Confidence in Florida’s real estate market is high.
According to a recent survey by the Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, optimism among real estate professionals reached its highest levels since 2006, with those in the business expecting occupancy and rents to remain steady through the last quarter of 2015.
In August, nearly 24,000 single-family homes were sold in the state, up 9 percent compared to the year before. Time on the market is down and inventory is low. Houses at both the low and high end of the market are selling quickly. Florida, one of the states hit hardest by the Great Recession, is making a solid recovery.
Forgive the cliché, but everything appears sunny here in the Sunshine State.
The state’s rebounding economy is in large part to thank for this trend. Sales are up and so is the number of jobs — Florida added 15,000 private-sector jobs in August, placing third among all states for job growth. Low unemployment and growth in the hospitality, construction, education and health care sectors are buoying the state’s economy, and Florida’s good economic health is propelling its residential real estate market. After all, when people aren’t worried about their economic security, they usually feel more comfortable buying a home.
And it’s not just local buyers and sellers driving the market. International buyers see Florida as a great investment. New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are still the top markets for foreign real estate investors, but there’s great value in Florida (not to mention beautiful weather) and that has led many international buyers to flock here. Florida, in fact, was the leading U.S. destination among international buyers from March 2014 to March 2015, according to the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of International Home Buying Activity. Florida accounted for 21 percent of foreign purchases.
At Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, we’ve seen this trend in Southwest Florida, and it’s now making its way to Central Florida.
Orlando always has been a go-to destination for international tourists, but the area’s stunning high-end homes may begin to drive just as many of them to the City Beautiful as Disney and the other attractions. It’s why Premier Sotheby’s International Realty recently established a larger footprint in the Central Florida market through our acquisition of Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty of Orlando. The acquisition, which grows our firm to more than 30 offices and more than 900 associates and employees, will give us a stronger presence in the area. We now handle more than 200 properties and $138 million in inventory in the Central Florida market, and there are plans to open more offices and double the number of Orlando-area associates.
Orlando has been a great feeder market for us across Florida’s Gulf Coast, but the data indicates why that shouldn’t be a big surprise. Orlando home sales increased 22 percent in August, and the number of single-family home sales at the top end of the market has remained steady, with more than 200 homes in the $1 million and up range sold so far this year.
I’m excited about the direction Florida’s real estate market is headed — and that’s not just because I’m in the business. A healthy real estate market is good for buyers and sellers, and good for our state’s economic development. I’ve spent my entire life in Florida and started my real estate career in Orlando, so I know the peaks and valleys our state has experienced. It’s great that we’re on the upswing, and all signs point to it staying that way for the foreseeable future.
Publisher’s Note: Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s office issued a welcome proclamation to Judy Green and Premier Sotheby’s to the city on Oct. 28 during a welcome reception at the Orlando Museum of Art. Premier Sotheby’s, an affiliate of the Sotheby’s International Realty brand, enjoyed $3.4 billion in sales volume last year.