Living in West Palm Beach: Neighborhoods, Cost of Living & More

Are you considering living in West Palm Beach, FL? Not sure what neighborhoods to look into, what the cost of living is like, what kind of social activities are available, and other locals-only knowledge?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Today, you’ll get an insider’s scoop on West Palm Beach, one of South Florida’s greatest gems.

Palm Beach County & West Palm Beach Overview

One thing you have to understand about living in West Palm Beach is that everyone in Palm Beach County tends to say they live in “West Palm Beach” (other than people from Palm Beach Island). So, neighboring, and lesser-known cities like Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, or North Palm Beach are often lumped into the name although they are not truly West Palm Beach.

West Palm Beach is Palm Beach County’s capital city and thus has some of the most well-established real estate and social opportunities. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can focus on living in West Palm Beach and the real estate opportunities available to you.

Best Places to Live in West Palm Beach

There are really two types of living options in West Palm Beach:

  1. Condo living in the downtown area
  2. Single family home living in nearby neighborhoods

For those of you into condo life, West Palm Beach has a ton of condo options nestled in the heart of the city. Many of these condos also have intracoastal views of beautiful Flagler Drive, making them great places to live and work.

With just shy of 30 different condos to choose from in the area, there is truly something for everyone. From brand spanking new, ultra luxury condos such as the Bristol, to amazing two-story lofts next to everything downtown has to offer, to shopping-centric condos next to Rosemary Square (formerly known as CityPlace), there are amenities, locations, prices, and views for everyone’s palate.

Bristol condo in West Palm Beach

On the other hand, if you are into living in your own home, West Palm Beach has some of the most sought after real estate north of Miami. For our personal roundup of the best neighborhoods in West Palm Beach, check out this post we recently published.

Due to the influence of Henry Flager in the early 1900s, many prominent architects came to the area to cater to the new influx of wealth. While much of this wealth was showcased on Palm Beach Island, there are several neighborhoods in West Palm Beach with historic homes, exceptional waterfront views, big properties, and luxury living.

Some of our favorites include neighborhoods just south and southwest of downtown, El Cid and Flamingo Park, respectively. Just north of downtown West Palm Beach lies another gem in Northwood, an architecturally significant area with a mini downtown of its own. Another top pick for homeowners is the Southend. This area is a few miles south of the hustle and bustle of downtown and is known as a great place for families.

El Cid WPB
A signpost in the historic El Cid neighborhood

All of these neighborhoods are in close proximity to shopping, top-rated schools, and of course, Palm Beach International Airport.

Cost of Living in West Palm Beach

According to the cost of living data from Area Vibes, the cost of living index of West Palm Beach is 6% higher than the average of Florida and 5% higher than the national average. The area’s housing and transportation index are 10% and 13% higher than the national average, respectively.

As a native to the area, I can tell you that the neighborhoods mentioned above are definitely on the higher end of the real estate spectrum. These neighborhoods are located in close proximity to the intracoastal and the ocean, making them much more desirable than western neighborhoods and therefore more expensive.

If you are buying a home in the eastern portion of West Palm Beach, expect to pay, at least, $400,000 for the most modest of homes and upwards of $1 million for larger homes.

Moving to West Palm Beach

So what makes living in West Palm Beach so desirable? Here are five top reasons to move to West Palm Beach:

  1. No state income tax

Florida is one of the few states in the nation that does not have a state income tax. This can result in substantial savings for your wallet and retirement.

  1. Strong job market

With an international airport, a strong tourism market, close proximity to Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, and a strong tech hub, West Palm Beach boasts one of the better job markets in Florida.

  1. Social activities galore

SunFest, Moonfest, culinary events, Green Markets, world-class musicals and concerts, boat shows, art festivals, and water everywhere make West Palm Beach a top destination to live, work, and play.

  1. Accessibility

West Palm Beach has its own international airport, is 45 minutes from Ft. Lauderdale International Airport and about an hour from Miami International Airport. It also has several smaller airports for private plane charters. From any of these airports you can easily access the Bahamas, Central America, and South America, or most major cities in the country. We are also about 2.5 hours from Orlando, allowing those with a love of Disney or theme parks an exciting weekend destination.

  1. Climate

November to May is probably the best time to be a South Floridian. Because of our proximity to the Gulfstream, we never really get any cold weather. Expect cool nights and daily averages in the 70’s during these times of year the rest of the country is blanketed in snow.

Planning Your Move to West Palm Beach

If you have West Palm Beach on your list as a top place to live contact the real estate professionals at LiveWPB for an insider’s scoop of our little paradise and an emphasis on getting you exactly what you need. We have an intimate knowledge of each condo and neighborhood and can help you find your dream home today.