What Central Florida's Population Growth Reveals About U.S. Real Estate Trends

Big trends—a geographic shift back to the suburban and exurban areas and a "silver tsunami"—are apparent in population figures for two Florida locations.

1 minute read

April 24, 2019, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

The Villages, Florida

Peter Titmuss / Shutterstock

Patrick Sisson provides analysis of the 2018 populations estimates released but the U.S. Census Bureau earlier this week and produces a perhaps surprising angle: Florida is the model for the country's real estate trends.

After noting the usual suspects of fast growing cities in Texas, Idaho, and Utah, Sisson finds two informative case studies in Florida as snapshots of U.S. demographic and development trends.

The first, Lakeland-Winter Haven, a more remote, exurban, and rural area of former citrus groves between Tampa and Orlando, represents a geographic shift. Despite urban growth, especially in mid-tier cities, suburban and even exurban growth has bounced back since the Great Recession.

Second is a planned community called The Villages.

Arguably the country’s most successful and influential planned community, The Villages is a rapidly expanding senior living center that is already as large geographically as the island of Manhattan, with plans to expand after buying 8,300 more acres earlier this month. It’s indicative of the “silver tsunami” soon to sweep the country, and its housing market.

Sisson digs into each of these examples in much greater detail about each of the specific locations, while connecting to larger points about the Central Florida region, buoyed by Tampa and Orlando.

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