Sunshine State population growth

Castles in the Sand

There’s a reason that Florida is called the Sunshine State and it has nothing to do with sunshine.

What it does have to do with is people – people from other states – and here’s why.

According to a new federal census report from the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida was the second fastest growing state, adding more than 322,000 people last year. Only Texas scored higher than Florida, adding nearly 380,000 people during the same time frame. In addition, for the eight-year period between 2010 and 2018, Florida’s population increased 13.3 percent with Texas just above adding 14.3 percent in population. Nevada and Washington state came in third and fourth with approximately an increase of 12 percent each.

So why are we importing so many residents from other states? Obviously, in spite of the threat of hurricanes, which are frequently overblown, we do have a lot of sunshine and almost perfect weather for at least six months. And, for those of us who live here full-time, even the summers are a non-issue compared to the six months of horrible weather experienced in many other parts of the country. The car starts every day even if it’s 90 degrees and, in Florida, boots are a fashion statement rather than a life-saving essential.

And Florida has no state tax in a state friendly to business, which has created a booming business community. Although retirees keep coming, businesses are recruiting young workers in an effort to keep up with the expanding population. All of this is happening in Florida during a time when the United States population growth has fallen to an 80-year low because of declining birth rates.

Consequently, what goes up must come down and there are plenty of states that are losing some of the population coming to us. For the one-year period from July 2017 to July 2018, the top two states to lose population are New York, losing 48,510 people, and Illinois, losing 45,116.

These two states, in addition to Connecticut which also lost population, are some of the highest taxed states for both state tax and property tax. In addition, the implementation of the federal tax reform last year limits the deductibility of state and local taxes, hitting residents in these states particularly hard. It will be interesting to track the population shifts in a few years after residents have experienced several years of tax returns.

What this all means to Manatee County real estate can only be good. These are the December sales statistics from the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee’s website:

Single-family homes in December maintained their benchmark at a $300,000 or over sale price again coming in at $309,000, 2.7 percent down from last year. The average single-family sale was $380,272, a 1 percent increase. The median time to sell was 90 days, about the same as last year, and the month’s supply of properties remains at about four months.

Condo sales were a median of $190,000, down 2.6 percent from last year, but the average was $236,606, up 7.2 percent. Median time to sell was 96 days, up from last year by 17.1 percent, and month’s supply of properties was four months, up slightly from last year.

I know the U.S. Census Bureau has its algorithms and fancy computer programs to analyze population growth, but I have my own personal methods. If the Cortez Bridge is backed up to the firehouse during the summer and the parking lot at Publix has zero spaces, that’s when I know July isn’t what it once was. Let the sunshine in.

More Castles in the Sand:

2019 tax nightmare

Is a piece better than the whole pie?

2019 real estate trends