Many areas of Florida are showing signs of renewed housing demand. Builders are buying lots and land in order to position themselves for future growth. In our most recent Residential Land Survey, 78% of Florida builders noted that finished lot prices were increasing.
In Naples, demand is apparent across all price points and demographic profiles. We saw a fantastic Spring selling season with both strong demand and price increases in:
- moderately priced communities,
- active adult communities, and
- luxury golf-course projects.
One community’s grand opening had prospective buyers camping out the night before in order to secure the best lot locations!
Certain submarkets have had a great year. In Windermere, we recently visited four single-family and townhome communities which were experiencing sales in the range of 8-12 per month, which is more than double what we would consider a ‘normal’ average.
Disturbing Trend in Job Formation
Every month, we analyze a litany of statistics for our research clients, and we have been pointing out a disturbing trend. Florida’s employment growth is slowing. Florida currently has the slowest year-over-year payroll employment growth of any region in the nation. Of the 20 metropolitan areas in Florida we analyze, 12 of them are now experiencing year-over-year job losses. While the larger metropolitan areas (Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Jacksonville) are still experiencing year-over-year job gains, the pace is slowing.
A prolonged period of weak job growth or job losses could derail the current momentum of Florida’s housing market. We are optimistic about the Florida housing market’s future, but we are reticent to be bullish on 2013 while employment growth trends the wrong way. Monitor the Florida economy carefully if you are investing there!