Population in Collier and Lee Counties Growing

Population increasing in lee and collier counties
The population in Lee and Collier counties is estimated to have increased since 2010, likely due to an increase in baby boomers looking for second homes, retirees moving to Florida, people taking advantage of lower housing prices and a slightly stronger job outlook.
The population is estimated to have grown 3.1 percent in Lee County and 2.6 percent in Collier County from 2010 to 2012, according to census data and preliminary population estimates from the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.
Fort Myers led the way in Lee County with an estimated 7.3 percent growth from 2010 to 2012. BEBR’s preliminary population estimate for 2012 is 66,835, according to an electronic submission from the Lee County Department of Community Development. That is up from 62,298 in the 2010 census.
“I’m not surprised by the 7 percent,” said Brett Ellis, a partner with The Ellis Team at Re/Max Realty Group in Fort Myers. “That just feels like it could be right.”
Ellis said he’s seen a lot of baby boomers wanting second houses, retirees and people taking advantage of lower housing prices.
The next highest growth after Fort Myers was Cape Coral at 3.8 percent and Bonita Springs at 2.8 percent. In Lee County, only Fort Myers Beach had a slight drop of 0.38 percent. BEBR has contacted cities and counties to verify these numbers and will release its official population study Nov. 1.
“It is a very positive indicator that we are back in the plus column for population growth, and we expect that to accelerate over the next 20 years,” said Jack McCabe, independent housing analyst and CEO of Deerfield Beach-based McCabe Research and Consulting LLC.
He said the growth is mainly due to retiring baby boomers, people taking advantage of lower home prices and foreigners moving into the state.
While McCabe said he wouldn’t attribute the population increase to a growth in jobs, Michael Timmerman, senior associate at the Naples office of Fishkind and Associates Inc., an Orlando-based economic consulting firm, said it could be playing a role.
In January 2010, Lee County had 241,562 people employed. In January 2012, it had 253,704, according to state figures.
During the same period, Collier County went from 127,877 in 2010 to 139,939.
Meanwhile the jobless rate in Lee County fell from 13.3 percent in January 2010 to 9.9 percent in January 2012. In Collier County, it dropped from 11.8 percent in January 2010 to 8.7 percent in the same month in 2012.
In addition to those retiring and looking for second homes, he said there has been some growth in job opportunities — such as seasonal jobs — that could be impacting and benefiting the population.
“Well, any time we’ve got an increase in population, it’s going to benefit across the board locally,” he said.

Commercial Real Estate Development Improving

New construction
It is exciting to see large land sales taking place for new construction. This will help create new jobs when construction begins.
Previously this week, Minto Communities LLC, within Canada, unveiled plans to lead Sabal Bay, a long-planned 3, 300-acre housing project in Eastern side Naples. The multimillion-dollar land sale is likely to close later this year and plans necessitate more than 1, 600 residences, with more than 1, three hundred acres of preserves, lakes along with natural habitat, south of Thomasson Drive.
On Wednesday, LaBelle-based Alico Inc. released its sale of 5, 187 acres near Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero with a local developer, O. J. Buigas, pertaining to $10 million. Part of the deal has already closed, Lee Region land records show.
"People are stepping out and taking a position and perhaps they are doing this because they are purchasing the property at very fair costs. They are seeing there is light at the end side of the tunnel and the longer term is promising, " said Randy Thibaut, a commercial real estate property broker with Land Solutions within Ft Myers.
In the circumstance of Buigas, he's paying a lot less than $2, 000 an acre to the land in Estero, east regarding FGCU between Corkscrew and Alico roadways. Buigas declined to comment about his plans to the property, which are still within the works.
More land sales are expected in the coming months.
"There isn't doubt that the market intended for development has accelerated dramatically. We saw the recent announcement of Minto from Sabal Bay. That's going to become a big deal when it sales closes, " said Ross McIntosh, a new Naples broker and housing professional.
He said other big land deals will soon be closing.
"There can be a sense that the housing marketplace is recovering. Not only perhaps there is a sense, but there is now evidence, " McIntosh said, aiming to increased demand, falling catalog and rising prices.
While Sabal Clean only needs a site plan acceptance, the approval and planning procedure for Buigas' development could acquire years.
The developer will take his time to decide what he'll put on the land, but his plans may include student housing to service the growing Gulf Coast University – and you will find there's chance they could include a football stadium in the event the university ever wants one, stated Woody Hanson, a real estate consultant that is working with Buigas on the project.
"The different alternatives are being evaluated, " he said. "The timeline is whatever timeframe it takes to do this project right. "
McIntosh said the land could well be ideal for student housing since it is within walking distance regarding FGCU.
"Demand for housing near FGCU is among the bright spots, " he stated.
Development is restricted in the spot. Most of the property currently being purchased by Buigas falls right density reduction groundwater recharge place, also known as DRGR, created within the more rural areas of Lee County to defend drinking water supplies. The tougher rules enable one house for every 10 acres of uplands then one house for every 20 miles of wetlands, Hanson said.
Buigas is committed to repairing and enhancing the ecological resources on the site, particularly the water flow, Hanson stated.
"He has the ability plus the intent to reconnect the flow strategies that are now busted, " this individual said of Buigas.
Even with all the strict rules on development, Hanson said he could see Buigas having a cluster of neighborhoods, or villages, that are connected and surround the lakes once employed for rock mining.
Others have tried  to develop the land. The now-defunct Ginn Advancement Co., which planned to develop the site with hundreds of homes and a golf course, but those plans flopped following the red-hot housing market went bust line, starting in 2006.
"I don't think anybody would even understand this property the way Ginn looked at it, " Hanson said. "Mr. Buigas will probably look at the property independent of what others did. "
McIntosh said Buigas is one of just a few local developers who have come through the recession unscathed.
Buigas is the CEO of Private Equity Group LLC, which has developed in excess of 14, 000 acres in Florida given it was founded in 1985. The business has completed more than $2 billion in real estate property transactions, and it has built in excess of 8, 000 homes and 16 stores.
Gary Tasman, founder and exec director for Cushman & Wakefield Professional Property Southwest Florida LLC within Fort Myers, said he's noticed more awareness from developers and investors in land within the last 12 months, which he believes has been spurred partly by low interest.
Courtesy of Naples News. Search BestFortMyersRealEstate for all your Real Estate needs.