— Steve’s Marketplace —
Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
People are tired of crowds, of high taxes, of lousy weather.
So they are voting with their feet and moving out, mostly to the south. The Covid-19 virus has only accelerated these moves.
Last month alone, people from Arizona and Colorado and California bought houses/properties in Nassau County. As did people from Iowa, Idaho, New Mexico, Minnesota and Wisconsin – and even Honolulu, Hawaii, according to property records.
And it’s not just people. It’s businesses too, especially in the financial industry. As many as 10 major financial-services companies are seriously eying moves to Florida, mostly to South Florida. In North Florida alone, however, Deutsche Bank and Fidelity Investments and Merrill Lynch are operating robustly on Gate Boulevard in Jacksonville.
One of the 10 financial services firms looking in Florida is titan Goldman Sachs. The New York-based company is considering moving its asset-management division to Palm Beach. As well, Elliott Management Corp., the $41 billion hedge fund of billionaire Paul Singer, is likely to move its headquarters to West Palm Beach.
Turning the West Palm Beach-to-Miami corridor into a financial powerhouse has been a longstanding ambition. Billionaire Carl Icahn has already relocated his asset-management firm to Florida, and premier firm Citadel is supposed to open an office in Miami next year.
As more firms move here, it could create a snowball effect. Hence, the catch phrase of “Wall Street South.” Many financial firms are tired of Manhattan anyway, with the congestion, costs, hassles. And, oh yes, being packed into a confined area with a problematic virus lingering.
“For so many executives who had a glimmer in their eye to move out of Manhattan a while ago,” says one Wall Street executive, “Covid was the icing on the cake.”
Of the list of people moving to Nassau last month, 13 households came from New York. Also, quite a few are moving here from Illinois, Maryland and Ohio. And a surprising number of these newcomers are locating in rural Bryceville, Callahan and Hilliard.
Many of the states losing residents have locked down their people and businesses over the virus. As of today, New York City again closed dining inside restaurants. You wonder how many can survive in this predicament.
Manhattan is pretty much a ghost town right now. And to add salt to the wound of inactivity, business owners in nearby Queens are still upset over losing the planned Amazon headquarters (for the east coast).
“Almost two years after Amazon pulled out from a proposal to build a massive headquarters along the Queens waterfront, the site is a vacant eyesore — and, to many locals, the squandered economic opportunity is even more painful amid the coronavirus pandemic,” the New York Post wrote. The Post called the vacant site “the scar that won’t heal.”
The virus has reshaped how we live, work and socialize. And it’s exposed vulnerabilities and shortcomings of places like New York City. They say the moving trucks show up there daily, heading in only one direction. Out of town, out of New York.
To attractive destinations like sunny, vibrant, inexpensive Florida.
Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor with a major brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. He has published a book of his favorite columns, “All About Money,” which is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. His columns also appear in newspapers in North Florida and South Georgia, as well as on his website at www.SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected]