10 Things To Know BEFORE Moving To Ocala, FL

December 11th, 2023

10 Things To Know BEFORE Moving To Ocala, FL

Living in Ocala, Florida

Are you considering moving to Ocala, Florida? Check out these ten things to know about living in Ocala.

Knowing a little about the area is essential when moving to a new town. Understanding what living in Ocala is like will help you determine whether this city is the right place for you. Overall, Ocala is a beautiful town located between Gainesville and Orlando

Ocala is part of Marion County and has a population of around 65,000 residents. It is a small city in the middle of Florida, but only two hours to the coast. People love calling Ocala home because of its weather, affordable cost of living, welcoming atmosphere, and more.

This small city has been rated in the top 20 places to retire, the top 10 places to live in Florida, and one of the safest places to live. Keep reading to learn more about why Ocala is a fantastic city.

Here are the ten things you should know about Ocala before relocating.


One of the most fascinating things about moving to a new area is learning how it came to be. Ocala is an old town, so it is full of exciting history

Ocala's earned its name from the extinct Timucuan tribe, who called their village Ocali, which means 'big hammock.' When driving around town, you will notice that most of Ocala's streets have historical Native American and some Spanish names.

The city was developed as a result of the American Indian Wars. It was officially named a town in 1846. When the city started to grow, a fire destroyed the town center. When it was being rebuilt, they used brick and fire-resistant materials, so Ocala has its nickname "Brick City."

Cost of Living

Finding an affordable city is ideal for some people. If you want to move to a reasonable area, Ocala is the place for you. The cost of living in this city is 8 percent lower than the state average and 7 percent lower than the national average.

Other factors that allow Ocala to be inexpensive are:

  • Housing costs are 13 percent less than the state average and 10 percent less than the national average.
  • Utility prices are 10 percent lower than the state average and 8 percent lower than the national average.
  • Food costs are 8 percent lower than the state average and 4 percent lower than the national average.
  • Goods and services are 6 percent cheaper than the state average and 8 percent more affordable than the national average.

downtown Ocala, roads, daytime, clear sky, cars, buildings

On the flip side, Ocala does have some expenses that are pricier than compared to the national and state averages.

  • Healthcare in Ocala is 3 percent higher than the state average but 1 percent lower than the national average.
  • Transportation costs are 1 percent higher than the state average but are the same as the national average.

Check out this guide for more information about the cost of living in Ocala.

Real Estate

With the housing costs, including renting or buying, being significantly lower than the state and national averages, this is a great city to live in. For that very reason, housing costs can be the most expensive expense for most American households. 

Ocala's real estate market is currently a seller's market, meaning that homes tend to sell for more and faster. The median sold price for a home in this city is $274,801, around $171 per square foot. This is a 12.5 percent increase since April of last year. However, more than half of the homes sold were sold under the asking price and only a tiny percentage sold for more.

florida home neighborhood luxury middle class palm trees

In this small city, you will find a wide variety of homes. Ocala has luxury neighborhoodsaffordable condos, new construction homes, and tons of single-family homes that are currently for sale.

Believe it or not, more people rent their homes in Ocala than own. The average rent for an apartment that is 1,054 square feet is around $1,500 a month. Most rental properties in Ocala have monthly rent averages of anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000. Depending on where you live, the type of community, features, and more will determine how much your rent will be.

Ocala is known to have some of the best neighborhoods

Job Market

When relocating to a new area, finding a job tends to be stressful. However, if you are moving to Ocala, Florida, you are in luck. The job market in this city is flourishing. 

Forbes magazine named the Ocala MSA to the Top 10 Metros for Future Job Growth for five years. The Ocala Metro area has been ranked as the top-growing metro in Florida for transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, and professional services.

Ocala, Florida, has seen a job market increase of 2.3 percent over the last year. Future job growth is expected to be around 37.6 percent in the next ten years, higher than the national average of 33.5 percent.

On the downside, the median household income of an Ocala resident is about $37,400 a year. This is significantly lower than the national average of around $53,400 annually. 


The education systems in Ocala are decent compared to those of other surrounding areas. More than half (around 88 percent) of students that attend K-12 in Marion County are educated in public schools. There are nearly 200 schools total in this school district

  • 148 Preschools
  • 77 Elementary Schools
  • 52 Middle Schools
  • 43 High Schools
  • 3 Public Charter Schools
  • 155 Private Schools

Here are some of the top-ranked public schools in the district.

Elementary School Middle School High School
Madison Street Academy of Visual and Performing Arts Osceola Middle School Forest High School


The main reason most people relocate to Florida is the fantastic weather. Florida is warm, sunny, and beautiful for more than half the year. The state of Florida gets a lot of rain, so the air is moist most of the time, causing tons of humidity.

Regarding Ocala weather, summers are long, hot, and somewhat cloudy, and the winters are short, calm, and overcast. Temperatures throughout the year vary, with the lowest being 45 degrees and the highest being 90 degrees. Very rarely will you see the weather in Ocala go below or above those averages.

A great thing about Ocala is that because it is located in the middle of Florida, it has a low hurricane, flood, and tropical storm risk. 

Ocala roads trees oak canopy

Crime Rate

Another reason people relocate to Ocala, Florida, is because their crime rate is lower than the national average. As mentioned, Ocala is one of the safest cities in Florida. According to the U.S. News and World Report, violent and property crime rates are extremely low, so a resident becoming a victim of one of those crimes is uncommon.

No matter how safe an area is, you must be constantly looking out for your safety. Take all the security measures you need to feel and be safe in your home or public.


One of the best parts about moving to a new city is visiting and trying all the new restaurants. Ocala, Florida, has many delicious restaurants ranging from different cuisines, prices, atmospheres, etc. Here are some of our favorite restaurants in Ocala.

  • Ivy on the Square: This restaurant serves Southern-inspired cuisine in an elegant restaurant in a circa-1890 building.
  • Braised Onion: This American restaurant is a casual space with vibrant artwork. They serve comfort foods like meatloaf and chicken pot pie.
  • Brick City Southern Kitchen and Whiskey Bar: This barbecue restaurant is airy and low-key. They serve barbecue meats, sides, and a full bar of craft cocktails and whiskey.
  • Brooklyn's Backyard: This restaurant is a backyard-themed pub that serves American grub and craft brews. It has indoor turf, patio tables, and a tiki bar.
  • Tony's Sushi: A popular restaurant that features classic sushi rolls, Japanese dishes, and hibachi meals in a casual setting.

Things To Do

Ocala, Florida, is full of fun, family-friendly activities. One of the top tourist attractions in Ocala is  Silver Springs State Park. You will see the crystal-clear springs, tons of nature, and much history dating back to the 1930s. You can camp or even enjoy scenic glass-bottom boat tours.

For those who don't know, Ocala is located right next to the Ocala National Forest, which covers over 383,000 acres. This forest is a sanctuary for a variety of wildlife. It is the perfect spot for hiking, camping, fishing, or boating with friends and family.

If you love horses, you should check out Horse Country. Here, you will find over 300 thoroughbred horse farms, and it is one of the most prominent horse-breeding destinations in the world.

There are many other fun things to do throughout Ocala. Tons of shopping and attractions are located throughout the city. You can even spend an entire day walking around downtown Ocala.

Juniper Springs in Ocala National Forest crystal clear waters

Southern Charm and Small Town Feel

Since Ocala is a city that has only 65,000 residents, it boasts both a slight town feel and an authentic southern charm. You will see beautiful large oak trees, elegant moss, and many estates and green spaces within the city. With the downtown area and the beautiful historic district, you will experience true beauty here. 

This city is a very walkable area and is known for the historic homes and town square it offers the residents. Moving to Ocala may be perfect for you if you are looking to move somewhere near many bigger cities but still want peace. Do not miss out on the natural beauty of this city. 

Greenery and Trees throughout Ocala FL

Pros and Cons of Living in Ocala, Florida


  • Affordable cost of living
  • A small town located between two larger cities
  • Amazing weather
  • Only two hours from the coast
  • Incredible housing costs for those looking to live somewhere inexpensive
  • No risk of hurricanes
  • A super healthy job market that keeps on growing
  • Tons of family-friendly activities throughout the town
  • Many delicious dining options


  • Healthcare is on the pricier side
  • Transportation costs are more expensive than the state's average
  • The weather is, more times than not, super humid
  • Educational systems are not the best 
  • The median household income in Ocala is significantly less than the national average


Here are some frequently asked questions about living in Ocala, Florida.

Is Ocala, Florida, an excellent place to move to?

Yes, Ocala is a great place to relocate to. This city was rated in the top 20 places to retire, the top 10 places to live in Florida, and one of the 10 safest places to live. Ocala, Florida, has so much to offer its residents and is a great place to relocate to in Florida. 

Why are so many people moving to Ocala?

People are moving to Ocala daily because of its great weather, proximity to the coast, affordable cost of living, welcoming atmosphere, tons of natural areas and forests to visit, healthy job market, and more. Anything you can't find in Ocala, you are just a short distance to two major cities in Florida. 

Is it expensive to live in Ocala?

As mentioned above in this guide's cost of living section, Ocala is significantly cheaper than the national average. Everything in Ocala costs less than the national average except for several factors. 

If you want to move to an affordable city in a great location, Ocala is the place for you. 

Moving to Ocala - Our Last Words

When deciding which area to relocate to, whether for a job, family, or just because you want to, learning about what life is like in that area is ideal. Knowing what to expect from a city can help ease the stress of moving. 

Ocala has been a great place for families and retirees to move to for a while now. It has an affordable cost of living, low housing costs, inexpensive utility rates, a healthy job market, great weather, and is only two hours from the beach. What more could you ask for?

If you are considering relocating to Ocala, Florida, contact us to speak with a real estate professional for further guidance on Florida's buying and selling process.

Find your new home Search real estate and homes for sale
Share this post
Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.

Related Blogs

11 Best Neighborhoods in Ocala, FL
11 Best Neighborhoods in Ocala, FL

Are you relocating to Ocala, Florida and are wondering what the best neighborhoods are? Check out Devonshire, Whisper Crest, and Oak Run.

December 11th, 2023

20 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Florida | Living in Florida
20 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Florida | Living in Florida

Are you moving to Florida? Everyone seems to be relocating to the sunshine state. Here is why people love living in Florida!

November 28th, 2023

Cost of Living in Ocala, FL
Cost of Living in Ocala, FL

Cost of Living in Ocala, FL Are you wondering how much it will cost you to live in Ocala, Florida? Here are the critical factors determining how much it will cost to live in Ocala, like housing costs...

May 26th, 2023

10 Best Restaurants in Ocala, FL
10 Best Restaurants in Ocala, FL

Places to Eat in Ocala, Florida Are you looking for the perfect place to eat in Ocala with your friends and family? Check out these ten best restaurants located right here in Ocala, Florida. When mo...

May 26th, 2023