Florida Jobs Picture
Florida had nearly the worst job market at the beginning of the “great recession” with unemployment near 13%. Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 8% in December 2012, the best rate in four years. November 2012’s rate of 8.1% had also been the Florida’s previous four year low so steady improvement continues. Although the Florida jobs picture has improved according to the official numbers, the unemployment rate is still higher than the U.S. average of 7.8%.
So should you move to Florida and expect to find a job? An unemployment rate of 8% is still historically high. There has also been some criticism about changes in qualifying for unemployment compensation and that there may be many unemployed that are not being counted. If you are thinking of moving to Florida but will need to find work to survive, you should think twice before quitting a job to move to the sunshine state at this time. If you are already unemployed, compare the rate where you’re located now to Florida’s rate to see if your chances will improve or worsen with a move.
The field you’re in should also be considered. Tourism in Florida was the job growth leader in Florida’s recovery. While Florida’s construction industry is slowly getting better, finding a job would probably still be difficult right now but I expect that to improve by the end of 2013. Keep reading to find out why.
Florida’s Real Estate Market
According to The Florida Association of Realtors, December was another great month for real estate. Closed sales are up. Homes going under contract are up. The inventory is going down and since supply and demand dictate where prices are going, prices have increased in most areas of Florida. As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I have said the bottom was hit in 2011 and prices were going to go up. Unless some terrible surprise upsets the national economy, this year will probably be the last year to get a “bargain” priced home in most of Florida.
After the 60% drop in Florida home prices because of the recession, bargains often sat on the market for years with no takers. That has changed. It’s next to impossible to get a home at 50-60% anymore in the most wanted locations, but overall home prices are still very low compared to what they were at their peak and in my opinion, much lower than what they will be in 3-5 years. This year may be the last for recession related low pricing.
Home sales have picked up in many areas of the country that buyers traditionally sell to move to Florida. I expect that trend to continue meaning more sales and higher prices in Florida as the people who have wanted to move but couldn’t until their home sold, are now finding buyers. The influx of buyers and investors from overseas should continue. As the number of buyers in Florida grows and the inventory shrinks, the prices will continue to rise. As the prices rise it will start to make financial sense for more builders to start more homes.
I would not be totally surprised if the unemployment rate in Florida was significantly lower than the national average and the state’s real estate prices were rising quickly by the end of 2013. I also would not be shocked if prices went back to their peak within 3-5 years. I’m not saying people should rush and move to Florida and buy right now. Many of the people who move to Florida “permanently” will end up moving out after realizing it was a mistake. But if you have thoroughly researched moving, including the pros and cons of living in Florida and are going to do it, there will be far worst years in the future to buy, than this year.