A rising tide of migrants from out of state over the past three years brought new construction, new families, and new economic vigor to Southwest Florida. In the Fort-Myers-Cape Coral area, 32,784 people moved here in 2012 from out of state--while only 17,745 moved to a different state: a net in-flow of 235 people per 10,000 residents.
The most direct effect showed up in the real estate market, with an increase in sales of homes to people who planned to live here. In the depths of the hard times (2009-2011) the only buyers were investors, foreigners or Northerners buying second homes. These people weren't ready to change residency at least until they retired.
Strong as they are, the migration numbers locally don't compare to the heyday of the economic boom. Last year Lee County grew by just over 5,000 people. Compare that to 2001 to 2007, when the county grew by an average of 25,000 people each year.
Tom: We predict that 2013, and well into the future will show more people moving to the area, and our county umemployment rate will keep dropping at a faster rate than the national unemployment rate. Florida just offers too many financial and Quality of Life benefits for people not to want to live here.