DataLifestyle

Community spotlight: Fort Lauderdale

Local culture, climate and job growth appeals to lifestyle-focused families, retirees and everyone in between
  • Fort Lauderdale is called the "Venice of America" thanks to its 300 miles of Intracoastal waterways and numerous canals.
  • Redfin reports the median list price in Fort Lauderdale at $400,000, with a median sales price of $279,000.
  • Virginia Shuman Young Elementary is the highest-rated public school in Fort Lauderdale, with a GreatSchools score of 10.

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Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale Beach / Flickr user Daniel Dudek

Fort Lauderdale, once primarily a Spring Break destination turned international vacation hotspot, is now one of the biggest home markets in South Florida.

Nearly 5.5 million people soaked up the sun across 23 miles of beaches in Fort Lauderdale over the past year, according to the local government. Beyond a bustling hospitality industry, the city itself is home to 176,013 residents, according to the local government, and is part of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale- Miami Beach metro area.

For professionals, the Fort Lauderdale area private-sector industry added over 33,000 jobs in the past year, per a release from Gov. Rick Scott, bringing the unemployment rate down to 4.6 percent in August.

The “Venice of America” – nicknamed for over 300 miles of intracoastal waterways and numerous canals – offers more than a warm climate and scenic coastline. Art museums, notable landmarks, theatre performances, high-end retail and nature centers draw 14 million tourists to Greater Fort Lauderdale each year, who spend a collective $11.4 billion on travel, goods and services, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Although often compared to sister city Miami, situated just 30 miles to the south, Fort Lauderdale is in a world of its own.

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Fort Lauderdale satisfies a variety of tastes

You don’t have to be yacht owner to live in Fort Lauderdale, but there’s certainly room for those who fit the bill. Numerous residents own yachts and sailboats housed across over 100 marinas and boatyards in the area, many of which are showcased in the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. This year marks the 57th anniversary of the aquatic event, and organizers estimate more than $3 billion worth of boats, cars and electronics to be showcased throughout the first weekend of November.

Fort Lauderdale

The Strip / Flickr user Wally Gobetz

When you’re looking to stay dry, the thriving and vivacious entertainment district along Las Olas Boulevard is a must. Stretching approximately 10 blocks from the coast to the center of downtown, Las Olas features over 30 dining options, 75 fashion and gift boutiques, 12 international art galleries and three museums.

For nature lovers, the nearby Everglades offers airboat rides, wildlife sightings and the largest butterfly aviary in North America. Residents of Fort Lauderdale are only an hour drive from the Everglades National Park to the south.

Tropical lifestyle at an affordable price?

According to Redfin data, Fort Lauderdale’s median list price is currently $400,000, with a median price per square foot of $274. Over the past month, Redfin pegs the median sale price lower at $279,000, with sellers receiving 95.7 percent of asking price on average.

Compared to September of last year, the cost of real estate in Fort Lauderdale increased 23 percent while inventory declined 2.3 percent year-over-year, Redfin says.

GreatSchools data puts Virginia Shuman Young Elementary School as the highest-rated public elementary facility in the city. Among public middle schools, William Dandy receives a six out of 10 as the highest-ranked institution in the category.

Fort Lauderdale High School, where over 2,000 students are enrolled, holds a score of seven out of 10, while City/Pembroke Pines Charter High School (grades 6-12) is rated a 10. The average rating across all schools in Fort Lauderdale, based on test results, scores a 5 out of 10.

Email Jennifer Riner