Increasing levels of employment
By Roxanne James

Lower Unemployment Boosts Florida's Property Market

Florida's property market has received a massive lift in recent months after achieving the lowest unemployment rates for six years.

The 'Sunshine State' added 20,050 jobs to the private sector in October this year and is set to close 2014 on a positive note for both the labour and property markets.

Strong domestic demand for housing is being driven by four key factors: leisure, transport, medical and agriculture.

Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity revealed that the state's unemployment figures now stand at 6%, the lowest rate since June 2008. This is a significant improvement on 2013 when the Sunshine State recorded average unemployment at 7.2%.

The ripple-effect on Florida's property market has seen prices not only stabilising, but growing with optimistic fervour, largely in response to increased domestic demand.

Philip Button, Managing Director of real estate investment firm Brookes & Co said: "It can be said that the increasing levels of employment in the state are driven by four key factors: leisure, medical, transport and agriculture. Individually, each of these facets are key to the economic workings of Florida, but together these sectors influence not only the success of the Floridian economy but also contribute wholeheartedly to the coffers of the US in general terms."

Transportation is central to the state's success

The leisure sector is probably the most synonymous with Florida, with its abundance of theme parks, Disney World and Universal Studios making the state America's top tourist hotspot. The sector is due for significant expansion with the development of several new parks over the next year including Avatar Land, Legoland's expansion at Miniland and Universal Studios' 'The Wizarding World of Harry Potter' proposed launch of the new Hogwarts Express.

Along with new parks, there is also a new hotel planned to cater for demand, demonstrating how the leisure sector is booming. The boom brings increased job prospects for those developing and building the projects as well as those staffing them to cater for the record tourist numbers.

Transportation is central to the state's success, with rail expansion a major arena positively impacting Florida's domestic property market. The landmark SunRail project, expected to revolutionise commuter travel is due for completion by 2017 and is already proving hugely beneficial for the local and national economy.

The SunRail project will create almost 260,000 jobs while growing the state's wealth, with a predicted impact on the US economy of $8.8bn. Together with airport growth in the pipeline, Florida's infrastructure development is going from strength to strength, boosting the domestic property market.

In the medical sector, the Lake Nona Medical City is under construction in Orlando. Set to create 30,000 jobs, the ground-breaking project is predicted to contribute $7.6bn to the economy, leading to more people working locally and seeking rental properties in the area and further boosting Florida's property market.

Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently revealed the farming sector to be worth a staggering $180bn to the Sunshine State, as top producer of not only oranges but also sugarcane, sweetcorn, watermelon and squash. Florida Naturals, a leading fruit juice provider owning more than 50,000 acres of fine citrus groves in the heart of Central Florida, continues strong growth, creating many new jobs locally as the business expands.

In terms of property investment, the state has strong fundamentals to sustain long-term buy-to-let opportunities with consistent demand for rental properties coming from both tourists and increasingly, the domestic market.


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