Florida Gulf Coast University recently released the January 2022 edition of the Southwest Florida Regional Economic Indicators. The report shares economic data for the region, including an update on the real estate market status across the coastal counties of Lee, Charlotte and Collier. Overall, the report indicates that the real estate market is leveling off after fairly dramatic swings brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Single-family building permits, the metric which indicates the number of new homes under construction, saw an increase of 40% from November 2020 to November 2021. Yet, while this growth indicates increases in new construction from earlier stages of the pandemic, a comparison of more recent numbers actually shows a slow decline over the latter half of 2021.
For example, at the peak of the pandemic housing boom in May 2021, approximately 1,100 new single-family permits were issued by Lee County. However, that number dropped over 18% to roughly 900 permits the County issued by November 2021. These numbers seem to indicate that in the early stage of the pandemic, new construction fell off, likely due to concerns over the economy, material and supply shortages, labor shortages, and a variety of other pandemic-related factors.
In 2021, Florida attracted thousands of new residents seeking to enjoy warmer weather and less stringent COVID restrictions. However, it appears now the population influx into the state may be beginning to slow, which in turn is resulting in a leveling off in new construction. Whether this pattern continues now that more seasonal residents are returning to the area remains to be seen.