The state’s economic and realty markets in 2014 had experts from the MarketWatch asking, “Has Florida found the secret to saving the economy?” That year saw the state’s market recovery level since the 2008 meltdown outperforming nearly every other housing market in the nation. According to Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jessie Panuccio, the picture looks even brighter for 2015.
Panuccio addressed the Florida Realtors’ 2015 Summit, the kickoff event for the recent Florida Realtors’ Association Mid-Winter Business Meeting. He was joined by Dr. Brad O’Connor, economist and director of economic research for Florida Realtors, and Ted Jones, chief economist and senior vice president for Stewart Title Guaranty Company.
“Things have changed quite remarkably for this state,” says Panuccio. “The U.S. Census recently announced that Florida has officially become the third most populous state … about 800 people move to the state each day now. Why are they moving here? We’re a destination state again – people feel they can make a future here, and that’s good for Florida, the economy and the real estate industry.”
The past 12 months has seen Florida’s private sector growth rate reach 3.4%, and the broad-based recovery has buoyed across all industries and all fields in each region of the state. Panuccio states that “Our labor force is growing over four times faster than the national labor force [over the past years]. Of the 10 largest states, we are the fastest-growing labor force in the country.”
Economist Ted Jones is “bullish on what’s ahead for 2015” for the state and national economies. Job growth dominated by an increase in higher-earning positions, are a major factor. “There were 2.95 million total jobs added in the U.S. over the last 12 months,” Jones says, “To beat that growth period, you’d have to go back to 1999. We created 246,000 jobs in each month of the last 12 months. Here in Florida, we expect between 2.2 to 2.4 percent total job growth in the next year. I’m trying to tell y’all you’re setting yourself up for a great year next year.” Jones also says that affordable mortgage rates, and demographic shifts that will increase the market pool are all expected to help make 2015 a strong year for the market.
Dr. Brad O’Connor discusses how the Florida market is now showing normal, balanced growth, as the pace of sales, median home prices, and other statistics indicate a sustainable level of growth. “For the first time in a couple of years, we’re seeing new listings outpace sales. Months supply has returned to hover between 5 to 6 months, which historically we say is a ‘balanced’ market.” In contrast to the 2013 market, O’Connor says that “in 2014, we saw a return to more historic levels of 4 to 5 percent price increases. Investor participation has started to decline again, slightly. However, as house prices have gone down, rents have gone up, so some of these investment properties remain attractive to rent out.” The investment property submarket will continue to be strong in Florida through 2015.