Real estate trends offer mixed signals for Florida economy

Current real estate metrics provide a murky outlook for the Florida economy, according to Robert Livingston, an investment analyst for the Florida Real Estate Journal. Though housing markets are showing signs of revival, commercial property values dropped 25.8 percent from a year ago and a full 42 percent from the October 2007 apex. Commercial property sale volume is up — $5.6 billion in March, up from $4.2 billion in February and significantly higher than 2009 levels. REITs are also performing well, with a 6.9 percent total return for April. Cap rates are steady at 7.81 percent
in March. But commercial office absorption rates saw a decrease in the first quarter of this year, in comparison to the same time period last year. However, real estate capital markets are improving, as home sales were up in March and prices strengthened for existing homes. Investment property vacancy rates and rents stabilized after two years of steady decline. [Florida Real Estate Journal]

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