Floridian transplants fleeing in droves over relentless heat, damaging hurricanes

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The grass is apparently not greener in Florida.

Thousands of Floridian transplants who moved to the Sunshine State during the pandemic are packing up to move elsewhere, complaining of the relentless heat, damaging hurricanes and dangerous wildlife.

More than 700,000 people drawn by the promise of sunny weather, no income tax and lower costs moved to Florida in 2022 — including 90,000 from New York state, according to census data cited by NBC News.

Almost 500,000 people who moved to Florida in search of a better life have decided to move out after becoming disillusioned with the Sunshine state in 2022. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

But nearly 500,000 gave up with Florida and left in 2022, according to NBC News, which interviewed several disillusioned transplants who decided to head back North.

One of them was New Yorker Louis Rotkowitz, who lasted two years in the state.

“Like every good New Yorker, this is where you want to go,” the physician told NBC News by phone while driving to his new home in Charlotte, North Carolina. “It’s a complete fallacy.”

Rotkowitz said he and his wife bought a home in the West Palm Beach area, where they decided to pursue a more relaxing, affordable life.

He landed a job as an emergency care doctor and his wife became a teacher.

But Rotkowitz soon realized they had made a mistake.

Some have called the dream of moving to Florida “a complete fallacy.” MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY / USA TODAY NETWORK

“I had a good salary, but we were barely making ends meet. We had zero quality of life,” he told the outlet.

The doc said the traffic commute was a nightmare, the cost of their homeowners association fees had doubled and he felt unsafe after the state passed a law allowing people to carry guns without a license.

“Everyone is walking around with guns there,” he told NBC News. “I consider myself a conservative guy, but if you want to carry a gun you should be licensed — there should be some sort of process.”

More than 90,000 New Yorkers moved to Florida in 2022, according to census data MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jodi Cummins, who moved to the Palm Beach area from Connecticut in 2021, shared a similar story.

“It wasn’t the utopia on any level that I thought it would be,” Cummings, told the outlet. “I thought Florida would be an easier lifestyle, I thought the pace would be a little bit quieter, I thought it would be warmer.

“I didn’t expect it to be literally 100 degrees at night. It was incredibly difficult to make friends, and it was expensive, very expensive,” she said, adding that she thought she’d make more money as a private chef due to the lack of income tax.

Traffic and HOA fees have been a headache for new Floridians. TIM SHORTT/ FLORIDA TODAY / USA TODAY NETWORK

Homeowners insurance rates in Florida spiked 42% last year to an average of $6,000 a year and car insurance is more than 50% higher than the national average, according to NBC News, which cited the Insurance Information Institute.

Florida also is among the more expensive states to buy a home — with prices up 60% since 2020 to an average of $388,500, according to Zillow.

After six months, Cummins decided she had enough with the high costs of car insurance, rent and food, as well as the traffic and searing temps.

The struggle to make ends meet after moving to Florida has sent some new residents packing. TIM SHORTT/ FLORIDA TODAY / USA TODAY NETWORK

“I had been so disenchanted with Florida so quickly,” she told NBC News. “There was this feeling of confusion and guilt about wanting to leave, of moving there then realizing this is not anything like I thought it would be.”

Meanwhile, Barb Carter has decided to head back to Kansas after a year of living in Florida, where she sold her home in the Orlando area at a $40,000 loss and left behind her children and grandkids.

Among the reasons she cited were an armadillo infestation that caused $9,000 in damages, Hurricane Ian – which destroyed the roof on her 62nd birthday — and an inability to find a surgeon to remove a tumor from her liver.

“So many people ask, ‘Why would you move back to Kansas?’ I tell them all the same thing — you’ve got to take your vacation goggles off,” Carter told the outlet.

“For me, it was very falsely promoted. Once living there, I thought, you know, this isn’t all you guys have cracked this up to be, at all,” she said.

Connecticut transplant Veronica Blaski said rising costs drove her out of Florida less than three years after she and her husband decided to move to the Sunshine State.

At the start of the pandemic, he  was offered a job making more money as a manager for a landscaping company and she looked forward to the weather and a more comfortable lifestyle.

But at the beginning of 2023, Blaski said, the couple was hit with a “bulldozer” of costs.

Her homeowners insurance company threatened to drop her coverage if she didn’t replace their roof, a $16,000 to $30,000 job.

She also was expecting her home insurance rates to double, faced mounting property taxes and their homeowners association fees jumped from $326 to $480 a month, according to the report.

Her husband took a second job on weekends to cover the spiraling costs.

“My little part-time job making $600, $700 a month went to paying either car insurance or homeowners insurance, and forget about groceries,” Blaski, who worked in retail, told NBC News.

“There are all these hidden things that people don’t know about. Make sure you have extra money saved somewhere because you will need it,” she added.

When her husband’s former boss in Connecticut asked if he’d be willing to return, the couple jumped at the opportunity to put Florida in their rear-view mirror.

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