Here’s why this coastal Florida city is one of the best places in the United States to relocate

Naples, FL – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Andriy Blokhin

Naples has long been a favorite destination for tourists and second-home purchasers looking for a lively, amiable setting to unwind in the Sunshine State. This Gulf of Mexico city is well-known for its heavenly white-sand beaches and top-notch golf courses, but it is also quickly becoming one of the most opulent places to live and invest. The Blue Zones Project, which aims to make communities across the nation healthier and happier, has included the city as a participant since 2015. With an increase of 6.7 percent since the project began, East Naples has experienced the most improvement in Southwest Florida since that time.

“Once you move to Naples, you can take 10 years off your age,” Ardel McKenna, real estate associate at Coldwell Banker, joked, pointing out some of the city’s major recreational draws such as sailing, fishing, and almost 90 golf courses. “If you want to be outdoors, it’s the best place in the world because it’s always sunny.”

And because more people than ever are working remotely, Naples has quickly replaced cities like Chicago and New York City as many urbanites’ primary residence. In fact, it is currently the safest place to live, according to a recent U.S. News study, and is one of the places with the highest population growth in the nation, drawing both seniors and younger couples. Naples had the most house sales per capita of any mid-size market in the United States in 2021, and the median home price increased by a startling $200,000 year-over-year (more than 30 percent). The city’s median house cost was $739,000 in June 2022.

“Our average buyer is now 42 years old. [Naples] is very vibrant. It has restaurants, nightlife, and a lot of fun things. There is always something new on the horizon in Naples,” Dawn McKenna, a Coldwell Banker broker specializing in luxury real estate, told Travel & Leisure. “I would say we are probably closest from a real estate perspective to Palm Beach. The difference is Palm Beach Island is—like all of Naples—walkable. But Palm Beach Island is very small, so when you go out to West Palm Beach, it gets very dense. Naples is a little bigger and doesn’t have that.”

Naples is an even more desirable location than more established luxury markets like Miami or Palm Beach due to a variety of factors, including lower density. Naples Municipal Airport (APF) serves private and chartered flights and is just a 10-minute drive from the city’s downtown area (in 2020, it was one of only three private airports countrywide that saw an uptick in activity). Some of the best designer shopping can be found in Naples’ 5th Avenue South and Waterside Shops, and brand-new luxury complexes are springing up all throughout the city.

With Naples Beach Club, the Four Seasons Resort, a large 125-acre development that will include a 216-room hotel and 185 luxurious villas, is making its Gulf Coast debut. The building, which was created by Hart Howerton and will have interiors by Champalimaud Design, is scheduled to debut in 2024. Three- and four-bedroom completely furnished residences are available at Kalea Bay, a complex of five skyscraper towers in North Naples with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico, an outdoor gym, multiple pools, and tennis courts among many other facilities. Residents will finally move in this fall after two years of the majority of Kalea Bay condos being sold.

Back in May, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts announced it is constructing its second Rosewood Residences property in the heart of Naples. The 50-unit development will have beautiful ocean views, 500 feet of beachfront access, and several concierge amenities. The three- and four-bedroom homes average 5,300 square feet indoors and include private elevator entry, wide balconies, roomy walk-in closets, and gourmet kitchens.

The local housing market is also flourishing. Naples’ most expensive single-family property–measuring 16,000 square feet–sold for $62 million last month, breaking the previous high-priced record by $10 million. Port Royal, Old Naples, and Aqualane Shores are currently some of the most popular areas in the city.

“The demand [for real estate] in Naples never goes away,” Ardel McKenna concluded. “It’s getting bigger. The rise in interest rates or the stock market leveling off is never going to diminish the demand to be in Naples.”

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