I ran across an article that Pasco county is considering a ‘tent city’ to handle the large number of homeless in that county, because things have gotten so bad. I think the article is a bit misleading. The only reference as to whom is considering this tent city is a quote from the head of “Pasco County Continuum of Care.” That organization is not a part of any government. It is a nonprofit that is dedicated to serving the homeless. (Community Organizing) So it isn’t Pasco county that’s considering it, it’s a charity organization that is considering it.
This is where my post today goes from facts to largely being speculation on my part. Some of what you are about to read is anecdotal, and some based upon fact. We are seeing some interesting shifts in the Sunshine-Gunshine State.
I think that if there really are more homeless in Pasco county, that it’s a reflection on population shifts that we have seen here since 2020. Since the COVID lockdowns, there has been a huge influx of people of all economic levels from the northern states.
I know it’s anecdotal, but there seem to be many more people here than normal. There are many more “off color” license plates here than normal, and they aren’t leaving. This isn’t like our normal snowbird migrations. I keep seeing younger and younger people running around here, getting into cars with out of state plates while carrying golf clubs, looking as though they are retired. The grocery stores, restaurants, and other facilities are packed with out of state people. My theory is that we are being overrun by people who came here to escape their home states’ lockdowns, and many of them never left.
A few that I have been able to speak to tell me that they are “working from home” as they chuckle about how they moved here and got an apartment for far less money than they pay “up north” while they are collecting northern city wages. This is having a huge effect on the Florida economy, and is causing severe disruptions down here.
Home prices and rental rates are skyrocketing. Homes that were worth $250,000 in 2019 are now seeing their values topping $400,000. Rental rates in the state are continuing to climb at double digit rates, even as rents in other states decline. The statewide median sale price in Florida for single-family homes in 2022 was $402,500, up 15.7% year-over-year. For condo-townhouse units, it was $306,500, up 21.6% year-over-year. It isn’t a bubble in the classic sense- no one is panic buying. Prices are climbing, even though sales are falling.
As all of you know, we have been looking for a new home. Talking to real estate people, they say that sales are still strong. One agent I spoke with told me that he normally closes one or two homes a month, but has gotten contracts on two homes in the first six days of February already.
People are fleeing Florida’s cities for its smaller towns. The hottest markets right now are:
- Marco Island: A community where a million dollar home is on the poor side of town and a condo will cost you $700k. Condos are reaching $600 a square foot!
- Venice: This is where a house will cost you between $600k and a million, and mobile homes go for $150k. Can you imagine paying $150 a square foot for a trailer?
- Dunedin: Another expensive beach town where condos sell for more than $200 a square foot.
So all of this is putting pressure on the people at the low to mid end of the economic spectrum. Housing prices are skyrocketing. That is why IMO, there is a huge push for people getting out of the Democrat controlled cities and into smaller towns.
The huge influx of people from liberal northern states and the shift of more conservative locals into small towns is going to change Florida’s electoral landscape in 2024. What it will do is anyone’s guess. I’m guessing that the liberal cities will become larger and more spread out, which will make the liberal areas expand, while the smaller towns will see less of an impact. Still, Floridians tend to be a funny lot. Time will tell.