That's my old stomping grounds!!! I lived in Panama City for 10 years and still have family there. I'm pretty sure you can find a home in that price range. You said your boyfriend is already there? He can scout out neighborhoods and see which ones has the right feel. There are some older neighborhoods that are well established and worth dealing with older construction (the Cove, parts of St. Andrews). The neighborhood my aunt lives in has very expensive homes, doctors living there but she was able to afford a home there as a single mom because her home is not on the water and the others were. Use www.realtor.com
as a starting place, it's not a perfect website but can be very useful.
When I worked there the two major hospitals were Bay Medical Center and Gulf Coast Hospital. Gulf Coast has generally been private-for-profit and has been owned by folks like HCA & Columbia (not my favorite). BMC used to be a public hospital but is now private-not-for-profit associated with Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. I haven't worked there in a while so I missed that whole merger but I hear it was a good deal. There is a military hospital close-by (Tyndall AFB) but I don't know much about it.
One word of caution; They say once you get that sugar-white sand between your toes you are destined (cursed?) to always return. My husband and I will probably retire there or somewhere along the Emerald Coast.