At this year's Lay of the Land Conference, Gary Ralston gave an in-depth analysis regarding the impact that the state of Florida has had on the Real Estate industry.
Gary M. Ralston, CCIM, SIOR, SRS, CPM, CRE, CLS, CDP, CRX, CRRP, FRICS is Managing Director of SVN Saunders Ralston Dantzler Real Estate – the premier commercial services provider in Central Florida. Gary is a recognized subject matter expert on retail and commercial properties, a successful real estate developer, investor and group investment sponsor. From the early 1990s through 2004 Gary was the president and a member of the board of directors of Commercial Net Lease Realty, Inc. (NYSE:NNN) the industry leader in single-tenant corporate net-leased real estate. During that time he guided the company’s growth from less than $15 million in real estate assets to over $1.5 billion.
Gary began by noting that Florida is "probably the best place to be in business and in real estate today." He pointed to the increase of our state population as the prime reason for his claim. "More people," he said, "more demand for real estate."
"Florida is about six and a half percent of the nation's population," Gary continued, "leading the country in growth, slightly behind Texas." Speaking on Florida's demographics, he stated that Florida has higher percentages of Hispanic people as well as people over 65 years of age.
"We had 144,400 building permits, which is eleven percent of housing construction in the United States, but remember that we're only six and half percent of the population. So we're building a lot more than the country."
Speaking on innovation and technology, Gary expressed that Florida has room for improvement. "We're a little behind on patents. We want more patents, we want more new things in Florida. New businesses. And venture capital is down just a little bit, we need more there as well."
"The good news" he continued, "is that our GDP for the state is at $1.1 trillion and it's getting better. We are fourth in technology jobs, which are wonderful for the economy. They have a great multiplier effect associated with them."
"New business is the path to economic vitality. Think about it. Big businesses get increasingly efficient. When they merge... they're committed to efficiency which means eliminating jobs. But startups and new businesses are the multiplier for jobs. So we are pleased to see that and we need more of it in Florida."
Gary then outlined Florida's increase in employment related to education and health services. He highlighted statistics that over the past ten years, 325,000 new jobs have been created in these fields. The leisure and hospitality industry have added 400,000 new jobs over the last decade.
Unfortunately, since Gary's presentation, many employees working in these fields have been negatively impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Gary also gave a brief description of an often overlooked but nonetheless important statistic, the "location quotient". He elaborated that the location quotient is "where you have a higher percentage of jobs in that industrial classification than the national average. So it means that they're serving not just the local economy, but they're serving a broader economy. In this case it's serving the rest of the country, and maybe globally."
Following his presentation, he answered questions from the audience. To hear more of what he hand to say, listen to the podcast below.