Florida Ties NY for Third Most Populous State

July 12, 2013 by · Comments Off on Florida Ties NY for Third Most Populous State 

Move over California, Texas and New York! Florida is now tied with New York as the third most populous state in the U.S.

People are moving back to the Sunshine State at record rates and it’s affecting the workplace, real estate and the economy, WBBH-TV, Fort Myers, Fla., reported.

The numbers don’t lie.

“We knew it would come back, and it came back in game busters,” says Realtor Chris Griffith.

The Demographic Estimating Committee just released the new numbers, and Florida came in higher than last year, now at 19.26 million people. That’s up 1% after a rough eight years for everyone, including Bonita Springs Mayor and business owner Ben Nelson.

“Everyone was growing, growing, growing, you couldn’t grow your company fast enough. You got the money you needed to run your company, when you bid for something you got it, then after 2006 it became a matter of survival,” Nelson said.

Those who didn’t survive are now coming back, looking for places to work and live.

“We’re seeing it come back, and come back really quickly now,” Griffith said.

That’s evident by the number of units sold this June in Bonita. It’s up to 252 units compared to a low of 118 units in 2007.

“It’s telling us that things are great people are back here bargain shopping trying to get their real estate before net rest rates go up,” Griffith said.

There’s been so much interest from people wanting to move to Bonita that there simply isn’t enough room. So the city hired a consultant to look at vacant property east of Interstate 75 and north of East Terry Street to see what it could be in the future.

“People are going to do what’s the highest and best use of the property,” Nelson said.

What that is is still unknown, but space that will likely be filled. The committee is estimating Florida will surpass a population of 20 million by 2016.

“People want to be in Florida, people want to be in Southwest Florida. We knew they’d come back and they really are with vengeance,” Nelson said.


Florida Snowbird Season Was A ‘Slam Dunk’

April 5, 2013 by · Comments Off on Florida Snowbird Season Was A ‘Slam Dunk’ 

Three blasts from the air horn signaled the last of many goodbyes. With that, as reported by the Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press, the 40-foot motorhome with Bill and Marsha Rowe and German wirehaired pointers Dieter and Gretchen lumbered away. Destination: New Boston, southwest of Detroit.

“We’re all leaving: It’s just a matter of time,” said Dick Werning, a neighbor of the Rowes at San Carlos RV Park near Fort Myers Beach.

Werning and the Rowes are Southwest Florida snowbirds — that human species who help make the local economy purr between November and April.

This month, improving weather, family and business ties beckon them North. It’s a bittersweet time for many snowbirds — and for the local businesses who count on their dollars during “season.”

The week following Easter also marks the beginning of the end for local tourism’s “high season,’ when visitor demand is highest and hotel rates peak.

At stake: In Lee County, a $2.4 billion-a-year local industry that employs almost 43,000 people. In Collier County, a $1.4 billion industry accounting for an estimated 32,300 jobs.

By all accounts, Southwest Florida had a slam-dunk good season. Business leaders credit improving consumer confidence, decent weather here — and bouts of bitter temperatures in New England and the Midwest.

“Season started early, and stayed strong,” said Gary Locke, operations director for SunStream Hotels & Resorts’ six properties in Lee and Collier counties.

“We had an extraordinary amount of group business. And, our leisure business was up considerably over last year,” said Hunter Hansen, managing director of the Waldorf Astoria Naples.

To read the entire article click here.

Florida’s Manatee County Rebounds from Recession

April 19, 2011 by · Comments Off on Florida’s Manatee County Rebounds from Recession 

By almost every measure, tourism trade in Florida’s Manatee County is showing small signs of lasting recovery from the recession, Manatee County’s tourism researcher said Monday (April 18).

Lodging occupancy rates for the county of 275,000 on the state’s Gulf Coast are up from a year ago. Hotels, condos and RV parks are able to charge more per day than a year ago. More visitors came through the area in February 2011 than 2010. More tourists are using Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport than a year ago. Even the percentage of satisfied visitors has increased, the Bradenton Herald reported.

“The recessionary contractions that we had experienced are a thing of the past,” said Walter Klages, president of Research Data Services. “From every perspective, we’ve weathered the storm, and we’ve come out of it well.”

Those positive trends indicate that Manatee County is on its way to a 2011 increase in tourism of up to 3.5%, Klages said. That’s almost a full percentage point higher than 2010’s increase of 2.6%