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Port Charlotte was named —Best Place to Retire by MONEY magazine in 2009

NAR: Modest growth expected in commercial markets

WASHINGTON – May 26, 2015 – A stronger labor market and increasing household formation should keep commercial real estate demand on a gradual incline, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) quarterly commercial real estate forecast.

NAR predicts that national office vacancy rates will decrease slightly (0.1 percent) over the coming year as the demand for office space slowly improves. The vacancy rate for industrial space is expected to decline 0.3 percent and retail space 0.4 percent as manufacturing output increases and low gas prices and slight income gains boost consumer spending.

An influx in new apartment construction is forecast to cause an uptick (0.1 percent) in the multifamily vacancy rate.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says commercial rents have risen at a moderate pace across the board for several quarters now and vacancy rates have been on a gradual decline.

"The commercial real estate sector is on the path to recovery, but subpar economic growth, lack of financing available to small investors and the industry trend towards squeezing more employees into existing spaces will keep demand from meaningful acceleration," Yun says. "The exception is multifamily housing, which remains the best performer with vacancy rates under 4 percent in several markets in the Northeast and in California."

According to Yun, job growth and increasing household formation among young adults is supporting continued, robust demand for apartments. However, vacancies are expected to slightly rise over the next year as a higher-than-anticipated climb in multifamily completions is coming onto the market to meet that demand.

Looking ahead, Yun expects the economy to slowly pick up in upcoming quarters after severe winter weather, a widening trade gap and port disputes on the West Coast slowed domestic product growth in the first quarter.

"Similar to last year, economic growth will likely rebound as the year progresses, although perhaps not as robustly as what was seen in 2014," Yun says. "However, as long as jobs are being added at a respectable pace, gradual increases in demand for commercial spaces and leasing projects should continue."

NAR's latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook offers overall projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets. Historic data for metro areas is provided by REIS Inc., a source of commercial real estate performance information.

According to NAR's recent 2015 Commercial Lending Trends Survey, Realtor commercial members in the past year managed transactions averaging $1.6 million per deal – frequently located in secondary and tertiary markets – and focused on small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Office markets

Office vacancy rates are forecast to slightly decline from 15.6 percent in the second quarter to 15.5 percent in the second quarter of 2016.

The markets with the lowest office vacancy rates in the second quarter are New York City (8.9 percent), Washington, D.C. (9.0 percent), San Francisco (10.6 percent), Little Rock, Ark. (10.6 percent) and Portland, Ore. (11.6 percent).

Office rents are projected to increase 3.4 percent this year and 3.7 percent in 2016. Net absorption of office space, which includes the leasing of new space coming on the market as well as space in existing properties, is likely to total 51.8 million square feet this year and 60.0 million in 2016.

Industrial markets

Industrial vacancy rates are expected to fall from 8.4 percent in the second quarter to 8.1 percent in the second quarter of 2016.

The areas with the lowest industrial vacancy rates currently are Orange County, Calif. (3.4 percent), Los Angeles (3.6 percent), Miami (5.3 percent), Seattle (5.4 percent) and Palm Beach, Fla. (5.5 percent).

Annual industrial rents should rise at a clip of 3.1 percent both this year and in 2016. Net absorption of industrial space nationally is expected to total 108.8 million square feet in 2015 and 104.9 million square feet next year.

Retail markets

Vacancy rates in the retail market are expected to decline from 9.6 percent currently to 9.2 percent in the second quarter of 2016.

Currently, the markets with the lowest retail vacancy rates include San Francisco (3.0 percent), Orange County, Calif., (4.6 percent), San Jose, Calif. (4.6 percent); Fairfield County, Conn. (4.7 percent) and Long Island, N.Y. (4.9 percent).

Average retail rents are forecast to rise 2.6 percent this year and 3.1 percent in 2016. Net absorption of retail space is likely to total 15.8 million square feet this year and jump to 21.1 million in 2016.

Multifamily markets

The apartment rental market should see vacancy rates slightly increase from 4.3 percent currently to 4.4 percent in the second quarter of 2016. Vacancy rates below 5 percent are generally considered a landlord's market, with demand justifying higher rent.

Areas with the lowest multifamily vacancy rates currently are San Bernardino-Riverside, Calif. (2.5 percent), Sacramento, Calif. (2.6 percent), New Haven, Conn. (2.7 percent) Providence, R.I. (2.7 percent), Cleveland, Ohio (2.8 percent), Oakland-East Bay, Calif. (2.8 percent) and San Diego (2.8 percent).

With an influx of new supply coming onto the market, average apartment rents are projected to increase 3.6 percent this year and at a slower pace of 3.3 percent in 2016. Multifamily net absorption is expected to total 172,524 units in 2015 and 153,747 next year.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®

Census Bureau: Fla. has fastest growing U.S. city

THE VILLAGES, Fla. – March 27, 2015 – The Villages, located to the west of the Orlando metro area, grew by 5.4 percent between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, and now has a population of about 114,000. That makes it the fastest growing U.S. city, according to Census Bureau information released yesterday.

Overall, Florida has seven metro areas in the U.S. top 50 for growth over that timeframe.

The Census Bureau released information in December that found Florida had become the nation's third most populous state. The latest demographic info shows how growth in individual metro areas contributed to that expansion.

Florida metro growth

The seven Florida cities in the top 50 for new residents accounted for more than three-quarters of the state's total population gain over the time period:

  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (with a one-year gain of about 66,000)
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (about 50,000)
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (about 41,000)
  • Jacksonville (about 23,000)
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers (about 18,000)
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (about 16,000)
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven (about 11,000)

County growth

In addition, eight counties within these Florida metro areas were among 50 counties nationwide that gained the most population between 2013 and 2014.

Collectively, these counties accounted for more than half of the state's population gain over the period:

  • South Florida: Broward (with a population gain of about 24,000 over the period), Palm Beach (about 22,000) and Miami-Dade (about 21,000)
  • Central Florida: Orange (about 26,000) and Osceola (about 11,000)
  • West Central Florida: Hillsborough (about 22,000)
  • Southwest Florida: Lee (18,000) and Polk (11,000)

City growth by percentage

When looking at percentage of growth rather than raw numbers of new immigrants, six Florida metro areas land on the Census Bureau's top 20 list.

Furthermore, six metro areas in Florida were among the 20 fastest growing in the nation between 2013 and 2014. In addition to The Villages, they were Cape Coral-Fort Myers (sixth), Naples- Immokalee-Marco Island (10th), Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (16th), North Port-Sarasota- Bradenton (18th) and Panama City (19th).

"Florida's ascension, revealed when the 2014 state population estimates were released last December, was a significant demographic milestone for our country," Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. "These county and metro area estimates provide a more detailed picture of how this happened, showing growth in areas such as central and southern Florida."

Migration to Florida from other states and abroad was heavy enough to overcome the fact that in about half the state's counties, there were more deaths than births over the 2013 to 2014 period.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®

Floridians’ consumer confidence rises again in Feb.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Feb. 27, 2015 – Floridians' consumer sentiment in February rose more than a point, to 94.7, compared to January. It's the seventh straight month of an increase, according to the University of Florida (UF) survey.

"Economic optimism among Floridians continues to advance as many of the fundamentals show improvement," says Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

This month's increase stemmed largely from a significant increase in Floridians' views of their personal finances now compared to one year earlier. That component rose 7.6 points to 85.1, its highest level since June 2006 when the Florida housing market was at its peak. Among Floridians under age 60, it jumped from 84.2 in January to 92.5; for those age 60 or older, it ticked up marginally from 64.1 to 64.7.

Overall expectations of personal finances a year from now declined slightly by 0.4 points to 101.6, rising only among those with annual incomes of $50,000 or more. Confidence in the U.S. economy over the coming year fell 1.3 points to 94.4, while expectations of U.S. economic conditions over the next five years fell 0.4 points to 91.4.

Perceptions that it's a good time to buy big-ticket items, such as a car or appliances, rose 2.2 points to 100.8.

"The main concern is wage growth, which has not risen in line with the increase in employment. This is particularly a problem in Florida," McCarty says. Florida's unemployment rate was 5.6 percent in December, the most recent state-level report.

"Low wage growth is a contributing factor to persistently slow inflation, which has led the Federal Reserve to be cautious about raising short-term interest rates," McCarty adds. "Based on recent testimony, the Fed is still on track to raise rates sometime between June and September, but that could change if the recovery stalls."

Some low-wage jobs are in Florida tourism, which is likely to continue booming because of the harsh winter in the Northeast and idyllic weather in Florida.

Housing prices for existing single-family homes in Florida were up 7.4 percent over the previous year, to $175,000. Housing gains vary considerably across the state: South Florida, particularly Miami, is among the bright spots.

Gas prices, which make up a significant portion of the budget for lower-income households, still remain low at a statewide average in Florida of $2.30 per gallon, although they are up nearly 30 cents from the previous month.

Florida's favorable economic recovery is reflected in a nearly $1 billion budget surplus heading into the 2015 legislative session.

"While much of the world economy struggles, the U.S. economy seems to be hitting its stride, and Florida is emblematic of that recovery in many ways," McCarty says.

The index used by UF researchers is benchmarked to 1966, which means a value of 100 represents the same level of confidence for that year. The lowest index possible is a 2; the highest is 150.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®

Confluence of events could bolster housing market

NEW YORK – Jan 12, 2015 – A confluence of events could bolster the U.S. housing market, especially for entry-level buyers, according to Fitch Ratings.

While no recent actions will independently push the needle for housing higher, they could cumulatively have a "relatively meaningful impact on homebuyer psychology, pent-up demand and housing trends in 2015 and beyond," Fitch says.

During the past few months, the government has started loosening credit qualification standards for entry-level homebuyers. It has also addressed lender concerns about loan put-back risks and a key Dodd-Frank issue/risk that might have curtailed residential lending.

In addition, fuel prices have fallen sharply, increasing consumer discretionary income and making outlying suburban markets potentially more affordable for homebuyers.

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) also announced last week that it would be reducing mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage points to 0.85 percent. And this past fall, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced plans to lower the minimum downpayment requirements for loans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back for certain home buyers to 3 percent from 5 percent.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®

UCF forecast: Fla. ‘economic miracle’ in 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dec. 19, 2014 – A quarterly report released by the University of Central Florida (UCF) suggests that the recession was far worse on Florida than it realizes, but the rebound in 2015 will "surely put a twinkle in Kris Kringle's eye."

The report under Dr. Sean Snaith suggests that the recession in Florida started earlier than it did for the rest of the U.S., and it lasted longer, though no source tracks state economic data. According to UCF analysts, the Florida recession lasted 32 months longer than the rest of the U.S. – a total downturn of 50 months – before starting a tepid rebound in 2012.

In 2012 and 2013, the Florida economy grew by 2.2 percent, but UCF says growth has now accelerated. It predicts total growth of 2.6 percent in 2014, followed by 2.7 percent in 2015, 2.8 percent in 2016 and 3.0 percent in 2017.

While the projected growth pales in comparison to 2005's 6.7 percent, UCF says that's okay. Current projections are "based more on improvements in the fundamental drivers of the state's economy and a more sustainable fiscal situation in state and local government."

Florida housing

The report notes a strong improvement in Florida since the housing crisis, with median home prices rising from $122,200 to $177,000. However, "it will take many more years to recover all the wealth that was lost when the housing market collapsed and housing prices plummeted from their median price high of $257,800."

The price increase has also helped many homeowners who are no longer underwater, giving them "financial breathing room."

Rising house prices are lifting more mortgage holders in the state above the surface of the water for the first time in several years, providing some financial breathing room, though thousands of Floridians remain deeply underwater in their mortgages. Despite this progress and as noted above, RealtyTrac estimates that 28% of mortgaged homes in Florida are deeply underwater.

UCF also notes the drop in Florida's all-cash sales, from 44.3 percent in October 2013 to 39.9 percent in October this year. The big question for 2015: "Will traditional buyers pick the slack?"

The report predicts that Florida's Nominal Gross State Product approaches the $1 trillion mark and will break it by 2018 and $963 billion in 2017 – $163 billion more than in 2013 and $242 billion more than in 2009.

"As we have gained some historical perspective and examined the revised data on the recession and subsequent recovery in Florida, the economic turnaround is looking more like a miracle," the report concludes.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®




 Port Charlotte is centrally located between Fort Myers and Sarasota. Major airports, RSW and SRQ, are within a one hour drive. You can find affordable waterfront property in Charlotte County. Enjoy the beauty of Charlotte Harbor.

Southwest Florida offers some of the best beaches, not only located in Florida, but throughout the U.S.  and ranked among the Top 10 beaches in the United States by a poll taken by National Geographic Traveler magazine and Yahoo! Travel.          


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 Southwest Florida, Charlotte Harbor and Gulf Islands Ranked Best

 Discover why Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Englewood are among Florida's most desireable communities. Named as best places to live, best place to retire, best golf, best sailing, the list of accolades goes on and on.

 U.S. News & World Report rates Punta Gorda Florida as - 2008  Best Healthy Places to Retire: Punta Gorda, Florida

CNN Money Magazine, Forbes, MSN, Sperling's Best Places, SAIL Magazine, Golf Digest, Florida Trend, Milken Institute, Men's Journal, Inc. Magazine, Business Development Outlook Magazine,
America's Best Places to Live - Best Small Town - Best Boating 10 Greatest Places to Sail -  Best Golf - Best Small Places For Business in 2006 - Best Performing Cities 2005 - Small Town Gem in Florida

Punta Gorda FL does it again! 2/2007 Ranked
#2 America's 10 hottest retirement areas
2009 - Port Charlotte rated by CNN/Money Best Places to Retire 


  • Charlotte Harbor & the Gulf Islands has been named to SAIL magazine’s —10 Greatest Places to Sail in the United States.
  •  Ranked by Golf Digest as —Third Best Place to Live and Play Golf in America,” and Rated by MONEY magazine as one of the —Best Places to Live in the South.”
  • Port Charlotte was named —Best Place to Retire” by MONEY magazine in 2009
  • Punta Gorda was named in 2008 as one of —Top Ten Places to Retire Healthy” by U.S. News & World Report.
  •  Englewood, Florida was named as #2 of the Top Ten travel destinations in the U.S. by 





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    Sun Realty 
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    This Port Charlotte real estate website contains community information, area attractions, cultural events, shopping, restaurants, mortgage financing data, local government offices, and most importantly – you can freely access the MLS at your leisure, in complete privacy. Call us when you are ready. We are your professional real estate consultants. Please read the testimonials page. We are here to help you find the perfect property in your own Port Charlotte Florida waterfront paradise!