October 04, 2019

We live in a popular place. Charlotte, Sarasota areas rank in top 5 places to move, report says

By: Vicki Parsons - IT


Sep 24, 2019

A move to Charlotte County must be a smart one — or at least a popular one — because a lot of people are doing it.

The Punta Gorda metropolitan statistical area, which includes all of Charlotte County, recently took the number three spot on a list of the top 20 U.S. MSAs to where people are relocating.

The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton MSA ranked fifth.

The list was put together by Business Insider, an American financial and business news website, based on the highest net migration between 2010 and 2018 using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates program.

For the Punta Gorda metro area, there was a net migration of 36,551 between 2010 and 2018 — 22.8% of the metro’s 2010 population of 159,978.

For the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area, there was a net migration of 140,889 between 2010 and 2018 — 20.1% of the metro’s 2010 population of 702,281.

So what makes these areas so popular?

For the Punta Gorda metro area

“We know that people are moving here to enjoy an affordable waterfront community, educational opportunities for all ages, downtown Punta Gorda, boating, golf, biking and so much more,” said Julie Mathis, executive director with the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce.

More apartment complexes and single-family homes are being built in the region, according to Mathis, adding to the county’s appeal.

“In the last few years, we’ve seen new apartment complexes and construction of single-family homes,” Mathis said. “Babcock Ranch is booming and trees are being cleared in West Port (formerly Murdock Village) for additional single- and multi-family development. Clearly there’s ‘something for everyone’ in terms of housing and lifestyle in Charlotte County.”

About one in three people who visit the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor Information Center are either seeking relocation information or have just moved to the area, according to Wendie Vestfall, tourism director for the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitor & Convention Bureau

“Curiosity and desire to experience a Florida destination they haven’t explored is one of the allures of Charlotte County. Potential visitors hear more about the destination, either through articles, social media posts, our marketing efforts, or Allegiant flights, and want to see the area for themselves,” Vestfall said.

It’s no surprise to the city of Punta Gorda that the area has become such a highly-noted destination.

“Punta Gorda has so much to offer for residents and visitors, including boating, fishing, sailing, bicycling and miles of pathways,” said Punta Gorda spokesperson Melissa Reichert. “This type of growth requires proper planning to preserve the community character. Punta Gorda residents are committed to preserving and enhancing the small town charm of the city.”

The county has seen a boost in activity for all housing communities, according to Brian Gleason, Charlotte County spokesperson.

“We’re seeing increases in building permit activity across the county in every category: gated communities, subdivisions and infill in mature neighborhoods,” Gleason said. “The growth is coming from large developments like Babcock Ranch, subdivisions like South Gulf Cove, apartment complexes like the Springs at Port Charlotte and infill construction in areas of Port Charlotte, Deep Creek, Rotonda, Englewood and more.”

From 2010 to 2018, Gleason said, the county grew in all types of housing, including townhomes and apartments.

“Developments that were impacted by the 2007-2008 housing crisis have been resold and resurrected,” Gleason said. “Housing types that were rarely seen here at the turn of the century, such as apartment complexes, have recently become a larger part of the county’s housing mix.

“Charlotte County’s natural beauty, warm climate, gulf beaches, Charlotte Harbor, abundant recreational opportunities, attractive housing options and prices all combine to make the county an appealing places to visit and live.”

For the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro area

Included as part of North Port is the West Villages, which is one of the fastest-growing, master-planned communities in the country.

The master-planned community has several developments with more in the works, a new marketplace due to open in November, and CoolToday Park, the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves.

Earlier this year, the West Villages ranked fourth as one of the fastest-growing master-planned communities in the U.S., according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

West Villages President Rick Severance credits the allure of the area.

“(It’s) the proximity to the attributes to employment and the location,” Severance said.

Not only is there an economic corridor, but it’s also the beaches nearby that draw people to the area. Severance also mentioned the individual communities appealing to potential homeowners.

Severance said people are moving from all over the U.S., though the largest percentage of people moving to the area may be surprising.

“There is a large percentage coming from Florida,” he said.

He added that the West Villages also sees a large influx of people from the midwest and New England.

The people moving to the West Villages involves mostly early retirees and empty-nesters, followed by families.

“We’re seeing a significant number of families, it could be the schools and the amenities,” Severance said.

The No. 1 spot … The Villages

The Villages, near Ocala, had a net migration of 43,639 between 2010 and 2018 — 46.7% of the metro’s 2010 population of 93,420.

Business Insider ranked the metro areas based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates program.

Net migration refers to measuring how many people moved into a metro area from some other part of the country, or another country, minus those who left the metro area during that same span of time.