South Florida’s legal and lifestyle amenities tempt the intrepid.
When money is no object, and the world literally is your oyster, settling down doesn’t necessarily mean sizing down. In fact, it can mean reaching for the ultimate experience of a lifetime by trying on a new country like a new suit of clothes. However, many of those who wanted to answer their spirit of adventure by moving to distant vistas, and had the where with-all to do so, have, in the end, found Florida to be their best bet.
Interestingly enough, according to a recent article in Nomad Capitalist, of the expats who embraced their new countries and stayed for five years or more, 9% said they would be likely to return home. However, for those overseas less than a year, a whopping 25% said they would be likely to return home.
For better or worse, many ex-expats are joining Florida’s ceaseless population explosion of new residents. In addition to people fleeing to the warmer tropic and sub-tropical weather of Florida from its sister northern states and emigrants from multiple continents, Florida is also experiencing an influx of wealthy expats who have decided there really is no place like home. In this post, we’ll tell you who they are, where they’re coming from, and what parts of the Sunshine State they are now moving to.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau the number of people moving to Florida was higher than the national average, while the number of people moving out of the state was much lower than average. Included in the flood of domestic and overseas new-arrivals is a significant number of extremely wealthy soon-to-be residents. What do we mean by ‘extremely wealthy?’ This is a somewhat relative term, but the data points to what are known as high-net-worth individuals, which are defined as “hard-working millionaires, investors, and entrepreneurs who have over $1 million in wealth.”
Destination preferences of a well-heeled population
These high-net-worth migratory individuals are part of a large and growing global trend. According to a report by MigrationPolicy.org, the amount of people with a net worth over $1 million moving internationally more than doubled between 2013 and 2018, from 51,000 to 110,000 and more than 125,000 transnational millionaires made the move in 2023.
People leave their countries for a variety of reasons, including political upheaval and the impacts of climate change. Additionally, most millionaires globally, especially those coming from developing countries, look to more developed countries like the U.S., Canada, and the UK because of better wealth growth opportunities, personal security, and low crime rates.
Topping the list of countries that have seen the largest net outflow of people include Russia, which saw 15,000 millionaires leave the country, China, with 10,000 of its wealthy leaving, as well as Hong Kong (3,000), Ukraine (2,800), Brazil (2,500), and the UK (1,500). While not all of those came to the U.S., or specifically, Florida, it does show how much wealth is being moved around the world.
The individuals who can afford it, seek political stability, preferential tax treatment, a suitable climate, and the ability to have more control over their wealth. They also want the ease of starting a business, as well as attractive retirement options, and Florida’s business-friendly climate and reputation as a retirement destination certainly fits the bill.
Bringing in foreign investors can be a boon to local economies. Wealthy individuals tend to not be a drain on the economy as they are more likely to purchase real estate, invest in expensive hobbies, toys, and sports, and start businesses, all of which creates jobs for U.S. workers. That’s why many state and federal governments have created programs that make it easier for high-net-worth individuals to acquire citizenship. One way is through residence by investment programs, also known as “golden visas.” Such programs allow the applicant to get a permanent residency visa for a country by making an investment in it, such as purchasing property or investing in an existing business.
Florida’s EB-5 Program
Florida does something similar. The EB-5 program offers a path to permanent residency by investing in local real estate, but there are stringent guidelines. Investors must invest at least $500,000, create at least 10 jobs, and keep the investment active for at least five years. Ideally this property should be a condominium, apartment building or townhome in the pre- or early development stage. They must also form a Limited Liability Limited Partnership (LLLP). After about two years, they will receive a temporary Green Card, with the possibility of getting an unconditional permanent Green Card later.
Where they are headed, and what makes them stay
One of the Florida cities wealthy expats are flocking to is Miami, which was ranked as the tenth best city for expats. According to InterNations, the South Florida coastal city ranked 12th out of 50 global cities as being a great place for expats to live and work abroad. New York City ranked 16th.
Miami also topped the Expat Network’s list of the best cities in Florida for expats. Also on the list are Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Gainesville, and Cape Coral.
Not unsurprisingly, the perks that make Florida irresistible to wealthy non-American citizens are the same things that are bringing expats back. Their real estate investors are enthusiastic about the vibrant market; their real estate lawyers appreciate the ease of Florida business starts-ups, favorable tax laws and tax-free incomes; and their real estate agents appreciate Florida’s availability of a plethora of luxury domiciles. And, oh yes—everybody loves its miles and miles of beautiful beaches.
Contact Florida Bar Board-Certified Attorneys David E. Klein, Esq. and Guy Rabideau at Rabideauklein.com. They have the expertise and experience you need to ensure that your interests are protected throughout your real estate transactions across South Florida and throughout the state. Contact Rabideau Klein today to discuss the legal implications of your next Florida property transaction.