When looking to build or purchase a new home in Florida, it’s hard to not consider a gorgeous waterfront property. Whether it’s a lake, river or ocean, what a luxury it would be to be within a few steps of a body of water without ever leaving your property.
But while waterfront homes are highly coveted in Florida, they’re not always a realistic option for all buyers. In fact, some residents intensely prefer inland properties. Explore the pros and cons of each type of home to determine which is best for your particular budget, layout preferences and lifestyle.
While developers are constantly clearing new land for inland properties, there’s only so many waterfront areas left to build upon, and limited homes to buy. It’s all about supply and demand.
For homeowners looking to build their own custom home, inland locations are sometimes their only option for their price tag and preferred area. Those who design their own home inland are in control of their own personalized floor plan— or at least a handful of floor plan options. Many waterfront homes already exist, and while often luxurious, are harder to customize.
Although waterfront homes still traditionally cost more than inland homes, Zillow Research has confirmed their premiums aren’t as high as they used to be. In fact, the extra cost for waterfront living is at its lowest level since the second quarter of 2002.
This means that for those with their heart set on the water’s edge, prices for waterfront homes aren’t rising much. That’s the good news. However, when weighed against all options, waterfront home costs are still almost twice as high as any other home.
Variance in the price tags of waterfront houses is really indicative of the part of Florida you’re looking to move. Some areas— like Jacksonville— boast the highest premium for waterfront living, surpassing the medium value of a home than those in big cities like Denver, Colorado or Baltimore, Maryland, according to Zillow. While others— such as Tampa or Orlando— cost less compared to other U.S. cities.
Let’s not forget upkeep. Not only is the initial price tag going to be more for a waterfront property, but you will also have upkeep costs from corrosion caused by salt air and spray— not to mention added insurance for flood protection.
When considering the pros and cons of purchasing a waterfront property, a large portion of the cost innately boils down to personal perception. How much is the view or convenience worth to you? You’re going to absolutely pay more than you would for an inland home, but for many, the thrill of stepping a few feet outside to their boat or watching the grandkids play in the sand is worth more than any price tag.
Simply put, some buyers dream of the sound of the waves, smell of the breeze and view of the horizon from a waterside home. They enjoy stepping out of their door and having the sand between their toes or being so close to their favorite fishing spot. For these people, their waterside home is about maintaining a “boating” or beachside lifestyle with ease.
Others prefer to be away from the waters, desiring greater protection from storms and hurricanes—a risk all waterfront homeowners are forced to take— or more more quiet seclusion from noisy waves or running water. Some inland homeowners enjoy being apart of an intimate residential community, and while many waterside properties offer privacy, there’s more of a separation amongst neighbors, especially properties only inhabited by snowbirds who travel home for the winter.
The Decision is Yours, But We’re Here to Make it Easier
If you are considering purchasing your own lot for a new home construction project, review our article on What to Consider Before Buying Land.
If you have a particular region of Florida in mind, reach out for personalized advice on whether it’s better to build or buy a new home. In Cape Coral, for example, there’s data to support that building a new home is the more financially sound path to take— but a trusted realtor can help you make the best decision for your budget, desired location and beyond.
Not convinced building is the way to go? Check out our expansive guide on building your dream home on a budget. Then, be sure to download our Home Buying Guide. You might be surprised at the many advantages to building a home in the sunshine state.