburban comforts without the metropolitan price tag. With an average rental price of $1,959 in December 2023, it offers a more affordable alternative within the Tampa Bay metro area. This region has witnessed a consistent yet moderate rise in rental costs, aligned with its development as a residential hub for commuters working in Tampa and St. Petersburg. The growth in Hernando's rental market is tempered by its ample supply of new housing developments and a community-focused lifestyle, which includes access to quality schools and expansive parks.

4. Citrus County: Affordable Rates Amidst Natural Beauty

Citrus County's rental market is attractively priced at around $1,650 as of December 2023, appealing particularly to those who value outdoor living. The county has managed to keep its rental increases modest compared to statewide trends, partly thanks to its extensive protected areas and a lower density of commercial developments. Citrus County is renowned for its crystal-clear springs and wildlife parks, both a tourist draw and a significant lifestyle feature for residents. This focus on conservation and outdoor recreation helps maintain the county's appeal as an affordable and scenic place.

5. Marion County: Economical with a Central Locale

Marion County's strategic location in central Florida offers residents affordable living options with the convenience of proximity to both Gainesville and Orlando. The average rent in December 2023 stood at $1,568, reflecting a competitive market that balances rural charm with accessibility to urban job markets. Thanks to its central location, Marion has seen an influx of distribution centers and logistics hubs, which has helped keep unemployment low and rents stable. The county's horse farming heritage and growing reputation as an equestrian center add to its unique rural-urban blend, making it an attractive market for new renters looking for affordability outside of Florida's urban centers.

Each of these counties exemplifies how strategic location, local economies, and community planning can converge to create pockets of affordability in a state as diverse as Florida. By choosing these areas, residents can enjoy the benefits of the Sunshine State lifestyle without the hefty price tag often associated with its more famous locales.

FAQ: Affordable Places to Rent in Florida 2024

1. Which county in Florida had the lowest average rent in 2023?

Citrus County reported some of the lowest rental prices in 2023, with a steady average near $1,590 in March, barely increasing to $1,650 by December. This trend suggests a stable rental market, with minimal fluctuations throughout the year, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious renters.

2. How did rent in Highlands County change over the past five years?

Highlands County has shown significant rental growth over the past five years. From an average of approximately $901 in January 2018 to $1,476 by December 2023, the county has seen a marked increase, reflecting a growing demand for rentals in the area.

3. What was the percentage increase in rental rates in Marion County from 2018 to 2023?

Marion County experienced a 17% increase in rental rates from 2018, starting at around $1,000 and reaching approximately $1,568 by the end of 2023. This consistent upward trend highlights the county's increasing rental market value.

4. Compare the rental price trends in Putnam County from 2021 to 2023.

Putnam County saw a noticeable rise in rent prices from $1,030 in May 2021 to $1,171 in December 2023. This gradual increase is indicative of a strengthening rental market in the region.

5. Which county has seen the highest growth in rent prices over the last three years?

Sumter County recorded the highest growth rate, with rents soaring by 8% from a base of approximately $1,798 in January 2021 to $1,955 by December 2023. This significant growth rate reflects the county's booming housing demand.

6. How affordable is renting in Lake County compared to Broward County?

In 2023, Lake County's rents ranged from $1,973 in January to $2,065 in December, while Broward County's rents were considerably higher, starting at $2,445 in January and slightly decreasing to $2,526 by December. This makes Lake a more affordable option than Broward.

7. What makes Citrus County a standout for renters looking for affordability?

Citrus County's rental rates have consistently been below the Florida average, with 2023 rates hovering around $1,573 in January and only slightly increasing throughout the year. This stability and affordability make it a standout choice.

8. What was the rent in Hernando County in July 2023?

In July 2023, Hernando County reported an average rent of $1,922, indicative of moderate regional pricing and a viable option for those seeking affordability outside of Florida's major urban centers.

9. Which Florida county had the most stable rent prices over the past year?

Citrus County exhibited one of the most stable rental prices, with minimal increases from $1,573 in January to $1,650 in December 2023, reflecting a well-balanced rental market.

10. How does the rental market in Highlands County compare to that in Osceola County?

In 2023, Highlands County's rents increased from $1,411 in January to $1,481 in December, while Osceola County saw rents starting at $2,111 in January and slightly decreasing to $2,134 by December. Highlands County is significantly more affordable than Osceola.

11. What are the expected rental trends for Citrus County in 2024?

Citrus County is projected to continue its trend of affordable rents, starting at $1,677 in January 2024. The slight increase suggests a continued demand but still maintains affordability compared to more metropolitan areas.

12. How have rental rates in Marion County adapted to market changes from 2019 to 2023?

Marion County’s rental rates rose from around $1,073 in January 2019 to $1,568 by December 2023, marking a steady increase aligned with broader real estate market trends and reflecting growing demand in the area.

13. What is the historical trend of rent increases in Sumter County from 2021 onwards?

Sumter County showed a remarkable rental price increase, starting from around $1,798 in January 2021 and rising significantly to $1,955 by December 2023, indicating a robust growth in local demand and economic development.

14. Compare the rent stability in Putnam County with that in Hernando County.

Putnam County displayed notable rent stability from $1,030 in May 2021 to $1,171 in December 2023. In contrast, Hernando County saw rents increase from about $1,836 in January to $1,959 by December 2023, showing greater volatility in Hernando’s rental market.

15. What factors contribute to the varying rental rates across Florida counties?

Rental rates across Florida counties vary due to several factors, including economic development, local job markets, housing availability, tourism influences, and demographic trends. For instance, counties with robust tourist attractions or economic hubs tend to have higher rental rates due to increased demand. Conversely, more rural or economically static areas might offer more stable and lower rental prices, reflecting a lesser demand and a different demographic profile. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for renters looking for affordable options and investors seeking profitable opportunities in the Florida real estate market.



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