Living on the coast doesn’t have to be a fantasy reserved only for the wealthiest. If you’ve ever wished you could just pack up and head to the beach instead of staring out at the same dreary cityscape, perhaps that dream could become a reality.
Not only are there East Coast cities where living is affordable, but the new move toward working from home also makes changing cities while keeping your job more accessible than ever before.
America’s East Coast can be expensive; however, there are still cities where the property prices are lower. Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina boast beachfront towns with well-priced properties and a high livability score. Jacksonville and Myrtle Beach have affordable beachfront property areas.
Times have changed drastically in 2020 and 2021, but it needn’t all be bad. Thanks to the rise of work from home systems and software like Zoom, more people are finding they can work remotely. It might be time to review that far-away dream of life on the coast and waking up to the sound of waves and gulls and having a look at the affordability of East Coast beach houses.
Affordable Beach Towns East Coast To Live
Finding the most affordable city or town for a beach home on the East Coast is down to more than just property prices, so it’s impossible to pick a single One-Size-Fits-All Town. Depending on your line of work — whether you can work remotely or switch jobs — will also factor into your options when looking at the best, most affordable East Coast town for you.
You should factor in the average cost of living in that state or area and how that fits your lifestyle and budget.
Some towns may appear a better option on paper, but things like safety, commute, and job scarcity may influence you to choose a city with a higher cost of living or more expensive properties.
And the town you choose to make your home has to suit you and your family. I’m going to run through several options of affordable East Coast towns. In general, the further north you go, the more expensive the towns will become.
Fort Pierce, Florida
Situated about an hour’s drive north of West Palm Beach, Fort Pierce is a small city with 13 neighborhoods. There are many groceries and other amenities available and coffee shops, restaurants, and cultural activities. Fort Pierce, located on the Indian River Lagoon, is known for its excellent fishing and beautiful beaches.
The median home price listing is $255k, and the median income for a family in Fort Pierce is $35,198, and as a port city, the harbor sees a high volume of commerce.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Known for its boardwalks, casinos, and beaches, Atlantic City is the place to choose if you want the high life within a short distance of some of the most beautiful stretches of coastline along the Jersey Shore. There are many long white beaches, some quite hidden and far from the crowds of the boardwalks and the main beaches.
The median income for a family in Atlantic City is $29,232, with a median house listing price of $179.9k. However, unemployment is high, so this may be a better bet for those who can work remotely.
Swansboro, North Carolina
Known as the ‘The Friendly City by the Sea,’ Swansboro has a small population, and the historic town was the setting for Nicholas Spark’s novel The Guardian. Despite its small size, this quaint town boasts many small businesses and eateries and offers plenty of water sports from the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches are long strands of white sand, offering perfect coastal views.
Due to its small size, Swansboro will best suit those working remotely or in the tourism industry. The median household income in Swansboro is $48,922. The median house price listing is $235k, but there are small gems to be found in this delightful town.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
A famous tourist destination that attracts millions to its beaches and golf courses, Myrtle Beach is one of the fastest-growing cities in the US. There’s still a chance to grab a relatively affordable property here and relocate to this subtropical city with its miles of azure coastline. Especially attractive to avid golfers, Myrtle Beach boasts 85 golf courses.
Due to its attraction as a tourism center, much of the economy relies on tourism. Work in that sector is constantly rising with the influx of more than 20 million visitors each year. While beachfront properties are premium, the median house price listing for Myrtle Beach is $250k, while the median household income is $43,200.
If small and quaint is not your style, Jacksonville, with its vast area and large population, might be more your pace. Jacksonville offers all the big city comforts and cultural entertainment, a growing craft beer scene, and the most extensive urban park system in the US, as well as coastal zones.
The ‘River City by the Sea’ has a network of waterways and canals, as well as long stretches of stunning coastline. As a leading port, the headquarters of four Fortune 500 companies, and a banking industry legacy, Jacksonville’s median household income is $54,701.
Jacksonville’s booming city will suit those who want access to some beautiful stretches of coastal areas but need to have an urban playground and a travel hub on their doorstep. For those working in finance, this city may be the best choice.
Ocean Springs, Mississippi
Situated on the eastern shore of Biloxi Bay, Ocean Springs has a reputation as a historic town with a vibrant and eclectic arts community. The stunning gulf coast area is well known for its beauty, and Coastal Living voted ocean Springs as one of the 10 Happiest Seaside Towns in 2015. Ocean Springs has several arts festivals, many restaurants, and artists’ studios such as Shearwater Pottery tucked away.
Boasting a population of roughly 17,000 people and a median household income of $58,713, this town still offers affordable housing. The current median house listing price is $210k.
Dominated by the Biloxi bay Bridge, Ocean Spring’s stunning Front Beach stretches to Ocean Springs Harbor and provides extended areas of white sands, fishing piers, and gorgeous views of the gulf.
Whether you’re looking for a quaint seaside town tucked away with hidden, unspoiled beaches or a booming coastal city with access to all your cultural, travel, and entertainment needs, there’s a place waiting for you. If you can telecommute or work remotely, you can easily access towns and cities that might have seemed impossible dreams. A good idea to find remoter, less expensive properties is to look in the areas surrounding these towns and find your own hidden East Coast gems.