Honk and Say Thank you!

Twice this week while on my way to work, the driver in the far left lane making a left turn while I was in the second left turn lane crossed in front of me to get themselves to the far right lane! Sound familiar?

The roads are abundant with both local and out-of-state license plates. But with that comes some significant benefits to our economy. According to Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, there is a rise in three key metrics affected by out of state visitors to Florida – spending, jobs and revenue. A 3.9% growth in visitor spending reached $108.8 billion in 2015, $30 billion more than in 2000. On an average, visitors spend $300 million a day, supporting 1.4 million jobs in our state. And they save us tax money too. Tourism generated $11.3 billion in state and local taxes and $13.1 billion in federal taxes, saving every household in Florida $1,535 to maintain the current level of government services. So the next time an out-of-towner cuts you off on the road, beep your horn and wave thank you!

Homebuilders continue to be bullish throughout the Gulf Coast. Pulte Homes, one of the nation’s largest home builders acquired 105 acres in in the Three Oaks community in south Fort Myers for $17 million. The parcel (interestingly enough, owned by Chico’s Retail Services) will contain about 332 homes, called Westbrook and sales are expected to begin this summer. This was one of the largest land transactions that occurred in 2016.

Investors Warranty of America is selling its 3,996 acre Edison Farms tract in Bonita Springs which has more than two miles of I-75 frontage. The site could support as many as 5,300 residents. The property is expected to sell for tens of millions of dollars, but no specific price was set as the land will probably be sold to developers by parcels.

Strong job growth and increases in population continue to boost the commercial real estate market in Southwest Florida. Commercial property prices rose 60% since 2012 outperforming residential appreciation or yields from other investments. Buyers are seeking industrial space as online-purchase growth continues, requiring warehouses to store products for timely deliveries. Fort Myers has been identified as a hub for industrial space because of its proximity to I-75 and centralized location. Although economists are saying there will be little chance of an economic recession in the future, national warning signs like business capital orders falling and auto loan delinquencies rising, cautions us to invest wisely and carefully monitor the current rosy picture in our area.

Be careful out there!


Written By: Kathy Zorn

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