With commercial real estate sales in southwest Florida giving a much needed boost to the area's real estate market, metropolitan Naples ranked #2 in the U.S. for the lowest industrial vacancy rate this month, posting a 4.2 percent overall rate of vacancy. Florida, on the whole, managed to squeeze out 3 of the top 10 spots with lowest industrial vacancy rates. Lakeland grabbed the #1 spot, and Clearwater / St. Petersburg came in at #7.
The recovery in the housing market is seen to be linked to these positive developments in the industrial real estate market, akin to the widely recognized connection between hikes in employment rates and subsequent gains in real estate sales. Home prices statewide have increased, with southwest Florida home values shooting up 8 percent, greatly surpassing the national average of only 1.3 percent this past quarter. Supply, or lack thereof, of southwest Florida homes for sale is seen as one of the reasons for the fluctuation, but the supply constraints don't seem to be deterring potential buyers.
Home and condo sales in Sarasota and Manatee counties recorded 928 sales this September, an 11 percent increase over the same time last year. Laura Benson, president of the Sarasota Association of Realtors told the Herald Tribune, "The real estate industry has returned to a much healthier place than we were four or five years ago. For the agents who experienced the down times, this has become a great period of rebound." Even Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors had a positive outlook on the southwest Florida real estate market, saying, "Despite occasional month-to-month setbacks, we're experiencing a genuine recovery."