The Pros And Cons Of Living In Pensacola

Homebuyer tips
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Written by

Andrei Geist

Published date:

Updated: Feb 29, 2024 by

aerial view of pansacola during summerChoosing a new place to live can be an exciting opportunity brimming with endless possibilities. Whether you’re pursuing a career leap, educational advancement, or simply seeking a fresh start, the decision to relocate brings with it a sense of adventure and new beginnings.

 

If you are pondering this idea, and Pensacola is on your list of potential home locations, then you’re in luck. To help you make sense of all the factors that must be considered, we’ve put together this handy list that will make the decision-making process a whole lot easier.

 

In this article, we’ll look at the major pros and cons you must consider before you take the leap and purchase a home in Pensacola. No city is a perfect match for everyone, and Pensacola is undoubtedly no exception. Home buyers have various expectations and requirements when it comes to choosing a home, so all we can do is give you the facts and let you deal with them as you wish. So, sit back, relax, and let’s delve into the pros and cons of living in Pensacola, Florida!

 

Just a heads-up: we put a lot of effort into putting together this list. We went through hundreds of reviews and information about Pensacola, to ensure it’s as accurate and fair as possible.  Our goal is to give you a genuine and unbiased view of the place based on what locals and other reliable sources have to say. We truly wanted to capture Pensacola's true essence by considering various factors and statistics.

 

                              PROS


  • Excellent employment opportunities
  • Great housing market
  • Good school districts
  • Stunning beaches
  • Plenty of things to do
  • Cost of living

                              CONS


  • High crime rates
  • Vulnerability to inclement weather
  • Local Government performance
  • Traffic congestion
  • Hot summers
  • Public transportation

Pros of living in Pensacola, Florida

Beginning with a positive outlook is always a great approach, so let’s kick off our exploration of what makes Pensacola, FL, such a desirable place to live.

 

1. Excellent Employment Opportunities 

group of diverse people waiting for job interviewAs the subheading indicates, one of the most attractive benefits of living in Pensacola, FL, is the excellent job market. As cities go, Pensacola, located in Escambia County, is smaller, with only 53,700 residents in 2024. However, the Naval Air Station, for which Pensacola is best known, offers ample job opportunities for job seekers and an attractive civilian job market. 

 

The Naval Air Station offers many positions for unskilled workers, many of which offer the chance to develop new skills and excellent upward mobility and benefits. These positions come in all shapes and sizes, but many require no previous experience or formal training, thus making them perfect for ambitious blue-collar workers. 

 

There are plenty of job opportunities for those with certifications and formal education. Those with degrees in medicine, law, engineering, business, and other similar professions should be able to find employment easily. Merchants are also in high demand, so if you are a welder, construction expert, electrician, or other similarly trained professional, your chances are also good. Also, the city provides many jobs that can be done remotely

 

2. Great Housing Market

arrow many houses growth real estatePensacola is home to a red-hot, surprisingly accessible housing market that offers ample opportunities for low-risk investment. This makes it a very attractive destination for those with a limited housing budget. 

 

The average cost of a home in Pensacola is significantly below the national and state median, at just $295,000 in December 2023. While there is a bit of variation above and below this figure depending on location and number of rooms, home buyers can find housing at this price point. If you are on a limited budget, consider contacting one of the top real estate agents in Pensacola and checking out some of these low-priced homes. 

 

Despite the low median home cost, Pensacola’s real estate market is appreciating. According to Zillow, home values have risen by more than 10% in the last year and are slated to increase even further in the years to come. By April 2024, the home value index is expected to have increased from $296,350 in April 2023 to $316,798.15 by April 2024. This is mainly due to the steady demand for housing created by the nearby Pensacola Naval Air Station, which guarantees investors a reliable market. 

 

3. Good School Districts

portrait smiling little school kidsAnother compelling reason for families to live in Pensacola is its excellent public school system. Pensacola is home to an impressive public education system that consistently ranks above average by many metrics. 

 

Elementary schools in Pensacola are among the best in the state, ranking in the same class as other cities with higher public education budgets. Class sizes are small, average grades are high, and standardized test scores are above average. As measured by these metrics, middle and high school performance is slightly less illustrious but remains within or above the national averages nonetheless. 

 

In the Escambia County School District, which serves Pensacola, almost half of the elementary students performed at or above the proficient level in reading and math, with 45% achieving proficiency in each subject. For middle school students, 35% reached proficiency in reading and 32% in math. In high school, 43% of students showed proficiency in reading, while 30% reached that level in math. 

 

Regarding high school statistics:

 

  • College readiness stands at 25.3%;
  • The graduation rate is 81.7%. 

 

4. Stunning beaches

Pensacola isn’t just another city with nice beaches - it’s a coastal paradise that stands out for its breathtaking shores. Seriously, we’re not exaggerating here. Some of the most jaw-dropping beaches in the Sunshine State, and maybe even the whole country, are here in Pensacola. 

 

Imagine stretches of pristine white sand beaches meeting the sparkling emerald waters - it’s like stepping into a dreamy vacation postcard. Pensacola’s beaches embody the perfect mix of laid-back vibes and natural beauty that every beach lover dreams of. 

 

And the best part? Most of these stunning beaches won’t cost you a penny, and parking is often free, too! So whether you’re kicking back at Perdido Key Beach, soaking up the sunshine at Opal Beach, or exploring the charms of Pensacola Beach, each spot offers its slice of coastal bliss that’s bound to make your getaway unforgettable. 

 

5. Plenty of things to do

big lagoon state park pensacolaThere’s something for everyone to enjoy in Pensacola! Whether you’re a sun worshipper, a nature lover who enjoys walks in the park, or someone fascinated by history, Pensacola has got you covered. 

 

Sure, Pensacola’s known for its stunning beaches, but did you know it also has some fantastic freshwater rivers and creeks perfect for fishing and kayaking? What about the parks? There’s Big Lagoon State Park, Aragon Park, Bayview Park, Bay Bluffs Park…the list goes on and on! These spots are just perfect for relaxing and spending quality time with family.  

 

And let’s not forget about the fantastic museums you can explore. At Historic Pensacola Village, you can dive into 28 museums and historic buildings from colonial times to World War II. Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum offers breathtaking views of the city. And there’s the National Naval Aviation Museum, which happens to be the world’s largest museum of its kind.  

 

So, you see, boredom isn’t even in Pensacola’s vocabulary. There’s just so much to do in this beautiful city. 

 

6. Cost of living

Based on insights from Rentcafe.com, living in Pensacola, FL, offers some significant cost advantages. Compared to the state and national averages, expenses in Pensacola come in around 6% and 5% lower, respectively. 

 

Breaking it down further, housing costs stand out as a steal, being 9% cheaper than the national average. However, utility bills run slightly higher, about 17% more than the national average. For everyday essentials, Pensacola keeps things wallet-friendly. Groceries are about 7% cheaper compared to the rest of the country, and clothing costs also enjoy a similar 7% markdown. 

 

When it comes to healthcare, Pensacola residents catch a break, with costs running 10% below the national average for services like doctor visits and dental care. And for leisure and self-care, Pensacola continues to be a bargain. Entertainment and grooming services come at a 7% discount compared to the national average, offering fun and savings for residents. 

 

Given the low cost of living, Pensacola is an excellent place to live for families, young professionals starting their careers, and snowbirds looking to enjoy their golden years. Please note that the information about the cost of living is for 2023, and things might change based on several factors in the near future.  Now, onto the not-so-great stuff. 

 

Cons of living in Pensacola, Florida

By now, you must have an idea of the sunny side of living in Pensacola. But to really make an informed decision about moving to the city, you must also be aware of the drawbacks. Here are the main cons: 

 

1. High Crime Rates

handcuffs on fingerprintsWhile the excellent job opportunities may make living in Pensacola, FL, highly attractive to ambitious young professionals and employment seekers, the high local crime rates may cause those with families to pause. Despite its relatively small size, Pensacola has some of the highest crime rates in the state, with numbers comparable to those of cities with much larger populations. 

 

According to statistics from 2023, violent and property crimes are significant issues while living in Pensacola, FL. The overall crime rate of 3,522 occurrences per 100,000 residents per year is higher than the national average of 2,346 per 100,000 residents. Property crime rates are the worst. An average of 366.84 property crimes occur per 1,000 residents yearly in Pensacola. 

 

It’s worth noting that your risk of becoming the victim of this type of crime can be significantly reduced by taking appropriate crime-stopping measures. Property crime is the most prevalent type in Pensacola, so fitting your home with a good home security system is a great place to start. 

 

2. Vulnerability to Inclement Weather

While it would be unfair to Pensacola to say that the city is in greater danger from hurricanes than any other city in the Florida panhandle, the fact is that Pensacola is vulnerable to hurricanes and other types of inclement weather. With its location in northwestern Florida, Pensacola is often in the path of the severe weather systems that form in the Atlantic Ocean and regularly experiences the adverse effects of these events. 

 

The good news is that, as is the case regarding the higher crime rates, preventative measures can significantly limit any personal risk and damage. Choosing a properly constructed home with sufficient hurricane protection, ensuring the home is above the flood line, and faithfully observing mandatory evacuation orders can help prevent unfortunate consequences. Also, we strongly recommend having property insurance; it helps mitigate the financial burden of repairing or rebuilding damaged property. 

 

3. Local Government Performance

town hall front viewWhile Pensacola excels in many categories, its reputation for public works is far less impressive. Residents of Pensacola are very vocal about what they believe to be mismanagement of the city’s already limited budget. Due to the lack of state income tax, the city’s funding is severely limited, leading to several shortcomings that are most often attributed to the local government. 

 

Frequent complaints include inadequate public works, such as parks, playgrounds, libraries, and other city amenities, inadequate sanitation programs like street cleaning and recycling, and a general lack of public recreational amenities. If you aren’t particularly concerned with city image and public amenities, this shouldn't be too much of a sticking point. 

 

4. Traffic congestion

It’s pretty remarkable how congested the streets of this city can get, especially considering its relatively small size. Although quaint in its dimensions, the Pensacola area is situated along a vital thoroughfare, making commuting a bit of a headache, particularly during rush hours. It’s rather astonishing, really, that this city ranks 43rd among all US cities when it comes to traffic congestion levels. So, if you’re pondering the idea of moving to Pensacola, you might want to brace yourself for some serious gridlock and those all-too-familiar traffic snarls that can test even the most patient drivers.   

 

5. Hot summers

close up thermometer on sandSummers in this city can really turn up the heat, and if you’re not a fan of sweltering temperatures, it’s worth giving some serious thought before making the move. You see, Pensacola’s location near the Gulf Coast means it gets hit with some seriously scorching weather, and for folks who aren’t used to that kind of heat, adjusting to life here can be a real challenge.

 

Picture this: July rolls around, and it’s like stepping into an oven. The average temperature? A blistering 90.1°F. That’s not just warm - that’s downright hot! And it’s not just July; the entire summer season here can feel like a never-ending heatwave. 

 

So, if you’re thinking about moving to Pensacola, make sure you come prepared. Invest in some high-quality sunscreen, stock up on plenty of water, and maybe even consider getting yourself a good portable fan. Because when summer rolls around in this city, you’ll need all the help you can get to stay cool.   

 

6. Public transportation

We can confidently say that Pensacola, unfortunately, doesn’t rank among the cities with the best public transportation. While there are transportation options available, they’re not very dependable. This means most people rely on their cars to get around the city. Whether going to work, running errands, or exploring the area, driving is simply the most practical and efficient choice for getting things done quickly and easily in Pensacola. 

 

Conclusion

Pensacola could be just the spot for you! Sure, like any place, it has its ups and downs, but for many folks, myself included, it’s a top pick for putting down roots. With its solid job market, affordable housing, and excellent schools, Pensacola has much to offer those willing to overlook its quirks. 

 

If you’ve made the call to make Pensacola your home sweet home, your next move should be reaching out to one of the city’s skilled real estate agents. They know this place like the back of their hand and can hook you up with a great deal on the perfect pad. Who knows? You might be unpacking boxes in Pensacola before you know it. 

 

Did you find this article helpful? Got any burning questions or feedback? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments below! We’re all about making sure you have the best reading experience possible, so your input means the world to us. Here’s to soaking up the Pensacola vibe!

Comments for The Pros And Cons Of Living In Pensacola

Tom Schiraldi Tom Schiraldi said:

Where is the “ flood line” of Pensacola

Apr 06, 2022  22:45:05

 
Real Estate Agent

Hey Tom! Thank you for reaching out to us. Regarding the flood line of Pensacola, Florida, the situation is a bit more complicated than just a line drawn in the sand. Seeing as the city of Pensacola, FL, meets the Pensacola Bay to the East and South, and the Bayou Texar passes through the middle of the city, some areas are more exposed to flooding than others. The south of the city is also bordered by Bayou Chico, where there is also a greater chance of flooding.

What we can say is that, overall, the city of Pensacola, Florida is at a major risk of flooding over the next 30 years, with all types of flooding (residential, roads, commercial, infrastructure, and social) increasing in the future. The areas that are closest to water bodies are at extreme or severe risk of flooding as water levels are expected to rise due to climate change and melt polar caps. For instance, areas north of W Garden Street are at a lower risk, but that risk increases if they are at a low altitude. Because of this, there are other small areas at a higher risk, such as the intersection between E Texar Drive and N 9th Avenue.

We advise you to check authorized, and more updated information as tie passes as this data can change from time to time.

Apr 14, 2022  08:30:03
 
Mandy Mandy said:

I want to rent my house

Aug 10, 2021  23:32:06

 
Real Estate Agent

Hi Mandy, 

Sounds Great!! I will need a little bit more information. Where is the home? How many bed/bath? How much are you renting it for? When are you going to start renting? 

 

Your information email/ phone/ last name? 

Thank you 

Aug 11, 2021  09:21:44
 
 
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