Jobs, Fewer Loan Defaults Boost Orlando’s Draw, Report States

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Orlando’s rising employment rates and waning commercial mortgage delinquencies during the last year made the region one of the nation’s leading markets for growth and investment, according to a new study.

The four-county area, including Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties, ranked fourth nationally for its business climate during the last four quarters, according to a report released Wednesday by the analytics firm Trepp LLC. Orlando ranked behind Seattle, Las Vegas and Atlanta in the measurement of economic growth and commercial real estate investment, said Sean Barrie, research analyst for Trepp.

During the last year, Orlando’s population grew 2.5 percent and unemployment was 3.9 percent, with 42,800 jobs added during the last four quarters, Trepp’s report stated

Orlando’s ranking was not surprising to Marcel Arsenault, who oversees the investment management company Real Capital Solutions, based in Colorado.

“We concur 100 percent. Orlando has wonderful in-migration from Puerto Rico and elsewhere, and it benefits from the ‘Great Drain’ of companies leaving New Jersey,” said Arsenault, who studies business cycles of property types throughout the country. Last week, he showed an audience of real estate journalists the advisory emails he sent in 2005 predicting a sharp economic slide, which materialized starting a year later as the Recession.

Underscoring his views, Real Capital Solutions earlier this month purchased Maitland Forum with more than 284,000 square feet at 2600 Lake Lucien Drive, Maitland, for $15.4 million and Park Center with more than 127,000 square feet at 2500 Maitland Center Parkway for $6.8 million, records show.

Maitland stands as one of the biggest turn-around markets in the region, said Chris Owen, who oversees research for Cushman & Wakefield in Florida. Vacancies for Maitland-area offices diminished from about a quarter of available space to a tenth during a three-year period that ended in early 2017, the real estate brokerage reported. Relatively affordable office rents, particularly when compared with downtown Orlando, have boosted activity there, he added.

Owen cited another factor considered by companies scouting cities for call-center and back-office locations: Orlando residents are often “accent-neutral” and can communicate easily with customers nationwide.

Trepp cited Orlando’s rising appeal in part to businesses relocating from expensive markets with higher taxes, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Trepp researchers referred to Orlando and other top cities in the ranking as “18-hour cities” — they may not enjoy the same round-the-clock cache as larger cities but are heading in that direction.

Trepp also cited Florida’s lack of state income tax.

Orlando businesses are not without some credit problems, although commercial mortgage delinquencies dropped about a half a percent to 2.18 percent during the year-long period. Trepp reported.

Thank you:  Orlando Sentinel

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