The last year has been painfully unpredictable, but there may just be a silver lining. Take Jackie for example, a single mother who lives in New York City, who has been in quarantine for the last 6 months. She’s spending more time at home than ever. It’s given her, and millions of Americans the opportunity to re-evaluate their living situations, as she now spends 90% of her time working and living from home. Despite having been born and raised in the city, she figures it might be time for a change. She’s grown restless of high taxes, and astronomical rents for small spaces. She assesses her options but one choice seems far more obvious than the rest: Florida; and she’s not alone.
What do the numbers say?
Millions of people across the country have been forced to reconsider the size of their homes, their finances, and their well-being. The US Census Bureau states 3.4% of the workforce was working remotely before 2020. According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), a whopping 42% of the labor force in the US is now working from home. That means that more than 60 million Americans switched from 30-minute commutes to work, to getting out of bed and walking 30 seconds to their at-home office space. Naturally, these people need enough space at home to cook, relax, sleep….and take zoom calls. Working remote has offered a new luxury that wasn’t part of the conversation before: not being tied to a certain geographic space. Omar, a 26-year-old financial analyst who works in Boston, has been in his hometown of Cairo, Egypt for the last 6 months. Granted, his working hours are not quite optimal, but he’s spending time with his family and friends. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want more home-cooked meals? The 2020 Miami Report released this summer shows that Florida is adding 1,000 residents per day. That’s right, per day. While on the other hand, major states like Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are losing anywhere from 50 to 200. At the same time, New York is losing an average of 250.
“While on the other hand, major states like Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are losing anywhere from 50 to 200. At the same time, New York is losing an average of 250.”
More than just a vacation destination
According to US News, even before the pandemic, Florida was ranked as the ninth fastest-growing state in the country. Seeing more than 1% population growth a year. Those numbers have only grown since COVID-19 came into the picture. That begs the question, why Florida? What makes the sunshine state so appealing? Well, there are a few reasons. First and foremost, taxes. Florida residents pay no state income tax, no estate tax, and also enjoy homestead exemptions on their homes – but wait, there’s more. Because of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, Floridians can also enjoy a bigger break on taxes. According to the Tax Foundation, the average family of four received an additional $2,000 in tax cuts, about 2.3%. Secondly, it’s significantly cheaper to live in Florida. SmartAsset found that, between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, residents are paying an average of $760/month for their mortgage. These are two of the most expensive areas in Florida. Let’s see how that stacks up against other major cities across the country. SmartAsset found that in Boston, the average Mortgage is $2,125. That’s nearly a 300% increase as compared to Florida’s most expensive areas. New York City comes in at about $2,222, while LA is approximately $2,600. With a cheaper mortgage and rental payments, comes the option for more space. As a resident in Florida, you’d not only have to pay less in taxes but also far less per square foot. As people settle into working-from-home for the foreseeable future, they want to live somewhere where they can separate work and sleep. That calls for either an extra bedroom or even a den. You’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck in Florida. Last but not least, another reason that people have been moving to Florida for decades, the weather. It’s called the sunshine state for a reason. People want to trade their parka’s and below-freezing temperatures for bathing suits and 75 degree beach days…and can you blame them?
“SmartAsset found that in Boston, the average Mortgage is $2,125. That’s nearly a 300% increase as compared to Florida’s most expensive areas. New York City comes in at about $2,222, while LA is approximately $2,600.”
Jackie and nearly half a million Americans yearly have made up their minds. They opted for fewer taxes, more space, a lower cost of living, and better weather. While there are some other states that also have advantages, Florida evidently is one of the best places for renters or homebuyers to move in the coming months and years.