For anybody living in Collier and Lee County the past few years, the growth in residential building is evidenced by those of us driving behind many construction trucks, and seeing the new single-family homes and larger scale developments going up. At a recent conference of about 150 businesspeople at a Real Estate Investment Society workshop Friday at the Cohen Center at Florida Gulf Coast University, area experts said that the outlook for Southwest Florida’s economic future is sunny. The strong job and population growth should spur a healthy economy and active real estate development in every sector. Jerry Parrish, chief economist and director of research at the Florida Chamber Foundation, predicts that Florida will need to add two million new jobs by the year 2030, partly to serve a population older than 65 that is projected to grow by an equal amount.
Job growth in Southwest Florida is already running ahead of the state. Parrish noted the Naples metro area saw 22 percent job growth over the year in July and Cape Coral-Fort Myers 20.8 percent. Both grew faster than the state as a whole, which rose 16.6 percent. But since retirees are also leaving the workforce at a quick pace, the region needs to focus on bringing young, new talent to the workforce to keep businesses running. The economic growth of our state is extremely important as nearly three-quarters of Florida’s general revenues come from sales and use taxes. So with more people working, the more property and sales taxes are paid.
The recent increase in new construction has helped to create a business bonanza. Michael Greenberg, Southwest Florida regional president of Neal Communities, said his company has already sold out two of the seven communities it has built in Collier and Lee counties. The down size of all of this success is finding enough skilled construction workers to build new homes. This has been a recurrent problem since the real estate market took off after the housing recession. Those who build commercial properties are reaping profits, too, although not at the same rate as residential properties. With many people being bullish on real estate, a lot of money is coming back into the marketplace as evidenced by the recent sale of Mercato for $239 million and La Playa Beach and Golf Resort for $188 million, or about $1 million a room. Banks are also lending again according to Brian Goguen, chief operating officer at Barron Collier Companies. Randy Anderson, a chief economist, seemed more bullish about the industrial market, largely due to the need for more warehouse space as online retailers like Amazon grab more market share. For the same reason, he was less enthusiastic about the retail sector. “Stores in strip malls in the middle of nowhere have a hard time paying the rent,” he said. There has also been a decline in the need for private office space as telecommuting and the trend towards flex space has increased.
All of this bodes well for anyone thinking about moving to Naples, Florida. For more on the luxury real estate market in Naples, Florida, please contact Shawn Bleh 239.207.0761
Source: 2015 Journal Media Group.