Joel Freudman and his wife moved from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale in 2022.
A millennial moved from Canada to Florida in part for the weather and cheaper housing.But he said high healthcare costs and the state’s abortion ban have raised concerns.Florida was the fastest-growing US state between 2021 and 2022.
Joel Freudman and his wife visited Florida many times during their childhoods. But when the Canadians vacationed in the state two years ago, they decided that this time, they’d stick around.
In February 2022, they traveled to the Sunshine State to escape the Toronto winter and the tail end of the city’s COVID-19 lockdowns, Freudman said. They planned to work remotely in Florida untill the end of March.
But their plans soon changed.
“Within a month, we were looking into Florida neighborhoods and were going to either rent long-term or buy,” the 38-year-old told Business Insider.
They decided to buy a home in the Fort Lauderdale area, and by that August, they’d said goodbye to Toronto.
Freudman is one of many people who have moved to Florida in recent years. The state’s population grew 1.9% from 2021 to 2022, according to Census Bureau estimates, making it the fastest-growing state in the country. Warm weather, more affordable housing, and the lack of a state income tax are among the perks drawing movers to Florida. But some newcomers say there are also downsides to the Sunshine State, including high insurance and healthcare costs, severe weather, and a “vacation feel” that eventually wears off.
While Freudman and his wife Eva don’t regret their move, he said they’re torn on whether they want to stay in Florida long-term, particularly if they have children.
Business Insider asked him what the biggest pros and cons have been of his Canada-to-Florida move.
Florida has warm weather, cheaper housing, and is good for business
Freudman said the weather is the biggest edge Florida has over Canada.
“The colorful environment in South Florida, compared to the cold, sunless gray of Toronto during winter, is a game changer,” he said, adding, “My wife loves going for a beach walk most mornings.”
Florida has also been beneficial for his career. Freudman, the founder of a merchant bank, said South Florida is filled with “great small businesses and entrepreneurs” that he’s been able to connect with. Florida had the third-highest rate of new business formations per capita in 2022, according to the Economic Innovation Group.
While housing in the Fort Lauderdale area is more expensive than in some areas of the US, Freudman said it’s generally more affordable than in Toronto. The typical Toronto home costs about $816,000 compared to $784,000 in Fort Lauderdale, and it’s even cheaper in Wilton Manors, the Fort Lauderdale “suburb” where the couple technically resides.
Freudman also looks forward to benefiting from Florida’s lack of a state income tax in the years ahead. He said other pros of the Fort Lauderdale area include the fresh seafood, the safe community, and the accessibility to Miami.
High living costs and conservative policies have raised concerns
While housing may be more affordable in Fort Lauderdale, Freudman said many things cost more than they did in Toronto.
“Groceries, restaurants, tradespeople, etc. are all more expensive, plus in our case, property taxes and definitely healthcare are way more costly,” he said. Canada has a universal healthcare system funded by taxes.
South Florida also isn’t walkable, Freudman added, so owning a car is a “must.”
He said homelessness, gun violence, and income equality are more prevalent in Florida than Canada, and that some of its more conservative policies — particularly its six-week abortion ban — seem like “serious steps backward.” He said he and his wife are also worried about what impact another Donald Trump presidency might have on the US.
“It does cause us to question whether to have children while in Florida, and whether to raise them there longer-term,” Freudman said, “or whether to return to Canada for schooling with ‘Canadian values.’ That’s an ongoing discussion.”
But for now, Freudman said the pros of Florida outweigh the cons.
“It’s not cheap,” he said. “But the quality of life upgrade is well worth it.”
Have you recently moved to a new state and are willing to share your story? Reach out to this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org.