Florida’s economy expanded in 2017, and that positive movement is anticipated to continue through 2018, according to economists and business data experts who spoke to a crowd of about 500 REALTORS® at the 2018 Florida Real Estate Trends event Thursday during Florida Realtors Mid-Winter Business Meetings.
“For 2018, from a business point of view, Florida’s economy benefits from a growing population, strong and growing employment, and a rising number of visitors,” said Dr. Tony Villamil, founder and principal advisor of The Washington Economics Group and a former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs under President George H.W. Bush.
“In fact, Florida is growing faster in terms of employment growth than the rest of the U.S., which is good for Florida real estate.”
He noted the three major drivers of the state’s economy are 1) Florida’s business climate, including real estate sales; 2) the U.S. economy and financial market trends; and 3) the global economy.
“Overall, Florida is a positive, pro-business climate state and I don’t see that changing significantly,” Villamil said.
Another positive: Household net worth is at record levels, leaving consumers ready to spend – so real estate is in demand, he added.
Other speakers who discussed trends for 2018 and beyond were Kevin Foreman, general manager of GeoAnalytics for INRIX Inc.; and Dr. Brad O’Connor, Florida REALTORS® chief economist.
Foreman discussed how self-driving cars will impact real estate in the future. According to Foreman, with self-driving cars, the new landscape for real estate will include:
- No more speeding tickets
- No more drunk driving
- No more drivers’ licenses – the blind, elderly and kids can “drive”
- No distracted driving – more texting, sleeping
- Two-handed eating
- Longer “drive” times – people can eat, sleep, work during commutes
- Less office infrastructure
- ″More agent productivity
Wrapping up the event, Florida Realtors Chief Economist Brad O’Connor took a look at what happened in Florida real estate in 2017 after Hurricane Irma.
“Sales in areas where most homes did not experience severe structural damage rebounded within a month or two of landfall,” he said. “These temporary slowdowns were due to business activity halting ahead of the storm and power outages, regulations and additional required inspections afterwards.”
“Sale prices don’t seem to care much about hurricanes. Plenty of buyers are happy to line up to buy the real estate as long as it’s not completely annihilated.”
Summarizing 2017 housing market activity, O’Connor said single-family existing home sales in Florida were up 1.2 percent over 2016’s sales level – and would have been up by about 3 percent if there had been no Hurricane Irma. 2017 sales of existing condos and townhouses were up about 3 percent year-over-year; and would likely have been about 6 percent higher than 2016 without Irma. The statewide median price in both sectors was up about 8 percent compared to a year ago.