Volusia County’s economy can only be described as starting in 2022 with a boom based on the latest housing and employment information.
The county’s unemployment rate fell to 3.3% in February, approaching the 3% rate that economists consider full employment. The rate was 3.8% in January and 5.5% in February 2021. Out of a working population of 257,765 people, the national employment agency estimates that there were 249,141 workers employed and 8,624 unemployed in Volusia in February.
Much of the change came from employers in the Volusia-Flagler area adding jobs. The National Employment Agency estimated that employers in the two counties metropolitan statistical area had 212,100 workers, up 2,400 jobs or 1.1% from January and 6,800 jobs or 3.3 % compared to February 2021.
The rest of the job growth comes from surrounding counties which are also seeing huge job growth, with the four-county Orlando metro area adding 112,700 jobs over last year and the Jacksonville metro area. to five counties adding 38,900 jobs over last year. Brevard County added 9,200 jobs.
Construction employment is part of the growth, up 700 jobs from a year ago in the two-county region. Residential builders have been busy. A US Census Bureau survey shows builders in the Volusia-Flagler area secured permits for 832 new residential units in February with 457 single-family homes, six townhouses and 369 apartments, up from 379 residential units in February 2021 with 329 single-family homes, 30 townhouses and 20 apartments.
Despite declining inventory, real estate agents in the Volusia-Flagler area reported selling 1,075 existing homes in February, up 2.9% from February 2021. The median price, with half selling for more and the other half for less, was $330,000, up 24.7% from a year ago. year. There were 312 existing condos and townhouses sold, down 14%. The median price was $290,000, up 19.3%.
Roger Kincaid, a New Smyrna Beach real estate agent, estimates his area has only a month’s worth of housing inventory. It’s likely much the same in the rest of the Volusia-Flagler area, which means prices will continue to rise as buyers jostle for available homes.
Much of the economy of the Volusia region can be attributed to the people who settled there, of course. The Census Bureau just released county population estimates as of July 1, 2021, which show Volusia County fell from 553,543 at the 2020 census to 554,901 as of July 1, 2020, to 564,412 as of July 1, 2021 Flagler County grew by about 5,000 people. If this type of growth continues, business opportunities will be plentiful, but so will infrastructure challenges.
Commercial real estate is still suffering from what I call the Bike Week effect with only a few small transactions in Volusia. The only two I noted were the Daytona Beach PMG Service Center which purchased the Atlantis Marine property at 5481 Ridgewood Ave. in Port Orange for $750,000. A Jacksonville property management company has purchased the auto service center property at 1178 Nova Road in Holly Hill for $550,000.
A few large projects, one commercial and one residential, are under construction. The demolition of existing buildings and work on the site begins at 1555, boul. Saxon. in Deltona where, therefore, a Dollar General and Checkers are planned. Site work begins on Legends Preserve, which will fill most of the middle of LPGA International and eventually include the extension of Dunn Avenue across the Tomoka River to LPGA Boulevard in Daytona Beach.
Many projects continue to appear on planning boards. Plans submitted to St. Johns River Water Management District for #Ravenhill with apartments and commercial site on SR 472 just east of US 17/92 in DeLand. Culver’s will join Zaxby’s and 7-Eleven at the Coastal Woods East shopping site on State Road 44 in New Smyrna Beach. Dunkin Donuts scheduled at 1235 Providence Blvd. in Delton. It would be the third in the city. Site plan submitted to City of Daytona Beach for Starbucks at Tymber Creek Village on LPGA Blvd., west of I-95. The former Subaru site at 650 N. Nova Road in Daytona Beach will be redeveloped for the Hyundai-Genesis dealership.
On a final note, there was an immediate reaction to the rest of the Riverwalk project in Port Orange moving forward. A 2,880 square foot multi-tenant commercial building has been proposed at 210 Dunlawton Ave. and an 1,800 square foot medical building has been proposed at 224 Dunlawton Ave.
Editor Cecil G. Brumley has followed the business and economy of Volusia County for more than 25 years. Reach him at [email protected] (no dashes) or follow him on Twitter @cecillbrumley.