What to Look at When Moving to a Coastal Area

There are 25 major costal counties along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast. The largest 3 counties include the cities of Houston, Miami, and Brooklyn, respectively. All three of these cities have different characteristics and benefits that are appealing to potential movers. Before choosing a new place to move along the coast check out what we have found.

Growth on the Coast[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

Costal areas typically have higher populations because people love being close to the beach and can enjoy water activities year round. The costal areas of Houston, Miami, and Brooklyn have populations of 4.5, 2.7, and 2.6 million people, respectively. However, Brooklyn has the highest concentration of people per square mile. Coastal cities can also get busy during holidays and summer due to tourists and families on vacation.

The median age of overall population can also be a factor in determining which coastal area to move to. The median age in Houston, Miami, and Brooklyn is 33, 40, and 35 years, respectively. If you are a retiree you may want to move to sunny Florida but if you are a Millennial just starting a career you may want to try New York or Texas. Either way moving to a coastal area will be fun due to the wide range of activities.

Housing is also a major factor in determining which coastal area to move to. Housing expenses can make up a large portion of a person or households budget. The largest portion of housing expenses are rent or mortgage payments, utilities which include water, electricity, and internet. In addition to these expenses you also have to furnish your living space. Expenses for kitchen products, living room furniture and bedroom decor can all add up. Because rent and mortgage payments are the largest expense, you should consider how home values affect your decision to move to a coastal area.


Home values are a good metric to look at to determine home affordability. Coastal areas typically have higher home values than more land locked areas. The median value of owner occupied homes in Houston, Miami, and Brooklyn were $156,000, $251,900, and $638,500, respectively. Houston has a very affordable housing market but still has 9 percent of homes priced above $500,000. Miami homes median values are just slightly above that of the median prices of Florida and the United States but still have about 16 percent of homes priced above $500,000. Brooklyn has a unique and higher priced housing market with only 35 percent of homes priced under $500,000. Brooklyn homes valued at $500,000 to $1,000,000 make up 45% of the entire market while homes valued above $1 million comprise 20 percent of the market.

Depending on whether you plan on being a renter or a homeowner, vacancy rates and home values will be topics you should consider. Housing unit vacancy rates in Houston, Miami, and Brooklyn were 8, 15, and 8 percent, respectively. Although the vacancy rate in Miami is nearly double Houston and Brooklyn, this could be a little misleading due to all of the second homes and vacation properties in Miami. Typically housing markets with renter vacancy rates around 4 to 7 percent are considered balanced, while areas that have a 2 percent vacancy range for single family homes are usually balanced.

If you are looking to move to a coastal area be sure to check out the area population, average age, and home values to get a feel for the area.

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