Southwest Florida is experiencing a boom on all fronts – thousands of jobs are being created, tourists are flocking to the area and property prices are seeing double-digit rises. Analysts point to an excellent 2016 for this part of Florida, as this latest BRIC Group news article explains.
Southwest Florida sits in a privileged location with the stunning Gulf of Mexico beaches on its doorstep. It might not be as well-known as other Florida resorts such as Miami Beach and Orlando, but this corner of the Sunshine State is gradually making a name for itself.
On the tourist map
Florida holidaymakers discovered the southwest in 2015. In Sarasota County alone, visitor figures topped the 1 million mark for the first time ever. The number of tourists on holiday in Sarasota rose by 9 .3 per cent in 12 months to last July and with them, their spending. County tourism authorities calculate that tourists spent a massive US$1.6 billion in Sarasota, an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year.
And 2016 is looking good too. Sarasota expects further hikes in both tourism and spending over this year. Specifically, an uptick of 5 per cent in visitor figures and 3 per cent in revenue, confirming that tourists have definitely added Sarasota to their list of holiday destinations.
On the relocation map too
Southwest Florida is also on the radar for new residents, both those moving to the area to retire and those relocating to a new job. This tendency is part of a larger state-wide picture – the population of Florida rose by 1.84 per cent last year and the state ranks as one of the fastest growing states in the US. In terms of total population growth, Florida is second only to Texas.
New residents are drawn to Southwest Florida for the job opportunities. Again, this trend is apparent throughout Florida where 975,000 jobs have been created since 2011 and some 240,000 last year alone.
Jobs in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties appear to be particularly plentiful. Between them, the three counties boast the lowest unemployment rate in Florida. Their November figure of 4.6 per cent sits below both the national and state rates.
Manatee expects big news on the employment front this year when confirmation is expected of a giant biomedical research plant. Advanced plans are underway for the Lakewood Ranch project, a 265-acre park housing a life-sciences hub and creating thousands of new jobs, both direct and indirect. Many of these jobs will be well paid since the biomedical sector attracts highly-skilled talent.
Southwest Florida property follows suit
With rising tourism and population, it follows that Southwest Florida property should also be experiencing a boom. Lack of inventory was a problem during 2015, a shortage that led to fewer sales but at higher prices.
According to the Herald Tribune, sales of property in Sarasota-Bradenton increased by just 2 per cent in 2015. However, the lack of available properties pushed prices up. The dollar volume rose by 11 per cent to reach US$7.1 billion according to Trendgraphix.
In the metro area of North Port-Bradenton- Sarasota, property prices saw massive hikes. In the year to November, median prices for single family homes rose by 16.4 per cent and those for condo-townhouse properties by 15.5 per cent.
Low inventories have led to a resurge in construction. In Sarasota, the Herald Tribune reports that development worth US$693 million is currently underway or planned in the downtown area. Real estate agents claim that Sarasota properties sell almost as quickly as they come on the market.
“Everything points to a good year for Southwest Florida property as all the right factors – rising tourism and population plus job creation – come into play,” says Dies Poppeliers, Managing Director at BRIC Group. “And we expect the knock-on effect to reach residential districts near the employment hubs, the sought-after town of Englewood being one such example,” he adds.
BRIC Group, an investment company specialising in global real estate opportunities, offers US real estate investments including turnkey properties in Florida and Houston, and land plots in Florida. BRIC Group is also developing The Coral resort, in Northeast Brazil, a luxury beachfront resort with land and villa investment opportunities. BRIC Group has been creating wealth for its clients since 1996 and has offices in Brazil, Dubai (consulting office), Hungary, Spain and the US.
Sources: Herald Tribune, Florida Realtors