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Florida economic data continues to show a shift in momentum from Southern Florida to Central Florida in early 2019.

May 2019 Florida Economic Outlook

May 13, 2019
By Robert A. Dye, Ph.D., Daniel Sanabria

Central Florida Pushes the State Economy

Florida economic data continues to show a shift in momentum from Southern Florida to Central Florida in early 2019. Driving this shift is the change in locational preference for both new Floridians and new businesses. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area remained a top 10 most populous region in the U.S. in 2018. However, the strongest population growth in the state from 2017 to 2018 was in the Central Florida region. The Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan area added 60,045 people in 2018, making it the fifth fastest growing metropolitan area in the U.S. last year. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater added 51,438 people, enough to be in ninth place for major metropolitan areas in 2018. The relative affordability of Central Florida is helping to boost the area’s commercial and residential real estate markets. According to Cushman and Wakefield, the office space vacancy rate in Miami ticked up from 12.1 percent in 2018Q1 to 13.3 percent in 2019Q1. However, Tampa saw only a minor increase in office vacancy rates from 11.3 percent to 11.5 percent and Orlando declined from 9.5 percent to 9.1 percent in the same time frame. The difference in home price appreciation could also be seen across the three areas. Tampa led the way in home price appreciation last year, up 9.4 percent in 2018. Orlando saw home prices tick up 9 percent, while Miami grew a decent 6.7 percent in 2018. We expect Central Florida to continue to see positive momentum in 2019. Yet, rising home prices and rent costs will begin to eat into affordability this year. The Florida economy as a whole is looking good so far this year anchored by solid job growth and rising incomes. The state is also well positioned to benefit from an overall moderately growing U.S. economy in 2019.

For a PDF version of this report, click here: May 2019 Florida Economic Outlook

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