Florida has been seeing a steady population boom over the last ten years, and the pandemic has only accelerated the rate at which people are flocking to the Sunshine State. In fact, according to the US Census, Florida’s population has increased by 14.6% in the past decade. We famously have no personal-income tax, and Florida’s banking and finance industries are booming. But the rise in remote working, coupled with our political climate, resulting in a lack of lockdown, favorable weather, and attractive house prices are also drawing people in. The state is expected to finish fiscal year 2021 with a growth rate of 1.9% so Florida’s economy is back on track too. This has created a landslide of companies moving their headquarters or large parts of their operations to the Sunshine State. This shift will mean thousands of new jobs as well as current employees relocating to the state. Florida’s economy will only be strengthened by the sheer volume of residential and commercial construction, as well as retail and service businesses needed to keep up with this population boom. This is great news for businesses in most parts of the state, as Florida is projected to continue thriving.
Notable Business Relocations
During the pandemic, several corporations fled the New York Metro area in favor of South Florida. Citadel, Blackstone, and R&B Realty Group are some of the top firms to make the move. A growing list of financial and technology firms, ranging from Goldman Sachs to Blockchain.com, have recently relocated to Miami. Among the big-name relocations to Palm Beach County are Elliott Management, Paul Singer’s $42-billion hedge fund, and Point72 Asset Management, a hedge fund owned by billionaire Steve Cohen, New York-based Virtu Financial, an electronic trading firm, is also setting up an office in Palm Beach Gardens. Doug Cifu, CEO of Virtu Financial and co-owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team, told West Palm Beach’s local NBC news station he’s had no second thoughts about the relocation. “We ain’t going back,” he said.
Pfizer, ID.me, CrossBorder Solutions, Signode and QuoteWizard Insurance have each leased large blocks of office space in the Tampa Bay area. Business data titan Dun & Bradstreet, a firm that has sold information to major companies for 180 years, plans to move its headquarters to Jacksonville this fall. Disney announced it will be moving 2,000 jobs from California to Orlando. The jobs include positions in finance, human resources, technology, communications, and Imagineers. The company said it favors Florida for its business-friendly climate, better housing prices, lower income tax, less crowded schools, and less traffic. It will be building its new campus in the Lake Nona area of Central Florida, about 30 minutes down the road from Walt Disney World.
Demand for Commercial Real Estate
With the onset of COVID 19, many businesses closed their physical offices and decided to go remote. That is a trend we don’t see disappearing anytime soon. There has been a significant culture shift, and some companies won’t go back to a traditional work environment. However, many companies are still maintaining their office space, and for the companies who are relocating to Florida, the demand for office space is surging. These companies are leasing previously vacant space, which is great news for landlords who had seen a dip in activity, and some are even occupying vacant retail spaces that have become repurposed. New commercial spaces are being built for some of these larger companies as well, Disney being a good example of that.
At a time when states like California and New York are seeing more move-outs than move-ins, approximately 1,000 people a day continue to move to Florida. With the ability to work from anywhere during the pandemic, some came to Florida to escape dense urban environments, stricter COVID restrictions, as well as to take advantage of Florida’s pleasant winter weather.
With more remote work options than ever before, working-age people without Florida-based jobs are also flocking to many parts of the Sunshine State. Researchers from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph Team analyzed migration patterns in 38 major U.S. metropolitan areas between April 2020 and February 2021 to see what regions were attracting the newest residents, and three Florida metro areas were in the top 10: Jacksonville (No. 2), Tampa-St. Petersburg (No. 6) and Miami-Fort Lauderdale (No. 9).
Most of the companies that are relocating to Florida will be offering relocation packages to employees, and the draw of Florida’s positive attributes mentioned above should definitely tempt many to pack their bags. So, for Florida businesses, the time is now to prepare to ride this wave of population and economic growth.