The COVID pandemic and the lockdowns that followed made people rethink their living situations. As more Americans have been eager to relocate from densely populated, high-cost cities around the country, Florida and in particular, Jacksonville, became a beacon for planting new roots.
A recent study by CBRE Group validated the point. The study used U.S. Postal Service change-of-address data from 2019 to 2020 to show migration patterns across the United States. CBRE Group is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm.
Overall, the Jacksonville MSA recorded a 9 percent increase in inbound moves, accounting for nearly 3,000 more new households from outside the market than the prior year. This complements data from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph that showed Jacksonville had the second largest gain of net arrivals between April 2020 and February 2021 against the previous period, with nearly 11 percent gains in new residents.
“The migration trends for the Jacksonville region are very favorable, both for Northeast Florida’s seven counties and their employers,” said Aundra Wallace, president of JAXUSA Partnership. “We are seeing a lot of talented people moving to the area for local job opportunities, but also as they gain more flexibility in their work environments to work virtually anywhere.”
The study also noted that Jacksonville attracted a large number of residents from within Florida, but also all over the country. The Jacksonville MSA showed double-digit percentage gains from Georgia, New York, Tennessee, Michigan, Arizona and California. The top three MSAs where Jacksonville saw the biggest percentage increases were Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Gainesville, Miami/Fort Lauderdale and New York.
“As the new normal suggests, we continue to see a pattern whereby people are choosing to live in cities and states that provide excellent quality of life rather than be tied to proximity to the physical office,” added Aundra. “Jacksonville has everything companies and employees need to grow, whether the setting is a traditional workplace or via work-from-home opportunities, and the country is taking notice in a big way.”
The Jacksonville region is set up well to support this kind of influx. With the largest land mass of any city in the country, a well-established and diversified economic make up and a pro-business culture, Northeast Florida has shown the ability to support growth in all forms. That, coupled with a growing base of talent, positions the region to be a hot spot in the months and years to come.
See the full report from CBRE here.