For many beach lovers, moving near the sand and shore is a lifelong goal. But there are many advantages and disadvantages of living in coastal areas that you should be aware of.
We moved to Florida years ago and have sold tens of millions of dollars in real estate—both to clients near the beach and inland.
This article contains all the valuable lessons we’ve gained from our experiences, highlighting both the advantages and the possible drawbacks of residing by the coast.
5 Benefits of living near the coast
(1) Water fun in coastal communities
Who doesn’t love dipping their toes in the water? And for some of us, the idea of paddle-boarding, surfing, or floating in the ocean on lazy afternoons is our idea of paradise.
Tom and I love coastal towns like Siesta Key and Clearwater where the vibe feels easy, and the people are loving life.
Having an ocean or huge lake down the street can mean tons of fun for you or the whole family.
In fact, here in the Central Florida area you will see people loving the water sport life.
(2) Coastal Living Offers Stress Relief
There is just something about living on the coast. The sound of the waves, the calm of the ocean, the warm sand on your toes.
When we think of relaxing, we think of the coast. It has a vibe that’s hard to get anywhere else.
Tons of people in the world listen to ocean waves on a sound machine to sleep. Other people frame beautiful coastal art to hang on the walls of their home.
Humans definitely have an emotional connection to the coast—but is there actual science linking the stress relieving benefits?
Recently Harvard researchers published a meta-analysis review on the effects of nature on mental health. They combed through 149 studies and found the following:
“Evidence from experimental studies suggested protective effects of exposure to natural environments on mental health outcomes and cognitive function. Longitudinal observational studies are starting to assess the long-term effects of exposure to nature on depression, anxiety, cognitive function, and chronic disease.”— Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
We have experienced these same effects. People from all over the world travel to coastal regions for the opportunity to relax.
(3) Coastal Homes hold their value
Coastal homes are typically a great investment when it comes to home equity and value.
Coastal areas are often sought after for their scenic beauty, desirable climate, and proximity to recreational activities. If you look at most American coastal towns and compare them to inland towns and cities, coastal homes will have higher returns on investment.
There is typically a very high demand for coastal properties, which can result in an appreciation in property value over time.
Coastal properties tend to be resilient to market fluctuations and have demonstrated a historical trend of maintaining or increasing their value.
A research study examined the value of water views in the Bellingham housing market. The researchers used a model to estimate how much ocean and lake views affect the prices of homes in different time periods.
They found that water views have a big impact on property values.
The results showed that homes with ocean views or lake views tend to have higher prices compared to homes without such views.
What’s more, the impact of water views on prices was particularly significant for lakefront properties, which had the highest percentage impact on prices.
Ocean views also had a positive impact on property prices, but the impact decreased as the view became narrower. For example, homes with a full ocean view had a higher price impact compared to homes with a partial ocean view.
It’s important to note that the study found that the value of ocean views was influenced by the neighborhood where the property was located.
Prestigious neighborhoods with a higher prevalence of ocean views commanded higher prices even for homes without ocean views.
(4) The Coast is Beautiful
This isn’t scientific, but it’s a fact—coastlines make for some of the most dramatic views in the country.
The coast is beautiful, captivating us with its awe-inspiring vistas and enchanting landscapes.
Coastal areas mesmerize us with their awe-inspiring vistas, from the rugged cliffs of Big Sur to the untouched beauty of the Florida Keys’ pristine beaches.
These beautiful views leave a lasting impression on us.
The winding paths reveal panoramas as you explore, with each twist and turn. Ever notice how it feels like the hills rise in the distance and almost blend in with the ocean?
As you traverse these coastal routes, you’re immersed in a realm of scenic wonder that never ceases to amaze.
One of the most captivating aspects of coastal beauty is the presence of trees that seem to have stepped out of the pages of a fantasy novel.
Whether it’s the towering redwoods of Northern California or the swaying palms of the Florida coastline, these trees add an ethereal touch to the coastal landscape.
When driving in northern California, it’s almost unbelievable how big the sequoias are.
One area we love is the Palm Coast in Florida. A lovely coastal town with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The beauty of the coast shows us how amazing our planet is. It reminds us that there are extraordinary places where nature’s beauty shines brightly.
(5) Coastal Cities Can Be Safer
Coastal areas often attract a diverse range of residents, including individuals with higher income levels. Numerous studies have shown a correlation between higher income and lower crime rates, suggesting that the affluence found in coastal communities can contribute to a safer living environment.
According to FBI Data, we can analyze coastal safety by looking at two towns in California. Carlsbad, located in Southern Coastal California, has a violent crime rate of 14.7. Eight miles inland is the city of Vista with a crime rate of 19.7.
One of the reasons coastal areas tend to attract affluent residents is their inherent natural beauty and desirable living conditions. Living by the coast offers beautiful ocean views, charming beaches, and a pleasant climate, which creates a sense of well-being and security.
Coastal cities, in a nutshell, tend to be pricier and their inhabitants are inclined to safeguard their valuable investments.
Residents in these communities often take pride in their surroundings and actively participate in maintaining a safe and inviting environment.
Moreover, coastal communities that heavily rely on tourism understand the importance of ensuring the safety and security of their visitors. We can see these same safety initiatives in our lake town of Clermont, FL.
Recognizing that a positive reputation is crucial for attracting tourists, these communities often prioritize safety measures.
Local law enforcement agencies work hand-in-hand with community organizations and businesses to implement effective security strategies, ensuring the well-being of both residents and visitors alike.
5 Disadvantages of living near the coast
Before you pack your home and head to the coast, let’s talk about some potential pitfalls of moving to the coast.
(1) Sky-High Property Insurance
Living in Florida, we know all about sky-high property insurance.
Florida’s property insurance situation has become a cause for concern, presenting both high costs and increasing difficulty in obtaining coverage.
For those considering a move to a coastal climate, insurance is often an unexpected rollercoaster ride.
In fact, living by water ensures that you’ll need flood insurance which is an additional cost.
- Percentage of Coastal States with Flood Insurance:
- Approximately 11.74%
- Percentage of Non-Coastal States with Flood Insurance:
- Approximately 1.0%
Southeastern U.S. Insurance Issues
The data paints a clear picture of the challenges faced by Floridians. An estimated 1,727,811 of Floridians are expected to see changes to the flood insurance polices.
Insurance premiums in Florida are among the highest in the country. The state’s vulnerability to hurricanes and other natural disasters drives up homeowners insurance rates substantially.
In fact, insurance companies are leaving in droves.
With fewer than 15 companies offering coverage to over 20 million people, residents face a shrinking pool of options.
Annual premiums for a $300,000 home can easily surpass $3,000.
Flood insurance costs also contribute to the insurance woes in coastal areas. State’s with extensive coastlines along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean make many areas susceptible to flooding, resulting in rising premiums.
Take a look at the map below for areas that have been significantly effected by flooding according to the FEMA database.
Depending on the property’s location and flood zone designation, annual flood insurance premiums can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Coastal cities in Florida, such as Miami, Naples, and St. Petersburg, have more insurance difficulties because they are prone to hurricanes, storm surges, and flooding.
As a result, insurance premiums in these areas tend to be higher, with stricter coverage requirements.
Choosing an inland city over a coastal city, like how we chose Orlando over Tampa, can generally save homeowners on insurance costs, but proximity to lakes or rivers can still impact rates.
Northeastern U.S. Insurance Issues
While we’ve focused on the problems of the Southeast, the Northeastern U.S. is facing a significant insurance problem following devastating floods caused by tropical storms as well.
Many affected residents, living outside coastal floodplains, did not have flood insurance, leading to substantial financial losses after Hurricanes Ida and Henri.
Homeowners or renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage, leaving limited options for assistance. The estimated losses from these storms reach billions of dollars, straining residents as they repair homes and replace belongings.
New York City and areas in New Jersey are particularly impacted, with many applying for federal aid and limited flood insurance claims.
Southwestern U.S. Insurance Issues
Living on the Pacific Ocean offers some protections from the dangers of hurricanes and flooding. However, coastal homes aren’t free from insurance problems.
As California has become an inferno of unpredictable wildfires, California property insurance has soared. You might be safe from water, but you aren’t necessarily safe from fires or the rising insurance rates that follows.
(2) Rising Oceans are Concerning
Climate change and rising sea levels pose a significant concern for coastal communities. As the oceans rise, coastal areas face increased vulnerability to flooding and erosion.
Based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminsitration, U.S. coastal cities are in danger from rising oceans.
How much are oceans going to rise around U.S. coastal cities?
|Coastal Region||Anticipated Sea Level Rise (inches)|
|East Coast||10 – 14|
|Gulf Coast||14 – 18|
|West Coast||4 – 8|
|Caribbean||8 – 10|
|Hawaiian Islands||6 – 8|
|Northern Alaska||8 – 10|
This can lead to property damage, loss of land, and the need for costly coastal protection measures. Living near the coast means facing the ongoing challenge of adapting to these environmental changes.
Recent data on Florida’s vulnerability to rising sea levels reveals a staggering reality: numerous coastal cities face significant risks of flooding, including the newly constructed homes in these areas.
|City||Housing Units at Risk (%)||New Housing Units at Risk (%)|
|Pembroke Pines, FL||94.5%||50.0%|
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||73.4%||90.1%|
|Miami Gardens, FL||71.4%||0.0%|
|Pompano Beach, FL||46.1%||97.7%|
|Cape Coral, FL||42.5%||72.5%|
|St. Petersburg, FL||37.0%||0.0%|
Moving to a coastal community may present challenges from rising oceans. Moving inland may provide protection of your asset.
(3) Property Taxes are Soaring
Coastal regions often have higher property tax rates compared to inland areas. This is due to the desirable location and the amenities associated with coastal living.
Taxes aren’t higher per se because of nearby water, they are higher because the homes are far more expensive and because property taxes are based on home value assessment—they increase home prices increase.
In addition, local governments may impose higher taxes to fund the maintenance of beaches, infrastructure, and other services specific to coastal areas.
But that’s not the whole story.
According to a Time Magazine article, rising seas are poised to create a significant property tax challenge for coastal communities.
A land risk analysis by Climate Central projects that nearly 650,000 tax parcels encompassing 4.4 million acres could be affected by 2050.
The resulting loss of property tax revenue will strain government budgets, impacting public services such as education and emergency response.
Florida alone faces an estimated $7 billion in potential tax losses, with Texas and North Carolina each at around $5 billion.
Thus, while it’s not a direct one-to-one correlation yet, property taxes are looking to rise even higher beyond what they are today—already inflated.
(4) Less space, More Money
Coastal areas are often characterized by limited land availability and high demand.
If you’ve ever looked at coastal property, chances are there was very little land and the home was smaller for the money than inland homes.
“According to the new Knight Frank Global— Knight Frank
Waterfront Monitor, compiled by
valuations from our global network, prices
for prime waterfront properties are on
average 40% higher than comparable
In cities like San Diego, Miami, Naples, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle—prices are soaring for small condos.
If you’re looking for more space or a larger home, living near the coast may require a significant financial investment.
The cost of living, including rent or mortgage payments, can be considerably higher compared to inland areas.
If we look at a map of the United States that demonstrates the average cost of a home by location, you can see just how expensive the coast can be.
The Eastern Coast and Western Coast are very expensive compared to central U.S. States.
The lighter the blue, the cheaper and the darker the yellow, the more expensive.
(5) Tourists Can be a Problem
While tourism can bring economic benefits to coastal communities, it can also have drawbacks for residents.
We live in Florida, and we can tell you first hand, tourist season is almost the entire year, and it comes with challenges.
During peak tourist seasons, coastal areas may become overcrowded, making it challenging to find parking, access beaches, or enjoy local amenities.
The table below shows a rank of the states based on their popularity as tourist destinations. California, Florida, New York, Virginia, South Carolina, and Hawaii are coastal states among the top 10 most visited states.
Coastal cities are the most popular places to visit in the U.S.—so expect visitors.
Don’t even get me started on the traffic situation. Tourist driving can present some serious issues.
This isn’t exclusive to high traffic areas like New York, Florida, and California either. Places like coastal Oregon is also seeing huge traffic spikes during tourist seasons.
Additionally, the influx of tourists may lead to higher prices for goods and services, impacting the affordability and availability of certain amenities in the area.
Moving to the coast is a wonderful experience, and it comes with many positives.
However, depending on the area, it can also come with significant disadvantages.
When we moved to Florida, we had to make a decision—move to a coastal town and fulfill our lifelong dream or shift our mindset and move inland to protect our investment.
We decided to move to inland to Clermont, FL because it’s elevated, safe from hurricanes, has a great lake beach, and an easy drive to the coast.
We love our decision because we have a bigger home, a safe community, no worries about hurricanes or flooding, and we can reach amazing beaches in just 90 minutes.
Whatever your decision, we hope this article helped shine a light on positive and negatives when considering a move to the coast.