Q2 2012 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Commercial Real Estate Economy

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Q2 2012 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Commercial Real Estate Economy

Despite recent job growth, non-farm employment in Broward County as of July 2012 remained down fully 9.0% (69,600 jobs) from July 2007, according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). These numbers stand as measures of both the severity of the recession in South Florida and the painfully slow pace of recovery seen in the county. Non-farm employment per the latest July was up just 0.7% (4,700 jobs) from 12 months prior and was up 1.5% (10,100 jobs) since July 2010.

The current positive job growth results from gains in some sectors outweighing losses in others. Employment in the centrally significant Professional and Business Services sector was up only 0.6% over the latest 12 months—a gain of about 700 jobs, according to BLS data—but was up 5.4% (6,200 jobs) over 24. Growth in the Leisure and Hospitality sector also slowed over the latest reported 12-month span. Employment therein per the latest July was up 1.0% (800 jobs) from a year earlier but was up 3.6% (2,700 jobs) since July 2010. And growth in the Trade, Transportation, and Utilities sector has flattened following earlier increases. While the Construction sector continues to shed jobs, the pace of loss has slowed. Jobs also continue to be siphoned from the Government segment. Bucking the slowdown and a major factor in the county’s ability to avoid an overall downturn over the latest July-to-July time span has been the Education and Health Services segment. Here, flat employment over the previous 12-month period was followed by an increase of 4.7% (4,400 jobs) over the 12 months ending with July 2012.

“The housing market appears to have pushed past its low point,” observes Studley, Inc., in a second-quarter report on South Florida. That “low point,” meanwhile, was very low, an effect of the condo boom and strong price appreciation that occurred prior to the recession. According to a September 2012 report in the South Florida Business Journal, the percentage of homes in South Florida with negative equity has “eased a bit.” And the foreclosure problem has lightened up as well. According to RealtyTrac, as cited by the Business Journal in August, foreclosures in Broward County in July were down 42.27% year-over-year. Meanwhile, adds this source, “South Florida home prices, including distressed sales, continued to climb in June with Miami’s 10% increase leading the way.” According to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors, as reported by the Business Journal in July, the median single-family home price in Broward County in June, at $215,000, was up 8% year-over-year. The $85,900 median condominium price was up 14.5%. CoreLogic cites a second-quarter year-over-year sales volume increase on the order of “7% to 8%” for Broward County, the Business Journal reported in September. According to this source, 44% of county homes suffer from negative equity—the highest rate (but not by much) of the three South Florida counties.