Jeb Bush, outlook on real estate draws over 275 attendees to the CBC Saunders Real Estate Lay of the Land Conference

LAKELAND, FL March 21, 2017 – Real estate experts expressed optimism about the Florida real estate market at the ninth annual Lay of the Land Florida Land Conference March 17, at the Omni Orlando Resort in ChampionsGate, FL. The conference focused on economic, market, sales, and regulatory information relevant to Florida land, and was hosted by Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate (CBCSRE) from Lakeland, FL, one of the state’s largest land brokers.

Approximately 275 landowners, developers, investors, and others heard a candid conversation with former Florida governor John Ellis “Jeb” Bush along with multiple presentations from guest speakers. Attendees also received the CBCSRE 2017 Lay of the Land Market Report, a single-source of Florida 2016 verified land sales data, which is used to evaluate market trends and values throughout the year.

Speakers for the Lay of the Land Florida Land Conference included Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM, Governor Jeb Bush, Fred Schmidt, Mark Dotzour, PhD, Russell Riggs, and Gary Ralston, CCIM, SIOR, CPM, CRE, CLS, CDP, CRX, FRICS.

Opening speaker Gary Ralston set the tone by announcing that Florida is the second fastest growing state in population, behind only Texas. Employment is recovering, the housing market is booming and tourism is doing great, said Ralston, founder and commercial real estate broker for Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Ralston Dantzler.

Fred Schmidt, president and COO of Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates LLC, provided a national view of the marketplace. “All in all, a relatively healthy commercial real estate market,” he said. Schmidt said “tailwinds” for commercial real estate include the prospect of a reduced regulatory environment, the possibility of reduced taxes and rising employment. Possible obstacles for the market, or “headwinds,” include the threat of trade wars, wars and political unrest, and rising interest rates.

“Business people and consumers are pretty optimistic right now; you wouldn’t know that by watching TV,” declared Mark Dotzour, former chief economist and director of research at Texas A&M University. He says he’s heard expressions of optimism ever since the 2016 presidential election in November. He insisted that he is neither Republican nor Democrat, but “a registered cynic.”

Dotzour said he believes the United States is in the “sixth or seventh inning” of its current economic expansion. “The economy still has a lot of energy left,” he added, and then warned, too much laughter, “I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about.”

Dotzour said his retirement portfolio is 87 percent in commercial real estate. “I think we’re in a new bull market for single-family homes,” he added, explaining that he believes millennials will soon start marrying, having kids and buying houses.

Like Schmidt and some other speakers, Dotzour said the reduced regulation that is expected under President Trump will be good for many industries. The tax reform and infrastructure spending promised by Trump would also be bullish for the economy, but aren’t likely to happen, according to Dotzour.

“I’m bullish all this year going forward,” Dotzour concluded. “I’m still bullish about commercial real estate.”

Russell Riggs, government affairs liaison for the National Association of Realtors, discussed “the new reality of Washington” with a new president and Congress. “Regulations across the board are being reduced,” he said. Turning to tax reform, he declared, “Everything is on the table.”

Conference host Dean Saunders, owner and broker of CBCSRE, conducted a wide-ranging conversation with former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Bush, a native Texan, said he moved to Florida in large part “to get out of my dad’s shadow.” His father is former President George W. Herbert Bush, and his brother is former President George W. Bush. Once in Florida, Bush said he discovered “it is by far and away the best state.”

Saunders asked Bush, who lives in Miami, why Florida and U.S. land are in high demand among South American investors. “We’re the greatest country on the face of the earth” and people from other countries recognize that” Bush answered. “We’re secure and safe,” Bush added, explaining that many from other countries want to move away from corrupt regimes and other problems. “The rest of the world sees us as the best hope for the world” and for their families, Bush said.

Responding to a question from the audience, Bush said Florida does a good job funding conservation easements to protect water resources for the long-term health of the state. But, he added, Florida does not have a good funding source for its transportation infrastructure, which he said in some parts of the state is “falling apart.”

Saunders presented his view of the state of real estate and its immediate future in the Lay of the Land 2016 Market Report distributed at the conference. “Whether you agree with the President or not, his election has undeniably ushered in an enthusiasm and optimism about the real estate market and the national economy not seen in at least the past 12 years,” Saunders wrote. “As the President and Congress consider changes in tax policy, deregulation and investment in infrastructure, I anticipate consumer confidence and excitement to propel the real estate market for the next couple of years.”

About Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate:

Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Real Estate is regarded as an authority on all types of Florida land and conservation easements, transacting over $2 billion in sales from 1996 through mid-2016. Offering land, forestry, and conservation easement real estate services through CBC Saunders Real Estate and the CBC Saunders Real Estate |Forestry Group, the Saunders team of land professionals and foresters offers advisory and transactional services through the home office in Lakeland, FL, the north Florida office in High Springs, FL, and its network of Coldwell Banker Commercial affiliate offices nationwide and worldwide. We provide services to land and commercial clients through both CBCSRE and our commercial real estate brokerage, Coldwell Banker Commercial Saunders Ralston Dantzler Realty.