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Comerica Bank’s Florida Index Stabilizes

January 3, 2018
By Robert A. Dye, Ph.D., Daniel Sanabria

Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index was unchanged in October at a level of 113.4. October’s index reading is 15 points, or 15 percent, above the index cyclical low of 98.5. The index averaged 111.7 in 2016, two points above the average for all of 2015. September’s index reading was revised to 113.4.

The Comerica Bank Florida Economic Activity Index was unchanged in October after easing slightly in September. It looks like the flattening in the index over the last two months is related to Hurricane Irma, which soaked Florida in early September. In October, the positive contributors to the Florida Index were payroll employment, house prices, total state trade, hotel occupancy and enplanements. The negative factors were unemployment insurance claims (inverted), housing starts, industrial electricity demand and sales tax revenues. Housing starts, in particular, were weak in September and October. This was at least partially related to the hurricane. As of August 2017, the Florida Index was running about 1.4 percent ahead of year -ago levels, consistent with solid economic growth. By October, that fell to a 1.0 percent year-over-year gain. We expect to see the Florida Index regain momentum at yearend and into early 2018 as the hurricane clean-up effort continues and U.S. and international economic conditions improve. Overbuilding dampened prices in the Florida condo market this year, especially in Miami. This will continue to be a weight on multifamily construction into 2018. Single-family home prices will be supported by a strong state economy and tight supply through early 2018. Gradually rising mortgage rates through 2018 is a risk for the Florida economy as housing affordability erodes.

For a PDF version of this report click here: FL_Index_1217

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