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The greater Tampa Bay region is a prime destination in the post-pandemic migration to Florida

Lakewood Ranch sign on the grass
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Brian Tresidder, president of the Sarasota/Manatee Realtors Association, said the explosive growth of Lakewood Ranch has contributed to the booming population in Manatee County.

The president of the Sarasota/Manatee Realtors Association attributes it to the number of people moving to Florida following the pandemic.

That great migration to Florida you've heard about is real. And the Tampa Bay region is a prime destination for new residents.

Last year, the U.S. Census Bureau said Florida is the fastest growing state in the country for the first time since the 1950s.

Now, new census data shows that from Pasco County to the north, Sarasota and Manatee to the south, and Polk to the east, population is growing in the greater Tampa Bay region.

From 2020 to 2022, Pasco County saw a 7.5% increase, Hernando had a 5.8% increase, and Citrus had a 5.2% increase.

To the south, Manatee saw a 6.9% increase and Sarasota saw 6 percent population growth, while to the east, Polk grew by 7.9%.

Brian Tresidder, president of the Sarasota/Manatee Realtors Association, said the pandemic seems to have convinced people in the north to accelerate their Florida retirement plans.

"Where it used to be in five or six years, maybe they would want to buy a property and move to Florida," Trasidder said. "When the lockdown happened, and people started working remotely, we saw a lot of those people decide that that was the time that they were going to get to where they wanted to be and start enjoying life in Florida.

Tresidder said you can actually see the effects of the post-pandemic population boom.

"The developers that are requesting or applying for density changes so they can put up more units. And then in our area east of the highway is just going crazy. And just new community after new community." said Tresidder.

"And then you hear that they're adding on to Lakewood Ranch, and it's going to be another 5,000 homes. And so I would say more so in that area, you really see the changes."

Tresidder said that rising interest rates have cooled the real estate market some, with transactions down 30-40%. But, he said, home prices are holding.

"I would still call our real estate market healthy," Tresidder said. "It's still a seller's market. We still have more buyers wanting to live here than we do people that are trying to sell their properties.

I started my journalism career delivering the Toledo Blade newspaper on my bike.
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