Florida Economy Recovering At Modest Pace - BMO Economics

- Worst is Over for Stressed Housing Market

- Jobless Rate Trending Down

- Net Population Migration Positive

Nov 13, 2012, 09:39 ET from BMO Financial Group

SARASOTA, Fla., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Florida economy is recovering at a modest pace, with lower inventories and upward price momentum suggesting that the worst days of the housing crash are behind. Real GDP will likely grow 1.4 percent in 2012, and pick up to 1.9 percent in 2013 when the housing recovery begins to take deeper root according to the State Monitor Report by BMO Capital Markets Economics.

There are mounting signs that the housing downturn has finally stabilized, even in this extremely hard-hit state. According to the FHFA Index, Florida prices plunged more than 40 percent peak-to-trough, but were down a modest 1.8 percent year over year in Q2 – the slowest pace of decline since early 2007. Additionally, according to the Case-Shiller Index, prices in Miami and Tampa have bounced about 9 percent from their late 2011 lows. The upward price momentum comes alongside a substantial drawdown in the months' supply of home available for sale – the 8.5 in Miami in Q2 compares to more than 60 at the depths of the downturn.

"We are seeing a significant uptick in the number of people inquiring about either refinancing their current mortgage or looking to finance a new home purchase," said BMO Harris Bank Florida President, Dave Maraman. "We continue to increase the number of mortgage specialists in recognition of the improved market."

Employment continues to grind higher, but not anything you would consider robust. Payrolls were up nearly 1 percent year over year in September, and the jobless rate is still above-average at 8.7 percent. Tourism related employment continues its recovery, with accommodation and food services up 1.3 percent year over year – still below pre-recession levels.

Net outward migration appears to have stopped, but population growth remained well below pre-recession trends at 1.2 percent in 2011.

The full State Monitor report can be downloaded at www.bmocm.com/economics .

About BMO Harris Bank
Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank(SM) is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group