PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A recent report in The New York Post claims Florida might as well be known as the sixth borough of New York City.
According to new data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 33,565 New York residents got Florida driver's licenses between September of last year and March of this year.
That's a 32% increase from the same period the year before.
The picture-perfect views, waking up to palm trees and Florida's loose restrictions during the pandemic are just a few reasons Nicole Rascionato decided to move to Palm Beach County from New York.
"I feel free here compared to back at home where that's not happening, at least not yet," Rascionato said.
Rascionato spent her whole life in New York, but last week she made the move to Delray Beach with her two young boys.
"When I heard Florida schools were open and able to go to the classroom and be in person I fell in love with that," she said.
New numbers from Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows nearly 34,000 New Yorkers switched out their New York driver's license for a Florida one between September 2020 and March 2021, which has helped fuel the housing boom in South Florida.
"It hasn't slowed down one iota," said Andrew Levy, a real estate agent with Echo Fine Properties.
Many of Levy's clients are New Yorkers looking for more elbow room, and they're fleeing the city because of COVID and looking for lower taxes.
"The no income tax is a very significant break from New York. So, if you live in Manhattan you have city tax, state tax and federal tax," Levy said.
Levy told WPTV the demand is still high and supply low, the market remains a strong seller's market. He said New Yorkers continue to scoop up properties sight unseen and are offering more than the asking price.
"I understand why," said Rascionato, who is clearly happy with her decision to move south. "I feel like things in Florida have been moving forward instead of going backwards, and I feel like in New York that things are staying stagnant."
Florida officials said many parents chose to relocate their families to the Sunshine State so their children could take part in full-time, in-person learning.
At just more than 14,000 people, the data showed that more New York residents moved to Palm Beach County than any other county in Florida from September to March.
New York was by far the No. 1 source of Florida transplants. New Jersey came in second, followed by Georgia, Illinois, and California.