Pros and Cons of Living in Miami (2023)

People considering leaving New York or San Francisco for Miami almost always search the internet for reasons why people hate to live in Miami, or why Florida is so terrible. After all, Florida Man is a national phenomenon, and the media always seems to find a way to make fun of the state.

However, as we’ll demonstrate in this article on the pros and cons of living in Miami, most of the garbage articles you’ll find on the internet are not curated for the transplants that are migrating to the Magic City.

Sure, Miami is expensive and the traffic is bad, but what about New York? This is an article that considers the merits of Miami vs New York or the Bay Area, where many of our readers are from, vs Montana which is not really a fair comparison.

Pros of living in Miami

Very high quality of life

If there’s one thing that recent transplants to Miami will tell you, it’s that the qualify of life is so high down here. Where else can you have sunshine year-round with beautiful beaches and oceans that are actually warm enough to swim in all year?

In Miami, people expect a higher standard of living and they get it. In contrast to NYC, condo units almost all seem to have outdoor space with one or more balconies or terraces, many boast expansive or waterfront views, washer/dryers are universally common, and buildings seem to all have a plethora of amenities ranging from pools to full-blown spas.

The weather is amazing

South Florida gets plenty of sunshine. In fact, Miami gets an average of 248 days of sunshine per year. The winters are the most popular time of the year for snowbirds and tourists to visit South Florida, with temperatures during the winter months averaging in the mid-70’s degrees Fahrenheit.

However, don’t listen to the naysayers who claim that Florida gets too hot during the summers. The average temperature during the summer months average in the mid-to-high 80’s degrees Fahrenheit. However, the concrete effect in NYC during the summer can easily be much hotter, often reaching into the 90’s and 100’s. Therefore, it’s kind of funny when New Yorkers complain about how hot Miami is during the summer when it’s easily hotter in NYC.

Furthermore, just like in New York, it’s much cooler during the summer if you’re on the beach or live by the water. In fact, the average temperature difference between living on the beach or on the bay vs deep inland is about 10 degrees, which does make quite a difference during the summer.

Plus, the constant ocean breezes that especially hit higher floors and waterfront properties, combined with the ubiquitous balconies that even the most humble apartment in South Florida seems to come equipped with, make living in Miami during the summer infinitely more pleasant than being cooped up in a windowless hovel in NYC.

Don’t believe us? Just come on any typical sunny day and check out the view from the balcony of any waterfront property.

Once you see just how beautiful the ocean and bay are, you’ll wonder why you ever decided to live anywhere else.

What are the pros and cons of living in Miami vs NY, San Francisco or the Bay Area? Consider costs, quality of life, traffic, people & more.

A lower cost of living

Everything is less expensive down here, and you can get much more bang for your buck despite the inflationary policies of the government and central bank.

Sure, the market has really rebounded from the turmoil of 2020, and the Miami real estate market is only expected to continue to strengthen after a temporary expected dip in prices in 2023, but the prices here are still eminently more affordable, and typically of better quality and newer construction, than places like New York or the West Coast.

For example, let’s say you’re a New Yorker who just loves living in the Meatpacking District of the West Village, and can’t imagine living anywhere else because NYC is the capital of the world right?

Well, when it’s time to upgrade to a bigger living space, perhaps because you have a newborn on the way, we bet you’ll start having second thoughts once you start going through the available housing inventory in the West Village.

If you never look anywhere else because you don’t know better, than you might actually be depressed and settle for a 3 bedroom in an old, brown, unattractive co-op building with crazy board members and neighbors that you can barely afford for $3 to $4 million.

But how depressing is that? Or, you could move to Miami and purchase a 4 bedroom, 3,000+ square foot penthouse condo in Edgewater, right on the water with direct bay and ocean views, for the same price.

And for that kind of money, you won’t be getting an ugly, unattractive building built before your grandmother was born. No, it’ll be a new construction or very recently built building with more amenities than you can imagine.

Gone will be the days where you’ll have to compete with highly competitive, but ultimately very confused people, for a membership at Soho House just to be able to access a pool in New York City.

And we mean this in the nicest possible way, because often through no fault of their own, many New Yorkers simply don’t know any better. They don’t realize that competing for a shoe box isn’t the only way to live.

Long gone are the days when every Ivy League graduate wanted to go to Wall Street, and to work on Wall Street you had to live on the Upper East Side. With the advent of remote work and the decreasing importance of finance vis-à-vis tech and other industries, “equities in Dallas” is no longer a put-down as it was on Wall Street in the 1980’s.

A thriving transplant community

We’ve heard over and over again how recent transplants to Miami feel like they’ve made more real friends here in the past year than they have in 5 or 10 years in NYC. Perhaps because so many people are new arrivals, Miami has the vibe of orientation week for newly arriving freshmen on campus. Everyone is excited to be here and in contrast to NYC where it can be difficult to plan with people because everyone is always “too busy,” people in Miami are simply down to hang and make friends.

People are just open to meeting new people, and introducing people to each other. The atmosphere is so open that it’s not uncommon for people to actually make friends with each other in random public places. In contrast in NYC or San Francisco, pedestrians are trained to not make eye contact with others, perhaps out of fear of being assaulted by a belligerent drug addict, criminal or homeless person.

A lower tax burden

You didn’t think we’d forget about taxes right? Florida is one of 9 states that don’t have a state income tax. Don’t worry, for those of you traumatized by local city incomes taxes like in NYC, Florida’s constitution bars the imposition of an income tax. This means blue leaning counties such as Miami-Dade cannot unilaterally impose a Miami city income tax.

But where does the government get its money then? Surely, the property taxes and sales taxes must be higher in Florida then right?

Nope. Florida has a state sales tax of 6% on most items, with many essential items like most grocery items being excluded. Miami-Dade County also collects a 1% sales tax, for a total of 7% in sales tax in Miami. This is lower than the 8.875% in sales tax levied in NYC, not to mention the special tax rates of as much as 18.375% for renting parking garage spaces in NYC.

What about property taxes? Well, the average property tax rate for a purchase is usually around 1.8% to 2% of the sale price. If you’re able to get the Homestead Exemption because it’s your primary residence, then property taxes in future years are reduced by reductions in the assessed amount.

So yes, property taxes are admittedly high, but they are as high or higher in parts of New York such as Westchester County which sports the highest property taxes in the country.

Ease of doing business

It’s simpler, easier, faster and cheaper to start a business in Florida. Keep in mind that Florida doesn’t have much in the way of Mickey Mouse (i.e. arbitrarily made up) taxes such as the NYC Unincorporated Business Tax or the NYC Business Commercial Rent Tax.

While strict, licensing is relatively straightforward and the people who work at these state agencies are usually responsive, compared with agencies in other states where you can never get a response.

The same goes for employment laws and COVID restrictions and requirements, it’s simply easier to navigate as a small business in Florida where you don’t have to abide by pages and pages of COVID regulations to operate an office.

Good governance

Let’s face it. The low taxes and sunshine have always been there for Florida, so why are people fleeing New York in droves? Though a convenient excuse for politicians in California and New York, the pandemic really can’t be the reason people are continuing to migrate out of these states.

After all, New York only recently still had extensive mask and vaccine mandates when the narrative was that vaccines actually prevented the spread of COVID. And earlier in the pandemic, New York and California had the toughest lockdowns and NYC had the highest infection rates, especially among nursing home residents, thus achieving herd immunity much faster.

So if the exodus out of New York was purely out of fear of COVID, then surely people should be stampeding to go back to New York now that the pandemic is over?

So what has changed? Surely, it couldn’t have anything to do with how some of these deep blue cities like NYC and San Francisco are governed. However, from what we hear from recent transplants to Miami, that is exactly the reason for their departure, the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back if you will.

From many interviews with recent transplants from blue states, it seems to boil down to taxation without representation. In fact, since Democrats reportedly outnumber Republicans in NYC anywhere from 6-8 vs 1, there is zero representation for any view points that differ from the Democratic establishment.

Essentially it boils down to this. Many New Yorkers who have left disagree with not just the high levels of taxation, but in how it’s used with zero say in the matter. We keep hearing about New Yorkers who’ve walked by the same street in TriBeCa for over 10 years, and the street somehow has been in construction the entire time with no improvement. It’s stories about seeing a dozen construction workers earning union prevailing wages joking around a pothole, with only one guy working on a jackhammer. Even more infuriating, that same pothole was just fixed the previous week.

What’s worse, it’s quite obvious to private sector workers just how well compensated public sector workers in New York are. What private sector worker do you know gets a defined benefit pension of $200,000 or $300,000 per year for life? At today’s low interest rates, you would need well in excess of $10 million, after tax, in the S&P 500 to generate that sort of perpetual income stream.

Pro Tip: Curious about moving to Miami? Learn more about where to live in Miami with our Miami neighborhood guide. Remember, Miami has many different, interesting neighborhoods to choose from. There’s truly variety in living choices here vs in NYC where everyone wants to live in the West Village.

Cons of living in Miami

The traffic

This is a common, and often valid, complaint about living in Miami. The traffic in this city can get pretty bad, especially around rush hour and on the I-95. This problem is compounded by the fact that Miami is known for aggressive and bad drivers who often get into accidents. Here in Miami, traffic signs, lights and rules are more of a suggestion vs a requirement for many drivers. It’s often joked that actually using your turn signal is a sign of weakness. Furthermore, due to a lack of public transportation, bike lanes and the spread out nature of the city, most people tend to drive or take rideshares, which only adds to the number of cars on the road.

Yet, however bad the traffic can be in Miami, the traffic is worse in New York and the West Coast. In fact, the traffic in Miami cannot compare to the horrific traffic jams you see in Los Angeles or trying to get out of NYC on a summer Friday afternoon.

The people

A common complaint by elitist New Yorkers is that the quality of the people in Florida can’t compare to that of New Yorkers. They complain that people in Miami are inconsiderate, don’t have manners, are rude, uncouth, vain, flashy, transactional or uninteresting.

Can you imagine some bitter New Yorker airing these grievances all at once? Is this someone you’d prefer to hang out with? Also, have you spent much time recently on the dirty streets or subways of NYC?

While people will generally smile and acknowledge each other here in sunny Miami, which the Financial Times recently called the most important city in America, in New York you’re just hoping to not get shoved onto an oncoming subway train.

While it’s true that there may be some cultural differences to get used to in Miami-Dade County, we’d argue that you can find equally rude or even more annoying people anywhere, including in NYC.

If you believe this to be a complaint about living in Miami, perhaps you should consider mixing up who you’re hanging out with!

After all, there’s been a huge influx of transplants, pioneers rather, from different parts of the country, many of whom are very interesting people with the will and ability to start a new life somewhere new. If you don’t like who you’re hanging out with, make some new friends.

Keep in mind that after the great, post-pandemic migration which is still in progress, finding community in Miami has never been easier. We’ve heard plenty of transplants who have tried living in Miami pre-2020 say that it wasn’t doable then due to the difficulty in finding like-minded people, but years later they would never live anywhere else.

The heat and humidity

A common complaint against living in Miami is the heat, especially during the summer. However, as we’ve previously discussed while it can get quite hot in the summer months with average temperatures in the mid-high 80’s, the beach is much more accessible for everyone and you have less of a “concrete effect” vs NYC.

So yes, if you’re living in Doral or Homestead, there is the possibility that you’ll experience higher than average temperatures during the summer. But what do you expect from living inland in a tropical climate? If you landed in a tropical island, would you want to live in the jungle interior?

The point is, it’s arguably hotter in NYC during the summer, and the beach is much more accessible with numerous public parking lots close to some of the best sand beaches in the world. Plus, waterfront living is significantly more affordable than on the West Coast or New York.

There’s lots of bugs

This is one that gets a lot of hype, but one that we haven’t witnessed in real life living in Miami. Sure, in terms of bugs there are occasionally cicadas and cockroaches that you’ll see, but no more than in New York. Most critically, these are bugs you might very occasionally see outside, vs in your apartment as can often happen in NYC.

Why is this the case? We think it’s because New York can be so dry that if you’re away for an extended period of time, the water in your drains will dry up and cockroaches from New York’s dirty sewers will crawl right up into your apartment.

In contrast, we’ve almost never heard about cockroaches within an apartment being an issue for the vast majority of decent, clean apartment dwellers in Miami. Keep in mind that if you have a house, then you’re more likely to get bugs if you leave your doors open. But perhaps that’s common sense and to be expected?

You’ll find alligators in your pool

This complaint really is unheard of. Perhaps this is possible, per various viral YouTube videos, in swampier parts of Florida. But no, we’ve never heard of alligators in any pools in Miami. We don’t see alligators either in the various canals or rivers in Miami either. However, you will find lots of adorable manatees, a neutered cat colony in Miami Beach, and iguanas and various tropical birds!

Everyone has a gun

While Florida may have the highest number of concealed carry permits in the country, we’ve never seen a civilian brandishing a weapon in Miami because open carry is not allowed. So yes, it’s much easier to buy a gun here in Miami, but people are not running around waving firearms and police officers are fairly abundant.

In fact, because of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and the ability for citizens to purchase and carry firearms (unlike NYC, where citizens cannot carry even a blade longer than 4 inches), people are generally quite respectful to each other. People don’t just go up to harass, insult or attack people randomly as may actually happen more frequently in New York, due to the threat of deadly force in defending oneself.

This is a rather controversial and complicated subject, but overall we see a reduction in street violence and harassment from gangs, criminals and homeless people vs in NYC.

It’s too expensive

Sadly, this is true especially when you compare real estate prices vs local incomes, which can typically start as low as $30,000 to $40,000 per year. So although real estate prices aren’t as expensive as NYC, the relatively low incomes of the local population make housing affordability more of an issue.

Fortunately, Florida has much more relaxed zoning regulations vs New York and especially the West Coast. Because there are very few historical neighborhoods and developers can simply build as long as they can buy up the lots, there is a lot more construction and thus a lot more housing. As a result, homelessness is ironically less of an issue here vs in California or NYC.

With that said, the impact of the mass net migration to South Florida on local inflation should not be minimized. Due to the sheer amount of people and wealth that have moved to Miami and South Florida, prices these days are getting on par with that of NYC, especially for activities such as dining out.

There’s no culture

This is a common complaint you’ll hear. It’s true, Broadway only exists in NYC and Miami doesn’t have something as institutional as Carnegie Hall or the Met Gala. However, how often do you go to see the opera or a ballet performance in New York? If you’re a regular, then you’re probably not someone who’s looking to move in the first place.

With that said, there are more cultural institutions coming to Miami, and it’s only a matter of time we believe before Miami gets a Broadway of its own. You can already see the progress that is happening with Formula 1 choosing Miami as the location of its 2nd US based race starting in 2022.

The restaurant scene isn’t as good

While historically this may have been true, with offerings focused on high prices for a party atmosphere, Miami cuisine has evolved over the past couple of years as transplants have demanded better service, better food and generally expected a higher level of quality that has forced restaurants to improve.

This change in the culinary landscape has been accelerated by the opening of Miami locations for many famous NYC restaurants such as Carbone and Cote. Furthermore, the Michelin Guide is finally coming to Miami, with much credit to the dramatically improved culinary scene here.

Pro Tip: Ready to move to Miami? The great news is that closing costs are cheaper here than in New York, so you’ll save when you buy and sell. And even more so if you save on broker commission through Hauseit’s services! Calculate your closing costs with our Miami Buyer Closing Cost Calculator and read our advice for first time home buyers in Miami before you start.

Disclosure: Hauseit® and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. No representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind is made regarding the completeness or accuracy of information provided.

5 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Living in Miami (2023)”

  1. We have a mini opera and ballet house and some museums. The culture comes in different packaging in Miami.. Sure it’s no Broadway but there are local theaters and art houses.

  2. Daniel Javier

    Very well done and thanks for sharing Chris! I’ll share with wifey who is looking to buy a condo – in this case Miami would be my base.
    I actually grew up and went to college in Miami, then researched the shit out of it when evaluating my post nyc move. I couldn’t wait to leave after college – the people was the main problem I had. Generally speaking, I still find the typical Miami person to be shallow and uninteresting, compared to people in NYC and other cities I’ve lived in (Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam, Portland). I’m so glad that’s changing with people like you and Shray moving here. With better people, Miami is probably best place for me to live in the US. I’m here for the bilingual nature of the city and how it kind of feels like living abroad. Weather and taxes help a lot too. 🙂

  3. I think you make a key point. It’s all about relatability, or the perception of being able to find relatability and community. I’ve heard numerous friends who have said that they don’t think they could have lived in Miami prior to the pandemic migration, due to not being able to find enough like-minded people (or the perception of not being able to as I’m sure there were always plenty of interesting people here).

    It actually makes a lot of sense as due to the tremendous migration from just NY and CA, FL and Miami in particular is no longer as affordable as it used to be. So if people were purely focused on cost, then why aren’t they flocking to rural Arkansas or Alaska (not to pick on any particular state)? It’s because people are social animals after all, despite everything that remote work has enabled, and they still want to be close to like-minded people and have a sense of community.

  4. We strongly disagree with the point about “the people” in Miami. This is something we often hear from individuals who have recently relocated from other cities (most often NY and SF) and haven’t yet found their community of friends to who they can relate. Once they have one or more friend groups, this sentiment seems to disappear completely, suggesting it’s just a matter of friend-making and community building. Having relocated from New York in 2020, we feel we have many, many more high-quality friendships than we ever did in New York, despite having gone to college there and worked for 5-10 years. In our experience, the majority of people we came across in NY were shallow social and/or corporate climbers, who often try to gauge if you are interesting enough to talk to in the first 5 minutes upon meeting. We also found it was hard to make plans to hang out, and people often flaked or canceled at the last minute. Most New Yorkers also didn’t have the space to host at home, so plans always had to be made with a venue in mind. In Miami, our friendships feel genuine and based primarily on us liking one another, and it’s easy to enjoy a variety of activities such as beach/poolside hangs, BBQs, kayaking, fitness classes, exploring new neighborhoods, etc. We wouldn’t ever trade our Miami friends for our old NY friends!

  5. We just moved to Miami from New York and we could not love it more. Everything about this article is true. Including the fact that we used to go to the theater or opera/ballet a few times a year in New York and we can’t do that here. So we are planning to fly to New York a few times a year and get all the benefits of New York while getting all the benefits of Miami the other 95% of the time. The lower taxes here will pay for those trips 10 times over.

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