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Highest Florida population growth in Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa

Population statistics are a key insight for property investors, particularly when it comes to buy-to-let investment. The latest figures for the Florida population, current and projected, prove that the state continues to experience sustained growth. Among the metro areas seeing the most increase in their population are Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa.

Florida population grows all round

The 2018 Florida Population Report, published by Cushman & Wakefield at the end of January, shows major growth across the board. The number of new inhabitants in the Sunshine State reached 430,000 in 2017. This number is expected to grow by 4.7% this year. The Report predicts an almost 11% increase over the next five years when the state will have 23.3 million inhabitants.

Cushman & Wakefield analysts attribute last year’s rise to several factors. They include retirees, job seekers and Puerto Ricans who flocked to the state in the wake of Hurricane Maria. “Florida’s population grew significantly in 2017, aided by continued net migration from northern and high-tax states,” said Chris Owen, the company’s Florida Research Manager.

US young adults growth and decline
(Source: Cushman & Wakefield)

Florida ranks as the third largest state in the US in terms of population. The 2.2 million new residents expected by 2023 will have important repercussions on the state economy. Cushman & Wakefield report a steady growth in Florida house prices since 2011. They predict retail sales to the tune of US$4.3 trillion this year, a 7.5% increase on 2017.

Most growth in Fort Myers

Of the nine largest metro areas studied in the Report, Cape Coral-Fort Myer will see the largest Florida population growth. Set to grow by a massive 3.6% this year, the metro’s inhabitants will top 775,200 by the end of 2018. The Report attributes this to the lower cost of living in the area located in Southwest Florida next to Charlotte County and Sarasota.

Moody’s Precis Report sees strong long-term growth for the metro. “Cape Coral-Fort Myers’ economy will strengthen as more visitors arrive and consumer services improve. Higher retiree incomes will also lead to increased spending, and robust demand will keep healthcare strong. In the long run, favorable demographic trends and lower costs than in the rest of South Florida will fuel above-average growth,” says Moody’s quoted in the Cushman & Wakefield Report.

Orlando a close second

Orlando in central Florida has performed consistently well on the economic front since 2012. This strong growth has had a knock-on effect on the metro’s population. Orlando comes second in the table for the strongest population growth in Florida this year. It is predicted to rise by 3.2%.

The metro’s employment market is the main factor behind the constant arrival of new residents. Cushman & Wakefield report that Orlando creates 1,000 new jobs every week and as a result, has the lowest unemployment rate (3.3%) in Florida. Employment opportunities abound not just in the buoyant tourist sector but in the white-collar sector.

The Report predicts that Orlando will reach 2.8 million inhabitants by 2023 and points out the marked effect this will continue to have on property in Orlando. The median price in 2017 reached US$250,340, a huge increase on 2012.

Jacksonville also strong

Jacksonville ranks sixth in the Florida population growth table. This metro will see a 1.9% increase this year and its population count will rise to 1.6 million over the next five years. Like Orlando, Jacksonville has a strong job market with just 3.4% unemployment.

Prospects look very bright for the metro area over the long term too. According to the Moody’s Precis Report, “Population trends and Jacksonville’s skilled workforce are big pluses that will help the metro area be a top performer in the longer term.”

Tampa powerhouse

Like Jacksonville, Tampa has a 3.4% unemployment rate and like Orlando and Cape Coral-Fort Myers appeals hugely to new residents. Ranked eighth for Florida population growth, Tampa’s inhabitants are set to grow to 3.3 million over the next five years.

For Cushman & Wakefield, this metro area is something of a powerhouse within Florida. “Over the last 10 to 15 years, Tampa Bay has reinvented itself as a powerhouse metro in the southwest,” says the report. “It offers a live, work, play environment, a favourable housing market and a business-friendly market that draws people and companies in from across the country.”

(Source: Cushman & Wakefield)

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