Real Estate Woes

Published: July 28 2010


While the Gulf oil spill has peppered Panhandle beaches with tar balls, experts say it has also swamped a shaky Florida real estate industry.

The University of Florida’s latest quarterly survey of real estate experts shows impact from the oil spill all over the state. The outlook for single-family housing development and sales dropped in the last quarter, linked in part to the spill and stagnant job growth.

Timothy Becker/UF real estate researcher: “I think what we’re seeing across the country is pretty indicative. Where jobs are starting to grow faster, we’re starting to see more activity. The economy’s getting better, houses are starting to move more. In Florida, we’re just behind the curve on unemployment so we’re behind the curve as it relates to the economic recovery and therefore housing.”

Florida has the nation’s fifth highest unemployment rate, even though levels dropped slightly this month.

Timothy Becker/UF real estate researcher: “While we see signs of stabilization in all markets, we have a lot of uncertainty in the system right now; people really aren’t sure what’s going to happen going forward.”

And experts call uncertainty the worst thing for any financial market to face.