If you’re the one who’s all about the sun, golden sands and a salty breeze running through your hair, but don’t want a place as crowded and touristy as Miami, you must have looked at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This city, with 23 miles of beaches and a network of canals, have earned it the nickname ‘Venice of America’. Does the prospect of moving here excite you? If yes, read on to know if moving to Fort Lauderdale is perfect for you.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Fort Lauderdale?
Compared to Miami, which is about 29 miles away, Fort Lauderdale is relatively smaller. Spread about 36 square miles, this city has a population of 184,599 with 5,337 people living per square mile. In the recent years, Fort Lauderdale has seen a significant population growth, with an annual increasing rate of 0.55%.
What you’ll notice when you’re moving to Fort Lauderdale is the outdoorsy lifestyle of the people. The location and weather of the city makes it very suitable for outdoor activities like biking, in-line skating or just going for a jog. The many beaches along the Atlantic make for a perfect getaway. If you’re a fitness enthusiast, you’ll totally love it here!
If you’re planning to buy a yacht, then there’s no better place than Fort Lauderdale, which is the yacht capital of the world. There are over 42,000 yachts registered here, and over 500 miles of canals to explore.
The art scene thrives in Fort Lauderdale! The MASS (Music & Arts South of Sunrise) District and the FATVillage Arts District encourage artists, both local and international, to present their works in open exhibitions.
If you’re a foodie, you should be on the lookout for popup dinners organized by renowned chefs and get a ticket before it gets sold out. The city is jokingly known as Fort Liquordale, thanks to the great craft scene here. It’ll be hard to miss one of the many craft breweries and cocktail bars. If you’re not big on drinking, there are just as many craft coffee spots here too.
Crime Rate in Fort Lauderdale
For all its glitz, glamour and a community of artists, however, what you must keep note of is Fort Lauderdale’s high crime rate. According to NeighborhoodScout, the crime probability is 56 per 1000 residents. This is shockingly higher than 96% of all the cities and towns in Florida. To add to the woes while planning on moving to Fort Lauderdale, the chances of being a victim of a violent crime is 1 in 177; and for property crime, it’s a high 1 in 20.
Fort Lauderdale Weather
If you’re accustomed to the weather of Maine or Michigan, there’ll be a lot of acclimatizing needed if you’re moving to Fort Lauderdale. On the other hand, if you love sunny days and practically nonexistent winters, you’ll love it here. It’s because Fort Lauderdale is hot!
The summers in Fort Lauderdale are from around May to August, and true to the tropical climate of Florida, they can feel harsh. The average temperature can be as high as 90° F. The proximity to the sea also makes it humid, almost making you feel like you can swim in the air!
From September to November is the fall season, with an average high of about 80 to 90° F. However, this is the time when Fort Lauderdale experiences maximum rainfall.
The winter season, if it can be called that, can be experienced around the months of December to February. The temperatures range between a comfortable 61 to 75° F, and is thus the peak of the tourist season here.
With highs ranging from 87° F and 79° F, the spring season lasts from around March to May. Be prepared to experience some rain during this season too.
If you aren’t a fan of hurricanes, Fort Lauderdale may not be the place for you. You can expect one anytime between June to November, with mid-August to mid-November being the peak season.
Is it Expensive to live in Fort Lauderdale?
Whether you find Fort Lauderdale appealing or not, it’s no good if you can’t afford moving here. When in Fort Lauderdale, you’ll be paying three sales taxes: the state, county and city taxes, which all add up to a minimum combined sales tax rate of 7%. The base taxes, which were set at $412 per $100,000 in assessed property value, are set to increase to $434.50 per $100,000 in assessed property value.
Now that you know about the tax rates here, it’s time to crunch some more numbers and see if you can live here comfortably, and not from paycheck to paycheck.
Cost Of Living In Fort Lauderdale
Considering how Fort Lauderdale is a tourist destination and how the population is growing here (about 330,000 move here every year), it’s only natural that the cost of living in Fort Lauderdale is very high. In fact, it’s a whopping 16% more than the national average, according to PayScale. Numbeo estimates the average monthly expenses excluding rent for a family of four to be around $3,797 and $1,043 for a single person.
Even when it comes to groceries, be prepared to shell out a little more, because it’s 3% higher than the national average. A loaf of bread would cost you $3.41, a gallon of milk $1.99, and a carton of eggs $1.86. If you’re up for a hamburger, you’ll be shelling out $4.35.
But the healthcare here somewhat makes up for it, as it’s 3% lower than the average. You’ll be paying your doctor $107.06 and your dentist $91.97. If you have a furry or feathered friend, the veterinary expenses also come up, which is about $52.86 per visit.
Buying A House
If you’re planning to buy a house in Fort Lauderdale, you now know you’ll be set back by a considerable amount. The average cost of a home is $360,284 according to Zillow, and has increased by 6.8% from the previous year and is predicted to rise by 10.4% in the next year.
Renting A House
Those who’d prefer renting a house here would find that it’s quite expensive as well. RENTCafe says that the average rent of an apartment in Fort Lauderdale is $1,944. While rents have seen a marginal 1% decrease from the previous year, it still remains higher than the national average.
There’s a tiny reason for you to cheer about if you’re moving to Fort Lauderdale, and that’s because of the utility expenses that are 1% lesser than the national average. You’ll be set back by $166.15 for energy bills and $177.11 for your phone bills per month. Assuming you’re using an average of 5,000 gallons of water per month, you’ll be paying $70.96.
Transportation in Fort Lauderdale, however, would be expensive – thanks to gas prices being 8% higher. That’s $2.82 per gallon to be precise.
Fort Lauderdale Economy And Employment Opportunities
Over the last year, Fort Lauderdale has seen an increase in the job market by 1.9% – a trend which is predicted to continue. BestPlaces estimates the unemployment rate here to be 3.4%, which is a bit lower than the US average of 3.7%.
If you’re planning on moving to a place that pays the highest average salary, then Fort Lauderdale might not be one for you. However, the $36,405 a year annual salary of a Fort Lauderdale resident definitely is higher than the US average of $28,555 a year.
According to Zippia, the best paying jobs are in the medical and IT sectors, with surgeons and nurses earning an annual average of $226,610 and $147,490 respectively. Information systems managers earn about $141,430 annually. But as Fort Lauderdale is a tourist destination, a big chunk of the population is involved in the hospitality, retail and the food industry.
This would be an important point for those who have kids or are planning to have them in the future. The Broward County School District has its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale. You’d be pleased to know that Fort Lauderdale has among the highest numbers of high school graduates and bachelor’s degree holders in Florida (88% and 37% respectively). However, as compared to the US average of bachelor’s degree holders (36%), it’s not much higher. The relatively high dropout rate of high school students (12%) in Fort Lauderdale isn’t an encouraging factor either.
While it can dampen your plans on relocating to Fort Lauderdale, there still are schools that rank quite high. Bayview and Harbordale, for instance, are among the top ranking elementary schools. For those who want to go to high school, there’s the Pembroke Pines Charter High School. College education seekers can enroll themselves at Broward College or the University of Fort Lauderdale.
Keep in mind that the above mentioned schools and colleges are all public. If you’re willing to spend more on your kids’ education, there are many private options here as well.
Getting Around In Fort Lauderdale
If you’re moving to Fort Lauderdale, surely you want to know how to get around the city, whether for work or leisure. It turns out that driving around Fort Lauderdale is among the best ways to go about it. But at the same time, there’s no denying that traffic in Fort Lauderdale can get bad especially during the rush hours. So that’s something you’d want to consider before moving here.
On the other hand, if you get a house that’s quite close to where you work, you can walk or bike. It’s more economic, environment-friendly and also will help boost local businesses. Fort Lauderdale is among the more walkable cities in Florida, with the government implementing the Complete Streets policy that aims to make the streets more accessible to pedestrians. These include dedicated pedestrian paths and painted intersections, along with events that encourage walking among the people.
The ones who aren’t keen on driving but have to go a considerable distance need not worry either, thanks to the many public transportation services available here:
Broward County Transit (BCT)
The BCT is the primary public transit service in Fort Lauderdale, which also provides services in some parts of Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County. Whether fixed route buses, shuttles, paratransit or door-to-door services, BCT provides them all. The Broward County Transit operates along 44 routes and has adapted to the modern age by providing online ticketing services (one-way fares starting from $2) and free Wi-Fi.
If you’re a biking enthusiast, you’d be interested to know that BCT buses are equipped with bike racks. So you can easily transport your bike and pedal your way after getting off the bus.
If train travel is what you’d prefer to the snarling road traffic, Brightline may be the one for you. Started in 2018, this privately-owned train service goes between Miami and West Palm Beach through Fort Lauderdale. Also, there are plans to expand the route all the way to Tampa via Orlando. The train services run between 5:10 am to 12:50 am and the ticket prices start from $10 per trip. What’s more? Brightline takes pride in being 100% carbon neutral!
You already know that Fort Lauderdale is known as the Venice of America, so it’s obvious that boats and ferries would be a mode of transport here. While it may not be the fastest mode of commute, you can be assured that it’ll be a fun and scenic one! Water Taxi goes to and from Riverside Hotel and Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill, with 8 stops between them. It’s a narrated tour and you can easily hop on and off along the way. However, Water Taxi is a costlier mode of transport, with a ride costing $28. But the trip would be worth it.
This is the best way to get around Fort Lauderdale if you don’t want to spend a dime. Yes, that’s right, rides on the Sun Trolley are completely free! This trolleybus services five routes in Fort Lauderdale. As it links both the touristy as well as the business areas, it’s a great way to get around for both the locals and the tourists. Also, you can download the Sun Trolley app to check out the timetable, routes as well as live tracking of the trolleybuses.
Speaking of bikes, Fort Lauderdale has a bike sharing program called the Broward BCycle. You can easily rent a bike for as little as $1 for an hour (if you’re a member, that is). Non-members can do so for $5 for 30 minutes. As there are multiple BCycle spots around the city, this makes for an ideal and healthy way of getting around in Fort Lauderdale.
Taxi, Uber, Lyft
When in Fort Lauderdale, you can hop in the good old Yellow Cab Broward, which is the leading taxi service in Broward County. It was founded in 1960, and now it has evolved into a modern taxi company by incorporating app-based booking and credit card processing. However, it may not be the cheapest way of getting around, as the base price is $2.50 with an additional $2.40 for every mile driven. Apart from this, you can easily book cabs from Uber and Lyft.
Best Neighborhoods In Fort Lauderdale
Now may be the time for you to decide where in Fort Lauderdale would you like to move in. Here are some of the best neighborhoods that you can consider.
1. Colee Hammock
If you’re the one who loves greenery and wants to live in a neighborhood that has historic homes interspersed with modern townhouses and condos, then Colee Hammock might be the one for you. This neighborhood, as its name suggests, is thickly lined with trees, and is a mere 2 miles from Las Olas Beach.
For young families, this is an ideal neighborhood as Colee Hammock has many high rated schools here. The proximity of Colee Hammock to great fine dining spots and a buzzing nightlife make it one of the more desirable neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale. Of course, that means that it’s also pricier, with Zillow estimating the median home rate here to be around $800,495. As per apartment home living, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment here is $2,380.
2. Dillard Park
For those seeking affordable housing in Fort Lauderdale, consider moving to Dillard Park. This neighborhood exudes a mix of urban and suburban elements. Dillard Park can be a good place for you to look for single-family homes that are also very reasonably priced. According to Zillow, the median home value here is $195,916. Another reason to look forward to moving here is the fact that even renting here is cheap. For just about $1,250, you could rent a two bedroom apartment.
3. Tarpon River
Young families and working class professionals are who you’ll see when in Tarpon River. This tiny neighborhood is dotted with parks and consists of single family homes and condos. Tarpon River has many restaurants, bars and coffee shops, so it’s quite popular among the young.
Tarpon River is among the more mid-range neighborhoods, with the median home value at $328,879. In terms of renting, as shared by Zumper, the median rent in Tarpon River is around $1,816.
Is Fort Lauderdale Florida A Good Place To Live?
With all the above information, you can consider if you want to move to Fort Lauderdale. The city is breathtaking, no doubt, with its vibrant life, sandy beaches and scenic waterfronts. But at the same time, you also want to consider the relatively high crime rate and cost of living in Fort Lauderdale.
The ones who can brave the tropical heat of Florida and love an adventurous outdoors life may be able to overlook the downsides of living in Fort Lauderdale. For those who want an exciting and happening life would love living in Fort Lauderdale, which is almost always buzzing with activity. So here’s the question: would you like this life? If yes, hurrah! You can check out our website to get some suggestions on the best moving companies and a quote so that you can get planning on moving to Fort Lauderdale!