New Yorkers, Californians flock to Sunshine State, bringing higher rents

Airplane in Florida
In Florida's top metros, rents have risen by 24% to 32% in a year. Usually, rents swing by about 1% or 2% per year.

New Yorkers and Californians are flocking to the Sunshine State, with Florida reporting the largest year-to-year increase in net migration among all U.S. states, according to a new data report from moveBuddha.

The report used a combination of U.S. Census Bureau data and moveBuddha proprietary data, as well as Zillow’s Home Value Index and Florida Housing Data.

In 2020, 167 people moved into Florida for every 100 who left. In 2021, that number surged to 210 inbound residents for every 100 who left, meaning more than twice as many people moved into the state than left it.

In 2022, the surge is so far being led by Californians and New Yorkers — each state represented, respectively, 10% of inbound moves to Florida as of early 2022, or about 20% collectively. Following New York and California, individuals from Illinois (6.8%), New Jersey (5.9%) and Pennsylvania (5.4%) also make up a large percentage of new settlers, according to the report.

So, why are people moving to Florida? 

While there is not one direct answer, the report provides several reasons why individuals may be choosing Florida over other states to settle down in.

As far as expenses, California, New York and Illinois are all in the top 10 for state income tax, while Florida boasts no state income tax at all, as well as lower property taxes. Next week, state legislators are set to meet for a Special Session on property insurance in hopes of clearing policy to stabilize Florida’s skyrocketing property insurance market, another effort to decrease costs for residents.

It’s also no surprise the Sunshine State has become a hub for retirees to spend their golden years — Florida has the second-largest percentage of 65+ residents out of all the states, second only to Maine. And, families of Florida seniors also can benefit from their residency after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a policy that waives out-of-state tuition at some universities for grandchildren of Floridians.

Florida also is booming in the tech industry, attracting more tech companies than any other state in 2021 — 2,715 new businesses totaling 10,522 jobs.

And then of course, there’s the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to an influx in remote working conditions, leading some to move based on destination rather than work location.

On the more political side, some newcomers to the state may find appeal in the lack of COVID-19 restrictions. DeSantis has been a vocal critic of strict mitigation measures, staunchly opposing mask and vaccine mandates throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 struck Florida in March 2020 as lawmakers were wrapping the final weeks of that year’s Legislative Session.

However, his response to the pandemic has been criticized by others, who saw the Governor’s position as too lax during the pandemic’s peak. More than 74,000 individuals have died from COVID-19 in Florida.

Outside of money and politics, there is of course the reason the peninsula earned its nickname “The Sunshine State” — the coastal climate of Florida, while hot in the summer, cannot be beat. The tropical weather, year-round sunshine and mild winters make the state a haven for those used to harsh snows up North. It’s also the reason many Floridians taunt: “We live where you vacation.”

Impact of newcomers

The influx of out-of-state newcomers is prompting some major shifts.

Perhaps one of the most noticeable impacts the growth has caused on Floridians is the rising cost of rent. The top five Florida cities with the highest percent-increase in Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) from 2020-22 also show large population growth in the past decade. The top five cities each have ZHVI increases above 50% over the past two years.

For example, Cape Coral, which reported the highest ZHVI increase from 2020 to 2022 at 63%, saw its population increase by 30% between 2010 and 2020.

Rent increases have only garnered more momentum over the last year. An analysis by Florida real estate academics cited in an NBC report found in Florida’s four top metro-markets — Tampa Bay, Fort Myers, Miami and Orlando — rents have risen by 24% to 32% in a year. Usually, rents swing by about 1% or 2% per year.

The increases are hitting South Florida especially hard. When averaged among the state’s largest metros, housing values have increased ~70% from 2010 to 2020, followed by a rise of another 39% in the last two years alone, according to moveBuddha.

Where are people moving?

In the last decade, nearly 3 million new people moved to the state of Florida.

In 2022, the city of Ocala saw the highest inbound over outbound ratio — for every 596 people to move to Florida’s horse capital, only 100 left. As far as 2022 in-to-out ratios, Ocala was followed by Sarasota (311 to 100), St. Augustine (250 to 100) and Tampa (242 to 100).

Tampa was also among the top three metro areas that saw the most new residents from 2010 to 2020, along with Orlando and Miami.

So, while it doesn’t look like the mass migration to Florida is slowing down anytime soon, the affordability of the state — a critical part of its appeal — is teetering. Affordable housing and property insurance are measures legislators will have to address in the coming years, as the state continues to turn visitors into residents each day.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]



    May 17, 2022 at 11:50 am

    Great article explaining why so many snowbirds and other visitors turn into residents despite/because of Florida’s recent control of state government by trum-pests/Republicans.

    Property Insurance, flood Insurance and on-going insurance woes for damage due to small-unnamed storms as well as major insurance companies leaving the state due to high auto and property claims are becoming real road-blocks for new ((and current) residents.

    In our condo complex (directly on a bay) finding safe and reasonable property insurance if one needs financing is more difficult than finding financing. All cash transactions limit purchases to those with no need for liquidity for considerable parts of their wealth. This is one other explanation for the number of new residents from other high priced property states such as New York and California. In our complex the number of units allowed to be rented as well as the term of rentals fixed at 6 months or more is also limited leading to higher and higher rents.

    My family has owned Florida properties since 1992. The deSantis/Scott years have prompted us to look for a another state with good weather and easy access to airports. Unfortunately the state governments in other states are as unreliable as in Florida.

  • Brian

    May 25, 2022 at 7:50 am

    You might enjoy Southern California. The politics of California astronomically drove up the cost of housing but real estate is a rigged game there– you can’t lose.

    California is losing its middle class so it’s becoming a bit of a dystopian MadMax movie but if you have money, you can enjoy living in a nice community by the beach where you won’t see the homeless and drug addicts.

    Newsom shuttered the economy during COVID which ruined poor people’s lives but wealthy people made a ton of money on real estate and stocks. The cost of gas, electricity, and water is high but that’s is considered to be a virtuous policy–we have to save the planet.

    You won’t have to deal with lots of Republican voters because most have moved to states like Florida….

    …like I did

Comments are closed.


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