Pandemic relocation numbers aren’t out yet, but agents across Fla. report a higher number of new clients are Californians looking for a less expensive lifestyle.

SAN FRANCISCO – Real estate agents say more San Francisco Bay area residents are moving to Florida. Lynn Peters, a Realtor with Remax in Gulf Breeze, says she has seen a significant increase in the number of Californians moving to Northwest Florida since COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020.

Prior to the pandemic, Florida was the seventh-most popular state for California residents moving to another state. A total of 28,628 Californians left for Florida in 2019, the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Florida’s lack of an individual income tax and lower cost of living are factors that attract California residents.

Among metro areas, Orlando is seeing a flood of buyers from California and other West Coast states, says Peter Luu, an agent at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Orlando.

“In the past, California buyers would go as far as Colorado and Texas,” says Luu. “Now there’s no need to be at corporate meetings in a couple days.”

In recent months, Bay Area venture capitalists and entrepreneurs concluded that life is better in the Miami area. David Blumberg of Blumberg Capital and Keith Rabois, an investor in companies like PayPal, Square and LinkedIn, are among the Bay Area’s affluent residents who recently moved to South Florida.

In Northeast Florida, where Zillow estimates the Jacksonville median home price is $254,000, Realtor Chris Snow with eXp Realty in St. Augustine says he is working with more California clients, often under 60 years old. He says many California clients are fatigued about the Bay Area’s homelessness, crime, traffic and other quality of life issues.

Source: South Florida Business Journal (03/15/21) Calvey, Mark

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