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Tony Veldkamp, CCIMTony Veldkamp, CCM, Senior Advisor
SVN | Commercial Advisory Group



Florida residential and commercial both getting a bump as entrepreneurs relocate

If you’re trying to find property in the Florida counties of Manatee and Sarasota these days, you’ll quickly realize how difficult that can be. And with good reason.

About 15 years ago, the Sarasota/Bradenton area was one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. People were still moving to Florida in those days, of course, but the popular destinations then were Miami and some hot areas on the east coast.

All that has changed in recent years. People have discovered the beautiful beaches here, the arts community and the economic activity. In short, they’ve found out it’s a great place to live.

On top of that, migration has accelerated dramatically during the past year as residents of other states seek to escape strict pandemic lockdowns imposed on them and their businesses. They’re also looking for tax relief, something that makes Florida increasingly attractive to many.

Rising demand

As a result, residential real estate is being snatched up in something akin to a feeding frenzy. Housing is becoming relatively scarce, therefore, and so is the land on which to build it.

It can be difficult finding a site for residential development because of the strict zoning restrictions across the state. An owner of a thousand-acre ranch, for example, can’t simply decide to turn the property into a housing development. Comprehensive land use plans in effect within each Florida county often preclude such a thing.

Zoning keeps many properties out of play

Florida required its counties to enact these plans, beginning in the 1980s. At that time, urban sprawl was a major concern to residents. They didn’t want their lovely state loaded up with houses from coast to coast. And so, each piece of land was designated for its respective segment and nothing else.

Thankfully, there are measures in place for rezoning properties. We’re beginning to see some land once specified as industrial now rezoned for residential to meet the rising demand.

Commercial follows residential

Because of how tight the market has become, CRE advisors have noticed a sudden interest in properties that, up until now, generated very little attention. And because commercial real estate (CRE) follows residential, there has also been interest in land for businesses that accommodate population growth: gas stations, oil-change service, restaurants.

Even office space is heating up in some sectors. Entrepreneurs have moved here from other states and set up businesses that allow them to work at home, at least initially. But in short order, these businesses can expand to the point where it becomes unwieldy to keep all business materials in the house or the garage. When that happens, the business owner may seek a small office setting.

Some businesses, such as an ophthalmology clinic, have no choice but to operate out of an office. As a result of these factors, small office properties are becoming harder and harder to find in Sarasota and Bradenton.

Industry pros make all the difference

That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced, well-connected CRE professional enlisted to bring together buyers and sellers. The properties may be hard to find, but they’re out there. SVN Commercial Advisory Group has industry professionals covering the Tampa Bay market with expertise in all segments of commercial real estate. I highly recommend working with someone who knows the industry inside and out can help track down these elusive properties for you.