What bank failures mean for Florida real estate
The bank failures could result in stricter lending, adding to existing challenges borrowers have faced in a high-rate environment over the past year, experts say. In the short-term, optimistic brokers and developers say they are banking on a break in interest rates. The question now is whether tech tenants will back out of their leases, and what effects that will have on South Florida’s office market. Even before the recent bank collapses, it had become clear South Florida isn’t insulated from trouble in the tech industry. [Source: The Real Deal]
Are China and Russia building influence buying Florida farmland? Some think so
Are China and Russia covertly increasing their influence in state and federal politics with land buys and lawsuits? A watchdog group fears foreign adversaries are buying property in the U.S. for nefarious purposes. Common Sense America sent letters to Congress and to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis asking for investigations. The group points to an Office of National Intelligence threat assessment report about ways China and Russia bought farmland to establish a greater foothold in the U.S. [Source: Florida Politics]
Commentary: Homelessness is a housing problem
Most people become homeless in stages due to a variety of circumstances placing them in a financial predicament from which they cannot escape. A lost job, an unexpected medical bill, or an expensive car repair can be enough to force a family onto the street. From there, they work to try and scrimp together enough cash to pay for an apartment. Many succeed. However, while the average amount of time a person or family is homeless in this country is eight days, the effects of their experience can cause problems for years. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Is insurer of ‘last resort’ Citizen using rate hikes to reduce number of policies it carries?
It might be called "the insurer of last resort" in Florida, but with more than 1 million policies, and a forecast extending that total to a record 1.7 million by year's end, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is beginning to look like the first and only choice for many. Before 2020, Citizens usually served about 400,000-plus policies. So, what will the impact be if more property owners decide (and qualify) for Citizens? First of all, rate hikes have begun. [Source: Islander News]
With Florida’s legislature poised to enact yet another package of insurance reforms this spring, members of industries whose incomes will be hurt by the measures lashed out at a contractor trade show on Friday, accusing insurers of prioritizing profits over people. As exhibitors packed the main hall, panelists gathered for a series of discussions in a huge adjacent conference room, highlighting what they characterized as abusive behavior by insurers. Although the discussions were billed as including Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and Melanie Griffin, secretary of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, neither participated. Also absent were representatives of Florida’s insurance industry to counter assertions made from the stage. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
› ‘I don’t want to be out here:’ New housing project addresses growing Jacksonville problem [Action News Jax]
Homelessness continues to be a problem in Jacksonville. In fact, according to recent survey results from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s Public Opinion Survey, homelessness was the second most important issue to Jacksonville residents, behind only gun violence. Charles Thomas is just one of the many struggling with that issue in Jacksonville, spending each night worrying about whether he’ll have a roof over his head. “I mean, I’m sitting by a shelter right now that when I first came here, they were letting 50, 60 people in. And now they’re down to 30 people,” Thomas told Action News Jax. “I don’t want to be out here.”
› Building finally starts on affordable apartments for seniors near Ludlam Trail in Miami-Dade [Miami Herald]
After a yearlong delay, construction started Tuesday on a $25 million affordable apartment complex for senior citizens between Coral Way and Southwest 69th Avenue in southwest Miami-Dade. Called Ludlam Trail Towers in suburban Coral Terrace, the project is part of the ambitious effort to redevelop along a six-mile stretch of abandoned Florida East Coast Railway track from Miami International Airport to the Dadeland Mall.
› Home values, sales in Orlando on the rise, according to new report [WESH]
Orlando saw a spike in housing sales in February. And home values went up too, according to the latest report from the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. While sales this past February were 30% lower than the booming housing market the year before, sales were up nearly 34% from January to February. The spike comes just one month after the Orlando housing market hit its lowest point in sales since January 2009.
› 2023 Top 50 Contractors from Polk County to Collier County [Business Observer]
If there’s going to be a downturn in construction later this year, then the industry is going out with a large boom. By several metrics, the Business Observer's annual list of the Top 50 Contractors in the Southwest Florida region, ranked by revenue, is stellar this year. For one, total revenue generated in 2022 by the 50 companies, with headquarters from Tampa through Naples, totals $7.17 billion. That’s up 17.9% from $6.08 billion in 2021. The top 10 got bigger as well, hitting $4.78 billion, up from around $4 billion in 2021.