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Thanks to Permitting Reform, New Homes in Florida Are Through the Roof

People relocate to Florida because it leads the nation in economic prosperity. Rational reforms like streamlining the building permitting process show us why they stick around. 

For the fifth year in a row, Florida ranked first in the nation for net in-migration. With nearly 1,000 people moving to Florida every day, the demand for new homes is through the roof—literally. To accommodate this population boom, Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida legislators are streamlining the state’s regulatory processes, particularly for single-family homes. 

New research from the Foundation for Government Accountability examines how these reforms will cut red tape, modernize the permitting process, expand housing opportunities statewide, all while saving Floridians money.

More than 213,000 building permits for housing units were issued in Florida in 2021—close to double the national average growth rate in new authorized housing units.

The commonsense reforms passed by the Florida State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis include:

  • Speeding up the processing of permits by giving localities a timeframe. Localities have a specific number of days to review permit applications. 
  • Giving Floridians their money back when processing is delayed. When localities fail to meet their permit processing deadlines, they must refund 10 percent of the application fee for every business day until the application is processed. This includes permit applications for the construction of new single-family homes.
  • Letting Florida homeowners know where they stand. If an application for a single-family home is deemed incomplete—and the applicant addresses the issues—the locality has 10 business days to approve or deny the permit. Beyond that, the permit applicant receives a fee discount for each subsequent day (for up to five business days).

The results speak for themselves:

  • Faster permit processing. Responses to public records requests demonstrate faster permit processing for single-family homes across Florida since implementation of the new law.

In Santa Rosa County, less than 50 percent of permit applications for single family homes were processed within 30 business days in late 2020 and early 2021. Now, 100 percent are processed within 30 business days. 

  • Floridians are saving money on permit fees. When localities delay their processing times, permit fees get reduced. This has saved Florida homeowners thousands of dollars.

In Orange County, one Floridian received a 60 percent permit application fee discount—equal to nearly $4,000 in savings.

Florida has long stood as a model for the nation in economic growth and prosperity. But under the leadership of Gov. DeSantis, people and companies are moving in droves to the Sunshine State for its low taxes, minimal red tape, and pro-freedom policies. And the state is responding with commonsense reform that saves taxpayers money and cuts down on bureaucracy. 

Other states should emulate Florida’s approach to expand housing opportunities, hold localities accountable, and put more money in the hands of homeowners.

Read the full research paper here

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