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In-and-out migration

Florida has been one of the fastest-growing states in the nation since the early days of the pandemic, with many movers attracted to the state’s favorable tax environment, sunny skies and sandy beaches.

Over the past 10 years, inbound migration to the Sunshine State grew at an average of 3.7% per year — with noticeable hordes arriving from so-called “blue states” like New York, New Jersey and Illinois — according to the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Meanwhile, outbound migration grew by about 1.5% per year on average over the past decade. Per the Chamber of Commerce, the most popular destinations for people leaving the state were Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee — all of which have no income tax or a lower cost of living than Florida.

But while Florida’s in-migration beating out-migration may seem like a win for the state, the Chamber of Commerce says this trend has contributed to higher local prices.

NBC reported speaking to dozens of former Florida residents who recently left the state, many of whom cited cost of living as a primary factor in their decision to pack up and leave.

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Soaring cost of living

“They love the blue skies and the dolphins and the water, but this comes at a price,” Florida real estate agent John Desautels told NBC.

As of April, Florida was among the states with the highest rate of inflation in the U.S. at nearly 4%, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics cited by multiple news outlets, based on a three-month moving average. The rising cost of living is stinging Florida residents in many different areas.

The average Florida home value is $399,807, according to Zillow, up 3.4% over the past year and a whopping 65.5% over the past five years. Meanwhile, the average home value for the entire country is $358,734, up 4.3% over the past year and 48.8% over the past five years. NBC reported home insurance rates in Florida jumped 42% in 2023. Mortgage rates also continue to hover around the 7% mark.

Of course, the other side of the coin is that homeowners who bought in Florida when affordability was high and house prices were lower could now be sitting on a pile of home equity and potential capital gains, which is a real boon — as long as they can cope with modern inflation in key areas.

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Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.

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