A December 28th report from Rafferty Capital Markets focuses on the ongoing economic boom in the state of Florida, and highlights key factors such as rapid population growth, low unemployment, tax friendliness and a high quality of life.
Florida population growth
Based on U.S. Census Bureau data, Florida reached a population of 19.9 million in 2014, overtaking New York to become the nation’s third most populous state. The Sunshine State saw an average of 803 new residents per day move in over the year.
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Both commercial and residential real estate prices are up significantly over the last 12 months.
Low unemployment rate in Florida
Satyam Arora, Vice President Equity Research at Rafferty Capital Markets, notes that the state’s economy is growing fast and job markets are also improving. Also of note, the state’s unemployment rate slipped to 5.6% in November, the lowest level since 2008.
Florida – Tax friendliness
According to a recent study by The Fiscal Times, the state was ranked No, 5 on the list of tax friendly states behind Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada and Alaska. The Sunshine State does not levy an individual income tax, but requires businesses to pay an alternative minimum tax. Florida also boasts among the lowest per capita property tax averages at $1,507 (as of 2014) and a reasonable state sales tax of 6%. In a separate tax friendliness ranking by CNBC, Florida was ranked No. 4 on the list while New York was ranked 50th.
Florida – Quality of life
Several cities (including Tampa, Port St. Lucie and St. Petersburg) recently showed up on Movoto.com’s “Popular Places to Live” list.
In addition, in a study analyzing states with the best year round weather, Florida was ranked No. 5 overall, with the social note being made of the warm winter temperatures in Daytona Beach, Gainesville, Key West, Orlando and Tampa. The study ranked states based on a) comfortable temperature (with daily highs averaging between 63 and 86 degrees F) for seven or more months, b) reasonably dry weather (no more than 60 inches of rain a year) and c) sunshine at least 60% of the time.
In another article by U.S. News ranking states by their weather, Florida came in No. 2, right behind California.
Developments in Latin America boosting Florida
Arora also notes that several recent developments in Latin America (economic problems in Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina) are likely to cause increased economic activity in Florida, and in particular points to the lifting of the Cuban embargo as a major plus for the state.