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Report: Some Floridians, pointing to high rents, are moving to Georgia

  • By Louis Llovio
  • | 9:30 a.m. February 28, 2024
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • Florida
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A new report from Florida TaxWatch found that rents have begun to stabilize after a huge influx of residents moving into the state drove housing costs up during and immediately after the pandemic.

Even with a small drop, the report states some residents, even as Florida remains a national leader in picking up people from other states, are leaving the Sunshine State and heading north to Georgia.

The nonprofit government watchdog group’s "2024 Update: Long-Term Rental Markets in Florida" found that rents in the state’s biggest cities, including Tampa, remain high but have been declining since November, a sign of a potential “slow down” throughout the year.

Source: Zumper Rental Data

In Tampa, the year-over-year average cost for a two-bedroom apartment dropped 0.5% to $1,900 per month and in St. Petersburg dropped 8.3% to $2,000 per month. In Miami, rent on a two bedroom rose 0.6% to $3,500.

The news that rents are steadying out, and possibly beginning to decline, after peaking in June 2022 should be welcome but the reality is the costs of renting remains significantly higher in Florida than it was before the pandemic and the work from home trend began bringing so many newcomers here.

One standout stat in the report that proves that: Florida’s median rent price jumped 30.1% between December 2020 and December 2023, going from $1,187 per month to $1,545 per month in December 2023.

As the population continues to grow and rents stabilize, the question is now whether people will stay. While much has been made about migration to Florida, the report finds Floridians have been heading to Georgia as prices here rose — this despite the fact that the Peach State has a state income tax.

The report, citing U.S. Census Bureau state-to-state migration data, says 738,969 new residents moved to Florida in 2022 while 51,380 Florida residents moved to Georgia. That accounts for more than 15% Georgia’s new residents that year.

Florida TaxWatch Acting President and CEO Jeff Kottkamp says in a statement that “affordability — which is largely driven by housing costs — determines whether they will stay” in the state.

“Fortunately, initiatives like the ‘Live Local Act’ of 2023 have helped the rental market begin to stabilize, but the Florida Legislature must continue to support renters and ensure Florida remains both a desirable and affordable place to live and work,” he says.



Louis Llovio

Louis Llovio is the commercial real estate editor at the Business Observer. Before going to work at the Observer, the longtime business writer worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Maryland Daily Record and for the Baltimore Sun Media Group. He lives in Tampa.

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