During the second half of the 20th century, Florida added residents at an incredible clip. Attracted by the state's warm weather, abundant golf courses and miles of beaches, these new arrivals contributed to an ongoing property boom that created millions of jobs and supported the state's economy for decades. Although the property boom has cooled considerably in the wake of the financial crisis brought on by the so-called "housing bust," the state's leaders express optimism that Florida could once again attract large numbers of new arrivals. Many retirees from colder places like Illinois, Michigan and New York continue to purchase or rent property within Florida's borders.
One of the major perks of life in Florida is the state's favorable tax climate. Most of the state's counties and municipalities derive the bulk of their operating revenues from property taxes. Although they may vary by locality, Florida's income and sales taxes are generally low in comparison to those of other states. This encourages consumption and makes property ownership affordable for the average Floridian.
Of course, the state's relatively high property tax burden makes home ownership slightly more expensive relative to lower-cost states. In Florida, property tax rates vary from county to county. Certain jurisdictions may issue property-tax rebates or administer other incentives with the aim of boosting rates of home ownership within their borders. Individuals who are interested in purchasing property within a specific Florida county should check with that jurisdiction's housing authority to learn more about these potential incentives.
Whereas the older subdivisions favored by the initial wave of arrivals were clustered close to older "core" cities like Miami and Tampa, the newer subdivisions that cropped up during the 1990s and 2000s were often located miles from an urban center. In fact, many of these communities functioned as standalone cities. A substantial number of them were located in former citrus fields or on once-wild stretches of oceanfront property. These days, most of Florida's unprotected beachfront real estate has been developed into condominium complexes and clusters of single-family homes.
Unfortunately, Florida's notoriously unpredictable weather can make property insurance particularly expensive in its low-lying "flood zones." Insurance on any newly-built houses that lie within a flood zone may cost many thousands of dollars per year. Homeowner's insurance premiums on homes with direct beachfront access may be equal to 5 percent of the assessed property's value. For homes that lie outside of a recognized flood zone, annual premiums are likely to be between 1 to 2 percent of the assessed property's value.