On today’s show we’re talking about migration. Migration happens within the country for a variety of reasons. People have been slowly leaving the rust belt in favor of the sun belt. The trend has been alive and well for a couple of decades now. Today we’re going to take a deep look at Florida and what migration can tell us about real estate demand.

There are a lot of NY accents in the state of Florida and former New Yorkers make up 7.5% of Florida residents, more than any other state.

Florida has a very low proportion of native born residents, making up only 35% of the population. About 22.3% of Florida’s residents were born outside the US.  This makes sense. Florida has long been a favored destination for people coming from Latin America. Spanish is widely spoken and I’ve had more than one Uber driver who only spoke Spanish and no English.

Over the past decade, Florida has averaged a net influx of population totaling 297,000 people a year.

2016 was a banner year for migration with nearly 2% population growth in a single year. That year 408,000 people moved into the state.

It’s projected that migration is going to average 305,000 a year over the next five years, a little above the average for the past decade. That amounts to 835 people a day moving into the state. That translates into significant demand for new housing. We’re talking about adding a city the equivalent size of Orlando each year.

That’s a big number.

In contrast, NY State lost 123,000 people in the past year. Illinois experienced a loss of 79,000 residents in the past year. The fastest losing state is California which lost nearly 200,000 to migration last year. Michigan lost 18,000 in the same time period.

So where are people moving in Florida? Where are they going?

The top growth market in Florida over the past decade has been the southwest cities of Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Jacksonville, Miami, and Port St. Lucie round out the top 5 cities in terms of growth.

The two largest home builders in Florida are Lennar and DR Horton. They consistently lead with the largest number of new building permits across all 5 of the major regions in the state.

In the realm of multi-family, South Florida lead the way with 12,000 units of new supply added to the market. The largest growth markets were Fort Lauderdale with 2,634 units of new capacity added to the market, and Downtown Miami and South Beach with 2,000 units and South Miami / Coral Gables with 1,700 units.

The greater Miami area picked up the lion’s share of the new growth.

But as always, real estate is hyper local. Northeast Miami has earned a reputation of being a bit of a rough area. NE Miami experienced a net absorption loss of 683 units at the same time that south Miami absorbed 762 units.

Some investors, particularly out of state investors tend to get into trouble by simply looking at the macro migration numbers.

I’ve noticed that the number one factor influencing local population growth is the quality of air service. The further you get from a major airport in Florida, the lower the property values, and the lower the percentage of population growth.

You have two major airports along the Gulf Coast. You have Tampa, and Fort Myers. Property values are at their lowest in Englewood which is about the midway point between the two airports. There are still waterfront properties In Englewood and Venice that can be purchased a surprisingly affordable prices. But with 800 people a day moving into the state, low cost of borrowing, low cost of living compared with the major NE cities, there’s continual upward pressure on prices.