Over 175 people gathered in the Poolside Room at the Chain O' Lakes Complex this morning to learn about the national economy, the City of Winter Haven growth and the state of the local real estate market. Speakers Joseph Keating, Merle Bishop and Kyle Winningham shared their expertise, explaining an overall feeling of both stability on the national front and growth on the local level.
The National Economy
The morning kicked off with a look at the national economy from Mr. Joseph Keating, Executive Vice President, Chief Investment Officer and Head of Wealth Management for CenterState Bank. Mr. Keating reviewed key statistics and indicators that he uses to help forecast for the future of the economy.
Regarding growth, Mr. Keating feels that a 2% growth rate is relatively stable and likely to hover around that amount. Of course the economy will get a temporary boost from the impacts of Hurricane Irma. For example, motor vehicle sales spiked in September as a result of the flooding in Houston. We have experienced 85 months of job growth and 99 months of GDP growth. He predicts that there is not necessarily an imminent recession as long as the Fed implements conservative monetary policy.
Regarding the proposed tax reform in Washington, he sees both positive and negative elements. In his view, removing the deduction for state & local taxes is a good thing as he views it as subsidizing high tax states. He also believes that our corporate tax rate is not competitive in the global market. That being said, he also believes that is there is a large tax cut it could expedite the end of business expansion. If the current plan could adjust to affect individuals in lower to middle income more it would be improved in his opinion. The greatest challenge is the risk of increasing the national debt even more.
Mr. Keating's prediction on inflation is that it will continue to be stable around 1.88%.
Winter Haven's Growth
The City of Winter Haven's Growth Management Director Merle Bishop presented the story of Winter Haven's growth over the last several years. Perhaps one of the most astounding statistics is the 21% growth in Winter Haven's population between 2010 and 2017 according to UF's annual BEBR study.
This image shows that Winter Haven is directly in the center of Florida's super region and experiencing some of the highest levels of growth in the state.
All Polk communities in the top 100 of growth in Florida are in East Polk County
Forbes had identified our metropolitan statistical area (Lakeland-Winter Haven MSA) as the 11th highest in the country in population growth, 24th in job growth, etc.
This graph shows the increase in construction permitting over the last 10 years through year-to-date 2017. We've now exceeded 2007 levels in the first 3 quarters of this year in Winter Haven.
This graph shows you that the majority of the utility connection requests were in the City limits, not the unincorporated area.
2016 had permitting values exceeding $50M which did include the hospital ER expansion and the courtyard.
This graph shows the increase to property values across the City. We have two CRA districts, both downtown and the Northeast Winter Haven area known as Florence Villa.
Polk County Real Estate
Kyle Winningham, owner of Winningham & Pospichal real estate appraiser presented an update on the real estate market in Polk County. Many of his slides are self explanatory, but you'll see an increase in both home values and sales.
As long as we are above the line we are in a good position.
We are currently in a seller's market.
We are currently in a rising market, but not yet to peaking.