PALM BEACH, Fla. - — Florida is on the rise after an influx of Northerners is leaving behind lockdowns and restrictions for South Florida's sunshine.
"It's like going to a different planet, it's that different," said Jean Shafiroff, who is from New York City.
Jean and her husband came down to Florida in January for a 17-day vacation, but the couple from New York is still here and now looking at real estate to stay permanently.
"Unfortunately, New York has been in a long lockdown. Restaurants are starting to open, but it's cold and it's hard to see friends, and it's just a lot nicer down here," Jean said.
Jean is part of the mass exodus out of the Northeast looking to call South Florida home. Businesses are also leaving the Big Apple, signing long leases and opening up in Rosemary Square in West Palm Beach, and trading Fifth Avenue for Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.
"Single-family home residences they have quadrupled in Palm Beach County since last year and condominiums doubled," said Dottie Herman, CEO of Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
Herman said rentals are also hard to come by, and COVID is pushing more northerners south to the warmer climate and lower taxes.
"What you see now with people working remote are people that wouldn't normally be able to stay are staying," said Herman, who added that house prices are still rising and the inventory is shrinking.
Jean and her husband can both work virtually, so she's ready to leave behind New York's restrictions for good.
"Down here you have the great weather and you feel so free," Jean said.