Markings of Florida Home Market Hotspot Surface


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, February 7th, 2014 – Expectations that Florida is emerging as a U.S. residential real estate hotspot may have begun to materialize, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports. Recent data on pending sales, an indicator of future market activity, bolster the recent bullish views on the Sunshine State’s home market, the brokerage company notes.

In contrast with a decline in the national level, Florida’s pending sales of single family homes in October rose year-over-year by 3.4% to 22,927 units from 22,174 a year earlier, the full service realty firm says. It adds that in its home county, the number of properties that went under contract for the month appears on the same trend as the state level. Overall, pending Sarasota homes for sale during October stood at 920, up 9.33% from September’s 750 pending sales.

Boost from high job growth

Total U.S. pending home sales in October sank to their lowest level since December last year. The October Pending Home Sales Index slid 0.6% from September’s upwardly revised 102.7 and slipped 1.6% from the 103.3 a year earlier. Headwinds from the U.S. government shutdown which delayed documentation from the IRS on residential sales deals largely contributed to the decline, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Moving forward, NAR sees tight inventories and declining home affordability in some markets as headwinds for the residential property market. On the other hand, it adds that a slight step back from the current tough mortgage underwriting standards and job creation could help offset these bear factors going into 2014.

Top October showing

In terms of job growth stimulus, Sarasota Bay Real Estate notes that Florida is getting a big boost based on recent U.S. Labor Department statistics. October data from the agency showed that the Sunshine State led 15 other states which added a significant number of jobs. For the month, 44,600 new positions were created in Florida, followed by 39,800 in California, and 22,000 in North Carolina. The Florida payroll was also estimated by the website to have expanded by 2.2% to 166,800 so far this year, the fastest growth rate among the top 10 states.

The imminent opening of two fulfillment centers of in Florida is one recent major contributor to employment generation in Florida. Some 2,000 new jobs are expected to be created when the distribution hubs of the giant online retailer become operational in Lakeland and Hillsborough. Jacksonville is also hopeful that Amazon will locate in its area and create another 1,000 positions.

Wide economic impact

Ripple effects of the Amazon centers on the Florida economy can extend to Port Manatee which is only 10 miles south of the e-tailer’s warehouse in Huskin, Hillsborough. The port, erstwhile known only as a shipping hub for produce, fertilizer, and construction materials, has been diversifying its operations and has recently added new berth facilities to accommodate container ships.

Also a short distance south of Huskin, Neal Communities is drawing up plans for a residential development project to catch opportunities from the Amazon fulfillment center. The project, initially dubbed as “Villages of Amazon South,” is envisioned as a mixed residential-commercial development.