Miami is one of the most popular cities in the Sunshine State. It's not hard to see why with the sunshine and beaches, as well as the plethora of shopping, dining and entertainment experiences. On top of that, the cultural diversity and amenities — combined with the exciting yet laid-back personality of the city — earned a 2021 “best places to live" badge from Niche.com.
You might think that with everything this city has to offer the cost of living in Miami — particularly the average rent in Miami — would be exorbitant. And while the total cost of living is over the national average (by 16.3 percent), the cost has dropped (overall by 0.8 percent) over the past year in several of the following cost of living categories.
- Housing costs in Miami
- Food costs in Miami
- Utility costs in Miami
- Transportation costs in Miami
- Healthcare costs in Miami
- Goods and services costs in Miami
- Taxes in Miami
- How much do you need to earn in Miami?
Housing costs in Miami
When deciding to move to a new city, it's important to look at the average rental fees in that city as your rent is likely going to be your greatest monthly expense.
While the overall cost of living in Miami is 16.3 percent higher than the national average, the average rent in Miami is 41.7 percent higher than the U.S. average. You can expect to pay somewhere around $3,368 per month, an increase of 11.7 percent from last year.
At first glance, it might be easy for many people to brush the prospect of moving to Miami aside since not everyone can afford $3,368 in rent each month. However, it's important to remember that this is the average, meaning there are apartments for rent in Miami with rental fees that are both higher and lower.
As an example, if you wanted to live in Miami's Financial District, you can expect to pay an average of $5,254 per month for an apartment. But if you move to the Parkview neighborhood in the suburb of Miami Gardens, you can pay as low as $1,533 each month.
Average rent prices in cities near Miami
Miami Gardens is just one of the cities near Miami that boasts lower-than-average rental fees. Whether you're looking for a city with a lower cost of living than Miami or simply aren't sure if you want to live Downtown, you might want to check out the following cities. They're nice alternatives to Miami living.
Home prices in Miami
If you want to move to Miami, renting isn't your only option. You can also purchase a home. The great thing about the Miami housing market is that it's currently a buyers' market. You won't have a lot of competition and though housing costs have increased over 18 percent (to $418,000) in the past year, most sell nearly 3 percent below list price.
On average, you can expect to pay $1,628 per month toward your mortgage if you put down just 5 percent as a down payment, according to Redfin. If you put down the often-recommended 20 percent, you'll pay around $1,371 per month.
Food costs in Miami
Grocery bills can dramatically increase the cost of living in Miami depending on the type of foods you purchase (organic, meats, name brand products) and the amount you need (a single person might need less than a family of four, someone who entertains needs more than someone who doesn't).
Overall, the cost of food in Miami is 16.6 percent higher than the national average. To get an idea of how this translates to dollars and cents, let's look at the breakdown of ingredients for a nice dinner: steak and a baked potato with a side of peas and corn.
- Frozen corn: $2.19
- Steak: $15.86
- Cooking oil: $6.77
- Sweet peas: $1.49
- Potatoes: $3.29
- Margarine (for the potato): $1.15
- Parmesan (for added flavor): $4.41
- Peaches (for dessert!): $2.40
Total grocery bill: $37.56
- Frozen corn: $1.25
- Steak: $12.40
- Cooking oil: $4.82
- Sweet peas: $1.24
- Potatoes: $3.10
- Margarine (for the potato): $1.00
- Parmesan (for added flavor): $3.88
- Peaches (for dessert!): $1.93
Total grocery bill: $29.62
Dining out in Miami
If you're someone who likes to eat out or order takeout quite often, you'll want to figure those costs into your total cost of living in Miami.
This city has so much to offer in the way of dining, from a ritzy Japanese sushi restaurant (Makoto) to The Surf Club Restaurant, where you can enjoy 1950s glamour both in the décor and in the menu items (Beef Wellington, martinis and ice cream Sundays).
You can expect to pay at least $13 for a budget meal in Miami. Sit-down and fine dining establishments can cost an average of $30 per person.
Utility costs in Miami
Utility costs in Miami are one of the areas where you can actually save a bit of money. Overall, you'll pay 0.3 percent less than the national average. At first glance, that might not seem like a lot but, over time, it'll add up. Especially when you consider some cities have utility costs that are nearly 10 percent above the national average.
For the most part, your energy bill is going to go to powering up your refrigerator and computer and keeping your lights on. Winter weather is fairly mild, though some Floridians find the winter lows quite cold because they've acclimated to the higher summer temps. You might need to use a heater occasionally during the winter, but you'll likely experience an increase in energy costs in the summer when you're dealing with warm-to-hot and humid conditions.
On average, you can expect to pay around $168 per month for power and other energy costs. Other utilities to factor into the cost of living in Miami and that can increase the average rent in Miami include:
- Cell service: Cell phone coverage can cost between $14 and $80 per month depending on the provider, the plan you choose and the number of lines you need.
- Internet: Internet providers in Miami charge between $35 and $60 each month.
- Water/sewer: Water and sewer charges depend upon factors like flow rate and meter size. You can get an estimate of charges by contacting the Miami-Dade County government directly.
- Cable: Cable costs range between $25 and $65 per month depending on the provider and the package you choose.
Transportation costs in Miami
Another factor that can increase your overall cost of living in Miami is transportation. In fact, transportation costs can impact the cost of living so much that it may determine whether you can afford the average rent in Miami.
Thankfully, Miami-Dade County has multiple transportation options for its residents.
Public transit in Miami
The transit score for Miami is 57 (above average). Miami has a pair of commuter trains called the Metrorail and the Metromover. The Metrorail runs on elevated tracks through Downtown Miami to suburbs north and south of the city.
The Metromover is a driverless monorail extension of the Metrorail that takes passengers to various sites throughout Downtown Miami. Metromover cars come to stations every 90 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on the time of day.
Another public transit option is the Miami bus system.
- Metrobus: $2.25 one way
- Metrorail: $2.25 one way; daily parking fee of $4.60; $45 for a monthly pass; $11.25 for a monthly parking permit
- Metromover: free service
Owning your own vehicle
If you prefer to ride to and from work or to run errands on your own, owning your own vehicle might be the best choice for you. Of course, there are some monthly fees associated with this, as well, including:
- Car payment
- Vehicle insurance
- License and registration fees
- Parking ($7 hourly rate; $28-$30 daily rate; $111 per month)
Gas prices in Miami are higher than average ($3.11 per gallon compared to the $2.76 national average). Vehicle maintenance fees (like tire balancing and rotation) are on par with the U.S. average of $52.40.
Other transportation options
Transportation costs in Miami are 7.7 percent higher than the national average. Because of higher transportation costs, many people want to know if they can easily get around the city on foot or on a bike.
Unfortunately, the walkability and biking scores for Miami are not super high – 61 and 58, respectively. However, the mayor closes major roads to vehicle traffic every month, opening them up for walkers and bikers to travel safely and with ease.
Healthcare costs in Miami
It's not easy to find an average when it comes to healthcare costs in any city, because healthcare is so unique to each individual. You have to consider health insurance costs, as well as co-payments for doctor's visits and medications. Or, if you don't have insurance, how much you'll have to pay out of pocket each month/year for healthcare services and medications.
On average, healthcare costs are 6.3 percent higher in Miami than nationally. If you visit the doctor in Miami, it will cost around $120. The dentist will cost $110 and a visit to the optometrist will cost around $115. Nationwide, those costs average $112.81, $99.44 and $105, respectively.
Medication fees are between 0.47 percent (prescription medications) and 15.87 percent (over-the-counter meds) higher than the national average.
Depending on your needs, this can increase the cost of living in Miami and even impact whether you're able to afford the average rent in Miami. If your healthcare needs are higher, you might need to find an apartment in a suburb of Miami with lower rental rates.
Goods and services costs in Miami
In addition to your big monthly expenses (rent, utilities, etc.), you'll also have to factor in non-essential goods and services into the cost of living in Miami. On the whole, items/services that fall into this category are 3.8 percent higher than the national average.
Here are a few price breakdowns.
- Shampoo: $1.04 in Miami; $1.03 nationally
- Men's shirts: $22.50 in Miami; $29.56 nationally
- Women's pants: $24.19 in Miami; $30.37 nationally
- Toothpaste: $2.67 in Miami; $2.19 nationally
- Going to a movie: $13.36 in Miami; $11.12 nationally
Taxes in Miami
Still another factor that can raise the cost of living in Miami is taxes. If you decide to purchase a home in Miami-Dade County, your property tax rate is higher (0.970 percent) than other counties in Florida (like Walton County, which has a property tax rate of 0.77 percent).
If you buy a home worth $418,000 in Miami, you can expect to pay $4,055 per year in residential property taxes.
Other taxes include sales and use taxes. In Florida, the sales tax rate is 6 percent. In Miami, you'll pay another 1 percent for a discretionary county surtax for a total of 7 percent sales tax. If you purchase something worth $1,000, you'll pay an additional $70 in taxes.
How much do you need to earn to live in Miami?
Many financial experts agree that to live comfortably and keep the cost of living in Miami low, it's best to designate no more than 30 percent of your income to rental fees.
The average annual income in Miami is $53,971. Thirty percent of that is $16,191.30 per year. The average rent in Miami is $3,368 per month. Annually, that comes to $40,416 – well above the 30 percent rate, leaving only $13,555 to spend on utilities, healthcare, transportation, food, etc.
Needless to say, many people will find it difficult to afford to live in Downtown Miami. However, there are some other factors to consider, such as the fact that you can find lower-priced apartments to rent in Miami and that some people make more than the annual income average.
Understanding the cost of living in Miami
Many people automatically assume that Miami prices are exorbitant and that they can't afford to live in this amazing city. With prices dropping in every cost of living category, Miami is more affordable than ever.
If you've been dreaming of a move to a city that's fun, vibrant, exciting and beautiful, there's no better choice than Miami. Check out our listings to find apartments for rent in Miami to see if the average rent in Miami fits your budget.