Discretionary spenders, the ones who disappeared in the recession, are back on the Gulf Coast, reports a local executive for national homebuilder Taylor Morrison.
In fact, sales are so strong that Steve Kempton, who runs the company's West Florida division, has done something he hasn't done since at least 2005: Raise prices. Kempton did that this year in all 24 communities the firm builds in on the Gulf Coast, from Pasco County to Collier County. That covers more than 7,000 lots.
“We are seeing a little bit of appreciation in homes,” Kempton tells Coffee Talk, “and it's not (negatively) impacting sales.”
The West Florida division of Taylor Morrison, a company that also builds in Arizona, California and Texas, is up 20% year-over-year in sales through June, says Kempton. Some communities, such as Oak Creek in Riverview and Esplanade at Lakewood Ranch in east Manatee County, are booming. Esplanade, for example, has already reached 65 sales in 2012, says Kempton, nearly double the 35 sales the firm initially projected for the year.
Kempton says 75% of the company's new buyers fit into the discretionary spending demographic. Those are the kind of buyers who don't have to sell a house up north to buy in Florida. Says Kempton: “We are doing a good job of building a community that appeals to them.”