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6 reasons why moving to Florida can be a major disappointment, from surprisingly high tax bills to severe storms that ‘should be an eye opener’

Michael BordenaroMichael Bordenaro records YouTube videos that outline the dimmer side of the Sunshine State.

Courtesy of Lisi and Michael Bordenaro

  • Michael Bordenaro, who’s been a Florida realtor for 13 years, and says residential turnover is high.
  • Movers are shocked by traffic congestion, oppressive heat, a high cost of living, and more, he said.
  • He outlined six reasons transplants to the Sunshine State boomerang back to their hometowns.

Fourteen years ago, Michael Bordenaro moved to South Florida and never looked back.

But the Miami Beach real-estate agent told Insider that between 40% and 50% of his buyers turn around and move out of Florida a few years after relocating there. More transplants grow disillusioned with the local lifestyle than you’d expect, added Bordenaro, a 35-year-old from Illinois.

“So many people come for a week or two on vacation, and they think their life is going to be like that every day,” he said.

But it’s not all Disney and the beach, Bordenaro cautioned. He added that newcomers often don’t consider important factors before making the jump — from oppressive heat to abysmal salaries.

His words of warning, which he also captures alongside other real-estate analyses almost daily in video for 57,700 YouTube subscribers, come as Florida — which saw a large jump in population during the pandemic — shows no signs of slowing in growth. Florida’s population grew to over 22 million people from July 2021 to July 2022, according to Census Bureau data.

Bordenaro told Insider the biggest red flags people should know about before they load their U-Hauls.

Severe weather 

Florida transplants don’t often anticipate just how severe the hurricanes — and their damage to property — can be. The state’s oppressive, almost year-round heat and humidity are another issue.

“People don’t expect this heat for this long,” Bordenaro said. “There’s no relief. It’s hot 24/7, seven months a year.”

Especially after the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian in September 2022, Bordenaro expects more movers to second-guess their move to Florida.

“When people see that, that should be an eye opener,” he said. “That can happen where you live.”

Low-paying jobs

Wages in Florida are significantly lower than in other states, which rankles locals and newcomers alike. 

“Jobs in Florida pay less than they do in other places for the same job,” Bordenaro said. 

Because Florida imposes no state income tax, he said, employers may feel like they can pay staff less since workers take home more of their paycheck. 

In May 2022, CBS News named Florida the “least affordable” place to live in the county. Also, WTXL, the ABC affiliate in Tallahassee, named Florida one of America’s least affordable states based on a 2019 study by Joblist.com that found that the cost of living was more expensive than wages.

“Even though the pay has gone up a little bit, it’s definitely not keeping up with what it costs to live in Miami, which is the biggest problem,” Bordenaro said.

Exorbitant home prices and rents

The cost of real estate in the state is another tough pill to swallow, Bordenaro said. Florida housing is so expensive at the moment that “it’s concerning,” he added. “It’s an alarm sign.”

“The appreciation rates that we’ve seen in South Florida have been much higher than the national average,” Bordenaro said. “In some areas, it went up 20% per year over the past couple of years.”

Take the median sale prices for homes in Miami-Dade County in November 2022, the most recent month for which data is available. They jumped nearly 16% year-over-year to $475,000, according to Realtor.com. The price growth is fueled by millennial snowbirds, remote workers, and retirees, who are moving south and breaking area real-estate records.

Newcomers moving to Florida have also been shocked at property tax bills that are higher than they expected, Insider’s Kelsey Neubauer reported.

Michael BordenaroBordenaro says some locals aren’t friendly to newcomers.

Courtesy of Lisi and Michael Bordenaro

The looming climate crisis

The state’s rising tides pose a real threat, too.

“Most of Florida doesn’t sit much higher than sea level,” he said. “In 30 years, you might not be able to live in your spot anymore, whether you’re trying to retire or start a new life.”

As a result, insurance premiums on Florida property are projected to increase. Because of rising sea levels, many homes in South Florida are at a higher risk for disaster, which makes it more expensive to insure them.

Traffic

Congestion on major thoroughfares gets pretty bad, Bordenaro said, especially during rush hour. “It’s becoming overcrowded,” he added.

According to Bordenaro, Miami is attempting to alleviate the traffic issue by constructing more lanes and new exits, but the going road work only leads to more traffic.

Miami-Dade County, which is 2,431 square miles, had a population per square mile of 1,422 in 2020 — an 8% increase from 2010, according to Census data. The population per square mile in the city of Miami is even higher: 12,285 in 2020.

“Miami is relatively a small place when it comes to the amount of infrastructure we have to handle the amount of people that live here,” he said. “It’s been a growing problem. If you ask me, it’s getting worse.”

Unfriendly neighbors

Bordenaro said some native Floridians and longtime locals worry that transplants from major metros — especially from blue states such as California and New York — may make Florida more like stereotypes of those places. These NIMBYs fear that newcomers may usher in big-city problems or push local politics to the left.

“People are very weary of having Florida have turned into California,” he said. “That’s probably the biggest concern for people that have lived here for a long time. Especially when you look at the two very different ways that Florida handled the pandemic versus California.”

It’s a more common issue in small cities than in places like Miami, he added, but it’s still an issue for people who migrate south from Manhattan or San Francisco and expect to fit seamlessly into communities that may prove unreceptive.

“Depending on where you come from, it can be tough to make friends with the locals,” Bordenaro said.

We’re looking to talk to people who moved to Florida recently. Was it what you expected? Do you love it, hate it, or is it complicated? Email reporter Jordan Pandy at jpandy@insider.com with your story.

Former Insider reporter Natasha Solo-Lyons contributed to an earlier version of this story, published on October 22, 2021. It was updated on January 9, 2023.

Read the original article on Business Insider