Pandemic accelerated established migration patterns
With remote work for all, exodus from big cities intensified
Gulf Coast of Florida remains a hotbed for migration
THE PANDEMIC'S IMPACT ON MIGRATION PATTERNS
There have been a lot of anecdotal stories floating around during the pandemic about a mass migration to Florida. In this report we used change-of-address (COA) request data to quantify the pandemic’s impact on migration patterns in the U.S. and specifically here on the Suncoast. Our analysis shows that migration trends, in place prior to the pandemic, intensified in 2020.
There is no question that the state of Florida is growing. Look no further than the results of the 2020 census, which just awarded an extra congressional seat to the Sunshine State. The appeal of a Florida residence was already trending higher following legislation passed at the end of 2017 that limited state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Did the pandemic entice even more people to move to Florida?
Figure 1 plots COA requests into (green bars) and out (red bars) of Florida since 2017. In Figure 2 we plot the ratio of inbound COA requests to outbound COA requests. The divergence between inbound and outbound COA requests grew substantially in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, as can be seen by the upward sloping blue line.
Contrast Florida migration trends with that of New York (Figures 3 & 4). The trend of out-migration, already in place prior to the pandemic, deepened in 2020 and 2021.
Figure 5 shows the ratio of inbound to outbound COA requests for five local communities on the Suncoast. The gap between inbound and outbound requests has increased since the start of the pandemic in all five areas. The growing disparity between inbound and outbound COA requests is especially noticeable in Venice where Wellen Park, a master-planned community recently opened.
The influx of people coming to the Suncoast has had a significant impact on the real estate market. Housing inventories are at historically low levels (Figure 6), putting upward pressure on prices (Figure 7). March data showed a 20% year/year increase in the median sale price of a single-family home in Sarasota.
The pace of in-migration to Florida should ease in the coming months. Many of those who fled large metropolitan areas during the pandemic (red bars, Figure 8), will be forced to return as offices reopen. While some companies have moved to permanently working remote, most will adopt a hybrid approach.
COVID did not permanently alter migration patterns in the U.S. However, it did turbo-charge established migration trends for a short period of time. The end result, supply shortages.
For areas like the Suncoast, it will remain a seller’s market until housing inventories eventually recover.
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