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Almost 1000 People Move to Florida as Families Flee Northeast

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Welcome To Florida

St. Augustine LIfe
Sep 8 5 minutes read

1,000 Americans move to Florida EVERY DAY as families abandon northern cities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut - with home sales more than doubling in the Sunshine State

  • Home sales in some parts of Florida have more than doubled since the pandemic 
  • Roughly 950 move to Florida a day and many come from high-tax Northern cities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut 
  • In Palm Beach County new single-family home contracts over $1million saw a 268% increase compared to last year 
  • The wealthy end of the market swelled 'across the major markets of South Florida' as well as Tampa and St. Pete since the start of the pandemic
  • Experts say many people are still moving to the Sunshine State fearing that a second wave of COVID-19 could hit with flu season 


Roughly 950 people move to Florida every day and the state has seen 'unprecedented demand' and an uptick in luxury home sales as people in northern states flee large cities amid the pandemic for more space and sunnier shores. 

The influx in new residents comes as the coronavirus shutdown led families to flee congested cities and seek short-term stays that turned into permanent moves.

The 2020 Miami Report released this summer states that an average of 950 people move to Florida every day and a majority come from high-taxed areas like New York, Boston, California and Chicago, according to the New York Times.

From Northern states, according to data pulled from 2019, 20 people moved a day from Connecticut, 72 a day from New Jersey and 242 people a day from New York to Florida, as per the 2020 Miami report. 

Jay Phillip Parker, chief executive of Douglas Elliman’s Florida brokerage said the wealthy end of the market swelled 'across the major markets of South Florida — Tampa and St. Pete are seeing the same amount of activity.'

New Jersey couple Vanessa Antonelli and Jordan Epstein of Manalapan rented a house in Orlando for a 10-day break with their five-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son, but ended up staying months.

'We quarantined and ended up staying three months,' Antonelli, 38, an interior designer said to the Times. 'The pandemic made us reevaluate the way we were living. It gave us the time to reflect.'

By June they purchased a home in Boca Raton in a new development, joining a wave of people leaving the east coast for sunnier shores.

They purchased a five-bedroom 5,900-square-foot 'Veneto' model home with a lake view for $1.4million.

'A lot of our final decisions will depend on how everything goes with this school year and Covid in New Jersey,' Antonelli said.   

The influx comes even in the wake of a spike of COVID-19 case in Florida earlier this summer that caused beaches and bars to shut down. 

Today Florida has 648,269 total cases and 11,871 deaths. 

A new development called Boca Bridges, where Antonelli and Epstein bought a home, has seen 102 houses sold for an average $1.7million since May 1, according to Jill DiDonna, senior vice president of sales and marketing at GL homes, the developer.

'We have seen unprecedented demand from all over the country, but certainly New York, New Jersey and Connecticut,' she said.

She says buyers are looking for home offices, larger kitchens for increased in-home dining, home gyms and private pools.

'The shifting product needs of the customer, along with the desire to escape urban areas, combined with the tax advantages, created the perfect storm,' DiDonna said.

Taxes are a major appeal for new residents.

Florida residents pay no state income or estate tax and receive a homestead exemption of up to $50,000 on a primary resident and a three percent annual cap on home assessments.

The sunshine state also grew more appealing with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 which limited the amount of total state and local taxes that can be deducted on a federal income tax return to $10,000.

From last year the population of the state is growing by 343,000 to 22million, according to World Population Review.

Jay Phillip Parker, chief executive of Douglas Elliman’s Florida brokerage, says multimillion dollar sales in Palm Beach and Miami have snowballed.

But he says it’s in part from people who have rental homes in Florida or frequent the state who have snapped up permanent residences.

'The pandemic is one of the many elements that have contributed toward what we have always known to be a natural migration. We’ve been referred to as the "sixth borough,"' he said. 

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