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SWFL figures heavily on Emerging Housing Markets Index

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The Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index for Winter 2022 heavily featured the Southwest Florida area. On the “biggest movers” list for this winter quarter were three local markets: Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, which surged to number one; Cape-Coral-Fort Myers area, at number 6; and Punta Gorda, coming in at 15.

The index looks at real estate data as well as indicators of healthy economic activity and quality of life.

Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com, explains what factors go into the index:

"We use indicators like the unemployment rate,  wages in an area, things that suggest healthy economic activity. We also take into account quality of life indicators, things like  small businesses, the presence of amenities stores, commute time. We’re trying to capture dynamism of a market, so we also take a look at the share of foreign born,” she said.

The share of foreign born people in a market is a good proxy, Hale said, for openness to outsiders. And South Florida, she said, tends to attract people internationally, especially in the winter.

Hale added that the news contained in this index may be good for some in the market, but not so good for others.

“For current homeowners, it’s a reflection of strong interest in the real estate market, so they’re in a really good position. For renters, or people who are hoping to buy but don’t yet own, this list  suggests that  the South Florida area is popular  and so the market is likely to be pretty active  and competitive,” said Hale. 

Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com will publish another index in the spring.