Northern Gulf Coast – Big Bend – Panhandle

Florida’s Big Bend: A Hub of Opportunity

1. Economic Growth and Employment:

The Big Bend region, situated at a regional crossroads, has witnessed substantial employment gains. In the past year, employment in the area grew by 3.6%, matching the state’s overall employment growth rate of 3.5%. Several manufacturing and distribution businesses have opened shop, with many focusing on construction-related activities. These businesses strategically position themselves close to interstate highways, capitalizing on the region’s connectivity1.

2. Commercial Real Estate Market Overview:

Florida’s Big Bend is arguably one of the hottest commercial real estate markets in recent times. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), it boasts nine of the top 15 commercial real estate markets in the state during the fourth quarter of 2021. These markets exhibit robust conditions across various property types, including multifamily, office, industrial, retail, and hotel properties2.

3. Key Factors Driving Growth:

  • Job Growth: The top markets in the Big Bend region experience strong job growth, attracting both residents and businesses.
  • Net Domestic In-Migration: People are moving to the area, contributing to its population growth.
  • Low Vacancy Rates: Commercial properties in the region have low vacancy rates, indicating high demand.
  • Rent Growth: Rents for multifamily apartments and industrial properties are outpacing national averages.
  • Retail Opportunities: New suburban developments anchored by major retailers like Walmart, Lowes, Publix, and Walgreens are underway. Additionally, there’s a trend of integrating medical facilities within retail spaces3.

4. Specific Market Insights:

  • Office Space: The area boasts an office vacancy rate of 10.5% (compared to 12.2% nationally). It experienced net absorption of office space, while nationally, the office market saw a decline.
  • Multifamily Apartments: Asking rents have surged by 17.4% year-over-year, outperforming the national average of 11.3%.
  • Industrial Properties: Industrial rents in the region increased by 15.3% year-over-year (compared to 8% nationally).
  • Retail Stores: Brick-and-mortar retail stores maintain a low vacancy rate of 3.4% (compared to 4.6% nationally).
  • Hotel/Leisure Industry: Job creation in this sector is outpacing national trends2.

5. Future Prospects:

Investors and developers keen on commercial real estate in Florida should closely monitor regional developments and demographic trends. High demand is expected for medical office properties and educational locations, including private schools, colleges, and technical training facilities4.

In summary, Florida’s Big Bend is not only a picturesque region but also a thriving hub for commercial real estate. Its strategic location, economic vitality, and growth potential make it an attractive destination for investors and businesses alike. 🌴🏢📈

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