Floridians Are More Confident About Economy

28 02 2007

A variety of factors made Florida consumers a little more confident about the economy in February, but the declining housing market makes the overall picture uncertain.

Consumer confidence rose two points in February to 91, according to research by University of Florida economists.

The increase was attributed to relatively low gas prices, low unemployment and a strong stock market. There were gains in four of the five components in the survey. The biggest gain was in perceptions of personal finances, which rose four points. Expectations about personal finances a year from now, U.S. economic conditions over the next five years and perceptions about whether it’s a good time to buy big-ticket items rose three points each. Expectations about the U.S. economy over the next year were unchanged.

Chris McCarty, director of the survey research center at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, said the big question is how much declining real estate values will affect consumer spending, and if business investment and exports can offset any drop.

McCarty expects lower housing values to affect the rest of the economy by May or June.

“This should be more pronounced here in Florida, given the enormous gains in the value of Florida real estate,” he said. “It has much further to fall than other states.”

UF conducts the Florida Consumer Attitude survey monthly. February’s survey was based on 466 responses and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Source: Jacksonville Business Journal

Jacksonville Home Sales, Median Prices Drop in January

28 02 2007

The Florida housing market continued its decline in January, and the Jacksonville area was hit as hard as the rest of the state.

Sales of existing single-family homes fell 17 percent in Jacksonville and the median price fell 5 percent to $185,000. The numbers, from the Florida Association of Realtors, did not include data from the Amelia Island-Nassau County Association of Realtors.

The drop in sales was not as severe as the 27 percent drop across the state, but the median price decline was steeper than the state’s 2 percent drop to $239,300.

One of the few bright spots was a livelier market in existing condominiums. While sales of condos fell 30 percent across the state, sales in Northeast Florida rose 10 percent. But the median price fell 13 percent to $147,600. The statewide median price of condos dropped 1 percent to $209,000.

Source: Florida Association of REALTORS

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