- Michael Bordenaro has been a Florida Realtor for 12 years and says residential turnover is high.
- Residents are often surprised — and turned off — by high housing costs, weather, traffic, and more.
- He outlined six reasons transplants to the Sunshine State boomerang back to their hometowns.
Thirteen 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 34-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 pay.
His words of warning, which he also captures in video for 22,000 YouTube subscribers, come as pandemic-weary hordes have flocked to Florida. The state’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research reported that almost 330,000 new residents moved to the Sunshine State between April 2020 and April 2021.
Bordenaro told Insider the biggest red flags people should know about before they load their U-Hauls.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
Take the median sale prices for homes in Miami-Dade County, which jumped 28.7% between last summer and this summer to $500,000, the Miami Herald reported. The price growth is fueled by millennial snowbirds, remote workers, and retirees, who are moving south and breaking Florida real-estate records.
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.
Congestion on major thoroughfares gets pretty bad, Bordenaro said, especially during rush hour. “It’s becoming overcrowded,” he added.
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.
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 during the pandemic. Was it what you expected? Do you love it, hate it, or is it complicated? Email reporter Natasha Solo-Lyons at [email protected] with your story.