People poured into Orlando in 2020, and not just for vacation.
Orlando last year was third among metros that added the most residents, according to a Feb. 4 report by real estate brokerage Redfin Corp. The Orlando metro gained 60,977 people, beating out other fast-growing cities like Atlanta, Austin and Tampa. People moving to Central Florida is nothing new, but the pandemic accelerated the influx of residents coming from out-of-state in search of cheaper real estate and less-dense communities.
Stressing home supply
It was the most residents Orlando gained in any year in the last decade with the exception of 2016, according to Redfin's study, which cites its own research as well as U.S. Census Bureau figures.
Meanwhile, local home supply has been decimated and prices are climbing. Among cities with a net influx of people in 2020, Orlando experienced the ninth-biggest decrease in the number of homes for sale with a 16% drop. The median home price climbed 8% to $290,000.
Searching for an Orlando home now can be "frustrating," local Realtor Wendy Morris previously told Orlando Business Journal. In fact, some homes are snatched up within 24 hours of hitting the market, said the CEO of Wendy Morris Realty. "The market is absolutely crazy right now."
The cities where new people are flocking largely are located in the Sunbelt. Phoenix ranked No. 1 with 82,000 new residents; Dallas was second with 76,000; and Orlando was third, followed by Tampa with 47,000 new residents. Austin came in fifth place, followed by Las Vegas; Atlanta; Greenville, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Knoxville, Tennessee.
A flight to the Sunbelt comes as remote workers are fleeing high-cost, tax- and regulation-heavy areas like California and New York. Redfin's data shows the New York City metro area lost more than 273,000 residents last year, and Los Angeles lost more than 124,000. Chicago lost more than 107,000 residents. OBJ recently broke down the cost difference between living and doing business in California and Florida.
“For the past two years, I’ve felt like everyone is leaving Los Angeles, and that has intensified during the pandemic. More than half of my sellers are moving to a different area,” Los Angeles Redfin agent Lindsay Katz. “A lot of young families are moving back to their hometowns to be near their parents — moves they now can make because they’re working remotely.
"People are realizing that if they leave Los Angeles and move to a place like the Midwest or Florida, they can afford to live on just one income because their mortgage is cut in half and tax bills are lower.”