Sun, sea, sand and Disney World. The Sunshine State is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. Small wonder then that Florida is a property hotspot with opportunities to be found at all ends of the market.
Whatever you’re hoping to achieve, Florida is a state full of opportunity.
Its $1.2 trillion economy is the fourth largest of any US state. If Florida were a country, it would be the 16th richest in the world.
With a population of more than 21 million, it is the third most populous US state. That population is set to continue to grow over the coming years as people flood into the state to live, retire, and work there.
Business and economic opportunities are abundant, and the outlook for the future is good. In May 2023, Florida’s unemployment rate remained at 2.6 percent for the fifth consecutive month—which was 1.1% below the national average.
While Orlando and Miami may get all the headlines, there are also thriving areas which offer a laid-back, metropolitan vibe, attracting young professionals working in fields such as education, medical and travel. This has fuelled both job growth and rental demand across the state.
Florida is also attractive to many thanks to the relatively affordable cost of living. In fact, the state is more affordable in terms of living costs and house prices compared to the national average.
A renowned spot for retirees, people journey across the globe to spend their “golden years” in Florida and benefit from its thriving retirement community, health-benefiting weather, and relaxed way of life.
And new residents aren’t the only ones transcending Florida’s borders; the Sunshine State remains an increasingly popular tourist destination. Glorious weather and some of the best beaches in the world bring people in their millions. The Everglades represents one of America’s great wildernesses and offers a chance to get up close with all sorts of animal life.
Top of the bill, though, is Disney World. The Magic Kingdom in Orlando is the biggest theme park in the world, attracting millions every year. Visitors can also head to other popular sites such as Epcot, MGM Studios, the Kennedy Space Centre and a string of water parks.
Florida started 2023 off strong with 37.9 million visitors between January and March—the largest volume of visitors ever recorded in a single quarter. Having now exceeded pre-pandemic levels, the state resumes its upward trajectory in visitor numbers, which lasted 9 consecutive years before the pandemic.
Our experts say
“As an investment location, Florida probably offers one of the most diverse range of markets in the US. The huge number of tourists is the obvious draw, but there is so much more to the state than theme parks and vacation rentals. It’s a place that a hugely diverse population call home. From the students who flock to the state’s numerous universities to the knowledge workers drawn in by the high lifestyle standards, it’s a great place for purchasing real estate which is likely to appeal to a number of tenants.
Florida has always been one of the USA’s most popular markets for investors and, as we have seen over the past twelve months, it is very likely to remain so.”
– Matthew Lavin, Director
How to get there
Florida is of course accessible from across the United States, so choosing how to travel is often more about choosing a scenic or direct route. Drive time from New York is generally around 20hrs.
Florida is easily accessible by train. Both the Silver Star and Silver Meteor lines make regular journeys to Florida from New York with a travel distance of around 1,100 miles and a total trip length of around 28 to 32 hours.
Florida has 131 public airports plus seven large and medium hub airports. The busiest airports are Miami International, Orlando International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, and Tampa International.
A popular cruise destination, Florida is often combined with travelling to areas such as the Caribbean, West Indies, or Mexico.
Known as the ‘Sunshine State’, Florida enjoys a sub-tropical climate with mild winters and hot, sunny summers. While thunderstorms are the norm, they don’t tend to last long and leave behind comfortable temperatures.
Summers are long and tend to last from May to October. Over the summer months, temperatures are uniform from north to south, especially in the daytime, when they range between 31°C and 33°C (88 °F and 91 °F). Thunderstorms are common and there are increased chances of tropical storms and hurricanes, particularly from August to October.
Really more of a “dry season” than a typical winter, you can still expect temperatures of around 15.5°C (60°F), even in January. Winter can be a great time in Florida as temperatures are comfortably warm, days still enjoy around 7hrs of sunshine, and it tends to be drier than over the summer months.
Florida offers some of the biggest returns in the US. Its thriving economy, appealing weather and healthy tourism industry are a perfect mix for property investors.
If you have an eye for personal enjoyment of your investment, Florida makes for the perfect location for a holiday home, or as a future retirement property.
The state’s property market offers average yields of around 7% and has proven to be resilient to economic crises. After the 2008 crisis, Florida’s property markets were one of the success stories of the US economy. There is every sign that this is a great place to invest during an economic recovery. Demand is strong and the population continues to expand.
In many places, demand is outstripping inventory, creating fertile ground for growth. While the population of Florida grew by around 15% over the last decade, the number of housing units only grew by 9.7% according to the US Census Bureau.
Florida’s rental markets are the hottest in the US, with demand soaring and prices going through the roof in several metro areas. Markets in Miami-Dade, Orlando and Southwest Florida have been identified as the most competitive, where as many as 31 prospective renters are competing for a single listing.
Apartment occupancy rates in the US are almost the highest they have been in more than two decades. A towering 95.5% of rentals were occupied in the US from the start of 2022 up until June.
Single-family rent prices are also increasing dramatically across Florida. Out of 20 metro areas across the US, Miami experienced the most dramatic price increase at an immense 39.5 per cent. This marked the 10th consecutive month Miami has topped the nation for growth and took the median asking rent to $2,488 per month. The city was followed closely by Orlando, which saw a 24.8% increase in single-family rent prices.
There are plenty of choices available when it comes to choosing your ideal market. Retirement condos offer a great opportunity to meet the rental demands of over 4.5 million adults over 65 who live in the State (they make up 19% of the population – the highest in the US).
However, it’s not all about the senior population – the Space Coast has been increasingly expanding with more tech-focused businesses laying down routes in Florida (far better weather than Seattle!), and more companies are starting to base their HQ’s around the area.
And of course – one cannot overlook the huge demand for holiday rentals in the area. Florida is one of the “go-to” holiday destinations for both overseas and domestic visitors alike.
When it comes to long-term growth, Florida is the one to watch. Real estate values have risen by around 80% in the past five years, and the Sunshine State continues to hog the spotlight with some of the fastest-growing home prices in the country. Many buyers gravitate to Miami – recently named by TIME Magazine as One of the Greatest Places in the World – but there are also a lot of opportunities to be discovered in areas of South Florida and along the Gulf Coast.