Where have all the people gone?
A recent US Census Bureau report says that a whopping 18% of houses in Florida are sitting vacant. That’s 1.6 MILLION houses! Even more stunning are the rates in some of our neighboring counties. Gulf and Franklin counties have vacancy rates approaching 50%! While I could not find hard numbers for Bay County, I can assure you that it’s not that bad! There are, however, more vacancies than I have ever seen.
I have often said that we had too much “heated and cooled square footage” in the market, and these stats bear that out. But since Bay County did not overbuild as much as south Florida did, it should not take us as long to recover as some other areas of the state. In this CNN/Money article, the talking heads predict that it will be 2030 before some Florida cities recover. But keep in mind, it was CNN/Money that predicted that Bay County was going to take off like a rocket a few years back…they don’t have a great track record!