Florida was home to the nation's fastest growing metro area from 2013 to 2014, according to new U.S. Census Bureau metropolitan statistical area, micropolitan statistical area and county population estimates released today.
The Villages, located to the west of the Orlando metro area, grew by 5.4 percent between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, to reach a population of about 114,000. State population estimates released in December revealed that Florida had become the nation's third most populous state. Today's estimates show Florida's growth to reach this milestone was propelled by numerous metro areas and counties within the state.
Florida contained seven of the nation's top 50 numerically gaining metro areas between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, and these areas accounted for more than three-quarters of the state's population gain over the period:
In addition, eight counties within these metro areas were among 50 counties nationwide that gained the most population between 2013 and 2014. Collectively, these counties accounted for more than half of the state's population gain over the period:
Furthermore, six metro areas in Florida were among the 20 fastest-growing in the nation between 2013 and 2014. In addition to The Villages, they were Cape Coral-Fort Myers (sixth), Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island (10th), Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (16th), North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (18th) and Panama City (19th).
"Florida's ascension, revealed when the 2014 state population estimates were released last December, was a significant demographic milestone for our country," Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. "These county and metro area estimates provide a more detailed picture of how this happened, showing growth in areas such as central and southern Florida."Migration to Florida from other states and abroad was heavy enough to overcome the fact that in about half the state's counties, there were more deaths than births over the 2013 to 2014 period.
The beautiful weather in Florida seems to be drawing more and more Americans, with the Sunshine State climbing the ranks of most populous states and fastest-growing cities.
New data released from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that The Villages, Florida, ranked as the nation's fastest-growing metro area last year, with the city west of Orlando boasting a 5.4 percent increase in population between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014. This comes as Florida became the nation's third most-populous state in December, taking over the spot once held by New York.
But it's not just The Villages, which grew to a population of about 114,000, the Census Bureau said. The growth is driven by increases in the state's metroplexes in areas such as central and southern Florida, Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. Six Florida metro areas were among the 20 fastest-growing: The Villages, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton and Panama City.
Florida has been long known for retirees, beaches and vacationers. The influx of new residents was enough to offset the fact that there were more deaths than births in about half of the state's counties, the Census Bureau said. Florida averaged 803 new residents each day between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, growing by 293,000 to reach 19.9 million during that time period, census data released in December showed.
New York went up by 51,000 to 19.7 million during that same period.
A few more beach towns and cities in the West make up most of the top five fastest-growing cities by percent growth: Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach metroplex in South Carolina and North Carolina at 3.2 percent; the Austin-Round Rock area in Texas at 3 percent; Odessa, Texas, at 2.9 percent; and St. George, Utah, at 2.9 percent.
Texas snagged the top spots in both numerical increase by person for counties and metro areas.
Harris County, Texas, leads the nation in population growth by person, with the county surrounding Houston adding 89,000 people between July 2013 and 2014, followed by Maricopa County, Arizona, with 74,000 and Los Angeles County with 63,000.
The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area was also the top in metro area numerical increase with 156,371 people added between 2013 and 2014, followed by the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area with a 131,217-person increase and the New York-Newark-Jersey City-Pennsylvania area with a 90,797-person increase.
By percentage, Williams County, North Dakota, remained the nation's fastest-growing county with a population of more than 10,000 people. It increased by 8.7 percent from 2013 to 2014, followed by Stark County, North Dakota, at 7 percent; Sumter County, Florida, at 5.4 percent; Pickens County, Alabama, at 5.1 percent; and Hays County, Texas, at 4.8 percent.
The Census Bureau also said:
—California was the nation's most populous state in 2014, with 38.8 million residents. Texas came in second at 27 million.
—Los Angeles County had the nation's largest population with more than 10.1 million people.
—New York was the nation's largest metro area, with about 20.1 million people.
—Detroit was still losing people. Wayne County, Michigan, has the nation's largest numerical decline at just less than 11,000. The next closest county? Cuyahoga County, Ohio; the county including Cleveland lost slightly more than 4,000 people.
The bank tells its clients that U.S. prices are expected to continue an upward trend in Florida, along with Arizona and other popular Canadians vacation property areas.
"U.S. housing is inexpensive when viewed through the lens of international real estate," says Jack Ablin, chief investment officer with BMO. "Residential real estate in Florida and Arizona is roughly two-to-three times median incomes. That is about half the valuation of many of America's trading partners."
Overall, U.S. house prices have increased 19 percent in the past two years, BMO says – but they're only about halfway back to their 2006 peak.
The median home price in Florida is $169,400. In comparison, the median home price for major centers in Canada is roughly $230,192 when converted to U.S. currency.
Traditional Canadian Winter destinations remain affordable. Compared to their peaks, prices in Tampa, Miami, Phoenix and Las Vegas have yet to retrace half of their losses.
Sal Guatieri, senior economist, BMO Capital Markets, notes that all the regions, except Miami, were considered highly affordable in 2014 when comparing median prices with median family income; Miami was considered modestly affordable.
"With the American economy and employment gaining strength, home sales and prices should continue to rise," says Guatieri. "We expect prices to increase about 4 percent this year, and we look for the U.S. greenback to strengthen modestly further against the Canadian dollar in 2015 before weakening next year."
Florida continues to be a hotspot with Canadians – the largest foreign buyers of Florida housing. More than 500,000 Canadians currently own real estate in Florida. Popular areas include Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Orlando-Kissimmee, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Palm Beach, Cape Coral-Ft. Myers, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Naples-Marco Island.
Jerry Bevers, regional mortgage manager of BMO Harris Bank in Florida and Arizona, advises that those interested in purchasing U.S. properties should consider financing the new purchase with a financial institution in the U.S. – preferably a Canadian-based bank with branches south of the border. "The process of purchasing a home and acquiring a mortgage in the U.S. is quite different than in Canada."
BMO offers the following tips for Canadians buyers:
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