Is Florida's Infrastructure System Making the Grade Against Population Growth

Gayle Kurtzer-Meyers
Miami, FloridaPhoto byAndras Vas on UnsplashonUnsplash

Infrastructure strategies crucial to real estate population growth

People have been flocking to the Sunshine State for years because of its mild weather, beaches, low taxes, and business-friendly regulations. As a result, the population is predicted to grow by 1.34% in 2023, bringing an additional 310,000 new residents to the area. But approximately 95% of apartments are already occupied. The state expects to attract 2.5 million newcomers within ten years.

Florida is used to pronounced population growth, but there are some concerns about whether the infrastructure can handle it. The following strategies are critical for managing the development and maintaining the benefits Florida offers to its residents.
Miami Beach, FloridaPhoto byRio Silverio Gonzalez

The American Society of Civil Engineers gives Florida high scores for the overall condition of its ports and bridges. Still, the last report card warns of risks from aging levees and dams. However, I have not witnessed much change as of this date.

Residents are inconvenienced and concerned. Infrastructure plays a role in real estate deals.

"It is one hot mess here with Interstate 4 traffic. It takes me 45 minutes longer to get to work than two years ago."- Ken Greene, Central Florida resident.

Roads, highways, and transportation

Florida’s transportation system is diverse, but if it doesn’t grow, gridlock in the state will be similar to the traffic levels in Los Angeles or Washington, DC. Fortunately, the Department of Transportation is committed to serving the community’s needs.

" It is like a parking lot on Highway 301 these days. And the number of pot holes on backroads is insane." - S. Ferguson, Florida native

In June 2022, Governor Desantis passed the Freedom First Budget, which provides $12.6 billion in funding for transportation projects within the next five years, including adding new lanes to existing roads, repairing roads and bridges, and enhancing rail, transit, seaport, and aviation infrastructure.

Improved infrastructures will help with increased population and the mobility of residential traffic flow. Residents will have an easier time getting around and make previously isolated areas more accessible. It also offers significant benefits for commercial real estate. Warehousing and transportation are necessary to maintain industrial activities, and enhancing infrastructure should increase demand for commercial sectors, such as retail property and multi-family residential homes.


Although Florida faces a housing shortage, there are strategies to improve the problem. Providing more housing will put a roof over more people’s heads and drive home prices down.

In 2020, the government passed a law allowing properties previously zoned as commercial to have exemptions for conversion to residential purposes. This change provided buyers with options without going through the hassle of rezoning. For example, St. Petersburg transformed a lumberyard into a 264-apartment complex, providing affordable homes in an area previously used for commercial purposes. In Sarasota, provisions encourage builders to create affordable housing instead of mixed-use developments.
Coral Gables, FloridaPhoto byJoe L.

In many cities, vacant shopping malls are prime locations for building new homes. Commercial properties are typically surrounded by parking lots, providing open building land. In addition, they’re often on major roads and close to schools and amenities. As a result, current community members are often willing to transform vacant retail spaces into attractive and valuable residential communities without much pushback.

Open land is less expensive to build on than property in urban areas. Therefore, some communities are making it easier for builders to develop dense housing communities in rural areas and empty farmland.

Regulations are often adjusted to accommodate denser development in areas with limited open land. For example, some cities consider permitting multi-family housing in areas currently zoned for single-family properties. Other locations allow building cottage homes and in-law apartments in dense regions.

Impact fees are also a concern. These are costs that developers pay at the time a building permit is issued and cover the additional services that new homes would require, such as schools and law enforcement. But because builders don’t want to lose profits, they tend to plan higher-end projects, reducing affordable housing availability.

"Things need to improve, or we will run into significant supply issues. If we can't get water, then what?" - J. Longfield , South Florida resident-
Fernandina Beach Water Tower /Photo byAmanda Moore/ Pexels

Water usage

Florida’s increasing population needs access to water for drinking, bathing, cooking, farming, and industrial operations. Furthermore, water is necessary for maintaining communities and the natural environment.

In 2015, the daily demand for water across the state was about 6.4 billion gallons. According to industry experts, this statistic will rise to more than 7.5 billion gallons by 2040. As a result, Florida’s water management systems require updated changes to meet future demands.

The legislation does provide a broad framework for water supply planning. Each district must develop a regional water supply plan if existing resources cannot meet the area’s needs in 20 years.

Some strategies for protecting the water supply for Florida’s population and real estate growth include:

  • Converting properties with septic systems to operate through government sewer systems
  • Discouraging the use of drinking water for lawn and yard irrigation
  • Increasing water storage to contain more and prevent overflow
  • Improving the water supply
  • Conservation efforts

Not only will improvements to Florida’s infrastructure improve affordability, open the door to additional housing and ensure that all residents have access to valuable resources, but they’ll also boost the economy and support job growth in the area.

The right approach will help preserve the advantages that attract residents to the state, including keeping taxes low and maintaining the beauty of Florida’s natural water supplies and ecosystems. In addition, the impact should result in sustained real estate markets that benefit everyone.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not financial, legal, or real estate advice. The market fluctuates; therefore, not all information will remain the same. Consult a financial expert or attorney before making significant financial decisions.

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I am a Licensed Community Association Manager for the State of Florida and a published author. My top articles are about Florida RE, property management, and the many beautiful venues and activities available in the Sunshine State. Thank you for reading my work and joining me on the journey.

Kissimmee, FL

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