Brevard’s jobless rate falls, home prices increase (Florida Today)

Unemployment is down while home sales and prices are up.

That’s a good combination for any economy and it’s what comes out in two recently released economic reports centering on jobs and housing on the Space Coast.

On Friday, Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity released its April job figures and they showed Brevard County’s jobless rate dropped in April to 5.7 percent, down from 6 percent in March and 6.7 percent a year earlier.

Over the last year, state figures show Brevard gained 5,400 jobs, mostly in sectors such as construction, business and financial services and service providing.

At the same time, the county’s work force contracted over the past year, dropping from 258,500 to 255,296, a 1.2 percent decrease, but that may have more to do with retirees leaving the labor force than individuals who have grown frustrated because they can’t find work.

Brevard’s most important economic signal, said Mike Slotkin, an economics professor at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, is its positive job creation rate. Slotkin said that, during the first four months of 2015, Brevard created jobs more quickly than it has in a long time, and that the job growth appears to affect most labor sectors, all except that of government workers, whose job opportunities have fallen due to austerity measures.

“I’m most interested in the fact that the jobs numbers are going up and they’re going up at a pretty fast clip,” Slotkin said. “Enough time has passed that Brevard is finally getting the benefit of the national economic recovery. It took longer for us to recover because we were hit by more obstacles than people in most places. Most regions didn’t have anything comparable to the issues at Kennedy Space Center, for example.”

Slotkin’s reference is to the end of the space shuttle program in 2011 in which about 8,000 workers lost their jobs.

Over the last year, state figures show Brevard gained 5,400 jobs, mostly in sectors such as construction, business and financial services and service providing.

Statewide Florida’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2015 was 5.6 percent, a decrease of 0.8 percentage points over the year from the April 2014 rate of 6.4 percent, and a decrease of 0.1 percent from the March unemployment rate. Florida’s unemployment rate has declined by 5.1 percentage points since December 2010.

Gov. Rick Scott said, in a statement announcing the jobs gains: “We are excited to announce today that 865,600 new private-sector jobs have been created in Florida since December 2010, including more than 25,000 new jobs in the month of April alone. By working every day to keep cutting taxes and create an environment where job creators can succeed, we are keeping Florida on track to becoming the global destination for jobs.”

Home sales

Single-family home sales in Brevard County continued to edge up in April, along with prices, as a shrinking inventory continued to make it a seller’s market.

Sales in Brevard jumped nearly 16 percent in April over the previous year while median sales price — the point at which half the homes sell for less, half for more — rose to $155,000 from $132,450 in that period.

The figures, provided from the FloridaRealtors, show a robust housing market in Brevard

National home sales numbers also are being released today by the National Association of Realtors. Also coming out later today are unemployment numbers for Brevard and the rest of Florida.

In the FloridaRealtors April housing report for Brevard, some key points include:

Pending sales rose more than 17 percent over the year — 1,104 vs. 943;

The days a house stays fell on the market to 34 vs. 42 over the year;

The month’s supply of housing inventory fell to 3 months vs. 3.7 months a year earlier;

Average percent of original list price received rose to 94 percent vs. 91.4 percent over the year.

One particular sweet spot for the local housing market is the higher-end, waterfront properties.

Eva McMillan, a sales agent with Dale Sorensen Real Estate Brevard, recently sold a home on South Tropical Trail for $1.375 million in under 30 days.

“A year ago,” McMillan said, “this property probably would have sold for less money and probably taken a longer time. Every property that I have listed between $1 million and $1.5 million is selling. I’ve been getting a lot of calls on properties here from all across the United States and Europe.”

Contact Price at 321-242-3658 or wprice@floridatoday.com.

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/05/22/brevards-housing-market-sales-prices-rise/27770865/

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