Florida becomes hot spot for San Fran area exodus

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Market Trends

Florida is rising in popularity for San Francisco Bay area residents leaving California, according to real estate agents working with a growing number of Californians moving to the Sunshine State.

“With California, it’s like a mass migration to Florida. It’s great,” said Lynn Peters, a realtor with Remax in Gulf Breeze, Florida. She said she's seen a big jump in the number of Californians moving to Northwest Florida since the Covid-19 lockdowns kicked in last March.

Prior to the pandemic, Florida was the seventh-most popular state for California residents moving to another state. In 2019, 28,628 Californians left for Florida, the most recent data available from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Increased migration during the pandemic could signal an image makeover for Florida, which is seen more often in California as the butt of jokes rather than a place to call home. But Florida's lack of an individual income tax and lower cost of living apparently has some California residents wondering if the joke has been on them.