Updated:MARION COUNTY, Fla. —
Home construction across central Florida has been picking up, but in The Villages it never missed a step.
New U.S. census numbers tracking population growth show the retirement community is number one in the nation when it comes to growth.
Channel 9's Berndt Petersen found out another growth spurt is about to hit there.
Bill Morris was in the Villages Thursday scouting out locations where he and his wife can retire. He said he believes he's found a spot
"I've never been this far deep into Florida. I'm really impressed, really amazed, and if I can get (my wife) to come down here to visit one time I think I can sell her on it."
They'd be joining quite a crowd. Latest U.S. census numbers show the huge retirement community is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the entire country.
"But you can't describe it to friends up north. They have to come down and be here. You have to experience The Villages." said resident Peggy Frisina.
Over the last year the population jumped by more than 5 percent and now tops 107,000 residents. There were barely 20,000 in The Villages in 1999.
And there will soon be many more. Six-hundred acres are now being cleared for the new Villages of Fruitland Park.
That development will have 2,000 homes and 4,000 residents. But growth is also exploding in the far western edge of The Villages closer to Wildwood.
The Villages covers parts of Lake, Marion, and Sumter counties. Growth in those counties as a whole is relatively flat, until you step inside the borders of The Villages.
Morris said he can't wait to bring his wife down from Alabama to take a look.
"If it were up to me, I'd live here tomorrow," Morris said.