Florida’s warm weather, fewer taxes, and lenient COVID-19 policies have made it a popular destination for many New Yorkers who are looking for affordable housing options, according to the Census Bureau. The Bureau’s data showed that New York has been the top state sending its residents to Florida since 2016, and the pandemic saw an even greater number of New Yorkers leaving the city for the Sunshine State.
Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported that nearly 65,000 New Yorkers exchanged their state driver’s licenses for Florida’s in 2022, breaking the previous year’s record when roughly 62,000 New Yorkers left for Florida.
Real estate agent Jackie Bild of Douglas Elliman says that about 30% of her clients in the past 12 months were from New York City, and more than half of her clients in the past two years were from out of town. Companies are moving their headquarters to South Florida, and their employees are coming with them. Leading hedge fund Citadel moved its headquarters to Miami from Chicago, and other financial companies, including Blackstone and Goldman Sachs, increased their footprint in Miami, earning the city the nickname “Wall Street South.”
While warm weather and tax savings are a draw, government policies during the pandemic are another reason for the exodus from New York. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis lifted all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in September 2020, more than nine months before pandemic-era lockdowns in states like New York and California were lifted. Bild says that government policies like this are another reason why people are moving to Florida.
But the affordability of housing in Florida may soon be eroding. RealtyHop’s Housing Affordability Index, released in December, showed that Miami was the least affordable city, followed by Los Angeles and New York. A family making the average household income of $44,581 would have to direct 86% of their paycheck toward housing costs in Miami. The median asking price increased from $595,000 to $598,000, and a resident with an average salary of $68,129 has to spend 79% of their income on housing in New York City, where the median purchase price of a home was $885,750.
Despite this, Florida is still an affordable destination for many New Yorkers, and the trend of migration from the Empire State to the Sunshine State shows no signs of slowing down.
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