Florida’s palm trees seem to be no match for New York’s skyscrapers.
When New York City became the epicenter of the pandemic, some of the city’s wealthiest fled south in a seeming mass exodus. But a year later, Bloomberg reported, the migration has turned out to be more of an “urban shuffle.” While the Sun Belt region did see an increase in residents, most of the city dwellers who moved stayed pretty close to home.
In fact, more Manhattanites moved to Brooklyn than anywhere else between March 2020 and February 2021. According to Bloomberg, 20,000 residents made the borough switch. That’s more than the 19,000 Manhattanites who moved to Florida, whose sunnier locale, lower taxes, and more affordable cost of living have lured many a New York financier during the pandemic.
Hedge fund Elliott Management is moving its headquarters to West Palm Beach, while Blackstone, the world’s largest private-equity firm, plans to open an office in Miami. Charles Schwab, founder of the eponymous brokerage and asset-management giant, also relocated to Palm Beach this year, voting-registration records show.
Various finance and real-estate professionals Insider spoke with earlier this year described an uptick in bigger and longer office-space leases by out-of-state firms and high-end real estate inventory running low as said financiers flooded the area. It’s all created an image of Florida as the new Wall Street.
But only 10,000 of the Manhattanites who moved to Florida plan to stay permanently, per Bloomberg. Manhattan overall has seen temporary moves increase by 138%, Bloomberg reported, which may not even include those with second homes elsewhere.
Some of those who left for the suburbs are already returning to the city. The uptick in young professional New Yorkers upgrading to solo living or luxury apartments for the first time as rents plunged is further testament to the city’s staying power. Many millennials locked discounts as high as $1,000 and for leases exceeding the typical year, signaling that they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
Brooklyn in particular is winning the pandemic, Insider’s Natasha Solo-Lyons and Libertina Brandt reported. Its real-estate market is experiencing the fastest recovery, and the borough has become so popular it now costs nearly as much to live there as it does in Manhattan.
But not everyone is sticking around. Those who didn’t stay in the metro area still remained close by in the northeast, heading out east to Long Island and upstate to Westchester and Suffolk Counties, some as far as Bridgeport, Connecticut, and Philadelphia, according to Bloomberg.
They’re all areas still within short traveling time to the city, which Bloomberg calls a reflection of an expanding regional labor market. It’s likely that this cohort will continue to boost the city’s economy, but through spending as visitors rather than as residents. It certainly won’t be a painless change for the city, which stands to see an estimated 10% drop in spending, or greater, from an economy where more workers are remote.
But the city’s rebounding real-estate scene has gone along with tax revenue coming in much healthier than expected, adding up to a post-pandemic landscape not radically different from before. It seems that while Florida has entered the game as a power player for talent, there is no replacement for NYC after all.