Major corporations are upping sticks from California and New York to head to the Sunshine State. But, what is driving them?
The last couple of years has been massive for Miami. Unexpected market forces saw a boom in the luxury real estate demand. Wealthy entrepreneurs began moving to the state, particularly from Silicon Valley, and big businesses followed suit. Today, Florida, and Miami in particular, are the places to be, but why?
The pandemic effect
For a long time, Florida used to be the location where people like to retire to – not do business. People came for the beaches, the sunshine and the relaxed quality of life. Recently, things have changed with more and more migration coming from younger professionals in northern states such as New York or the Silicon Valley.
Whilst this migration of people to Florida began years ago, making it the third-largest state, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these recent moves as workers are no longer tied to their desks and are increasingly allowed to work from any location. And many are choosing the warm temperatures and sunny skies of Florida. It is no secret that the state is home to one of the best climates in the United States and boasts some of the nation’s best restaurants, cultural attractions, and overall quality of life. Not to forget its pristine beaches.
In addition, whilst much of the rest of the US struggled with high rates of COVID-19 and strict lockdown restrictions, Florida got off relatively lightly. Restrictions were loose. Bars and restaurants stayed open, with life continuing much as usual. The approach was criticised, but it did mean the state’s economy fared better than many others.
A booming economy
Perhaps due to its relaxed restrictions, Florida’s economy has been doing pretty well. Unemployment is low, and whilst the US struggled under the economic impact from COVID-19, Miami experienced a boom. In the 12 months after July 2020, more people moved to Miami than any other state – 220,890 of them, to be precise, whilst California saw its first-ever drop. In a census, south Florida ranked number two among states attracting businesses.
In Miami, this means providing better funding to local schools, improving academic curriculum and investing heavily in broadband infrastructure to ensure all residents gain access to high-speed internet connections. Additionally, workforce development programs are being extended to create a strong pipeline of qualified workers with skills suited to today’s modern economy and propel the future of Florida businesses.
Big tech Cryptocurrencies
Tech companies have been keen to make Miami their home, especially in light of its warm embrace of cryptocurrencies. The city has been incredibly open to digital money and has taken advantage of it accordingly. People might have laughed when the home area of Miami Heat was renamed after crypto exchange FTX or when Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced he would be taking his first three months salary in Bitcoin, but Florida has flourished with the thriving crypto scene and profitable activity.
In addition, according to Startup Genome’s new 2021 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, South Florida’s startup ecosystem is booming – it is valued alone at $17 billion, 24% more than the global average of $13.7 billion.
Consequently, Miami has one of the most diverse work cultures in the United States. It is a highly favourable environment for all-inclusive growth. And as the main gateway to Latin America, South Florida offers vast opportunities for international business and expansion.
The favourable tax rates in Florida are a significant factor driving many individuals and businesses to relocate to the state and Miami. To begin, Florida has no state personal income tax. In addition, its corporate and sales taxes are low compared to other states in the Northeast or California, making it extremely attractive for big companies and wealthy entrepreneurs.
Whilst the pandemic may have driven some businesses to relocate to Florida and Miami, the momentum behind this movement has been building for years. The mix of Florida’s business-friendly tax structure, welcoming attitude, high quality of life and a bright future will likely keep businesses coming to sunny Miami for years to come.
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