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Hotel occupancy is expected to stabilize and turn positive as we move further into the year.

Comerica Bank’s Florida Index Unchanged | April 2018

April 26, 2018
By Robert A. Dye, Ph.D., Daniel Sanabria

Comerica Bank’s Florida Economic Activity Index was unchanged in February at a level of 114.3. February’s index reading is 16 points, or 16 percent, above the index cyclical low of 98.5. The index averaged 113.1 in 2017, one and two-fifths points above the average for all of 2016.

The Comerica Bank Florida Economic Activity Index was unchanged in February following three consecutive monthly gains from November through January. The sub-indexes were mixed in February. Five of the nine sub-indexes were positive in February. They were nonfarm payroll employment, unemployment insurance claims (inverted), house prices, industrial electricity demand and sales tax revenues. The four negative sub-indexes for February were housing starts, state total trade, hotel occupancy and total enplanements. We expect our Florida Index to continue to improve in 2018. Florida job growth started the year at a faster pace than in 2017, averaging 19,000 net jobs per month in the first three months of the year. Hotel occupancy is expected to stabilize and turn positive as we move further into the year. The three consecutive monthly declines in the Florida hotel occupancy sub-index are most likely signaling a renormalization following the spike in hotel demand in the aftermath of last year’s hurricanes. The demand for Florida housing remains strong, however supply is tight. According to Florida Realtors, the months’ supply of single-family homes for sale was 3.8 months in March. The factors that have been leading to tight supply, such as a shortage of construction workers, rising material prices, and limited credit availability, are expected to persist. Declining affordability through rising mortgage rates and higher house prices may also be a limiting factor for the Florida housing sector in 2018.

For a PDF version of this report click here: FL-Index-0418.

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