In this episode of In Our Expert Opinion Real Estate Podcast, Linda is joined by SVN | Saunders Ralston Dantzler’s Partners and Managing Directors, Dean Saunders, ALC, CCIM, Gary Ralston, CCIM, SIOR, CRE, and Todd Dantzler, CCIM. Recounting the events and real estate trends of the past year, the episode covers a wide range of topics, including company expansion, Florida's population growth, and some of the challenges and opportunities within the current real estate market.
Below is an excerpt from the interview. Listen above for the full podcast.
What trends have you seen with Florida land? (Dean Saunders) The market has continued to evolve and change. We're still having people come in, and that's providing strong demand for single-family development land.
The big story for Florida is growth versus high interest rates. It’s impacting other states more than us, but those high interest rates are keeping people from selling their houses. There's a deficit in housing, and that's why the single-family product is a little more robust than it would be ordinarily.
On the land side of things, we’re still going and going. Things have slowed up a little bit, just in the number of transactions, but we're still doing them.
What is the Lay of The Land Market Report? (Dean Saunders) Really, it’s to try to give landowners a feel for what's going on in the marketplace. We research all the sales of land across the state, we verify the sales, and we provide that data in our report.
We categorize it by timberland, citrus, farmland, transitional land, and even solar sales. We try to capture those various segments of the market and let people know what's going on. We don't divulge any buyer's or seller's names, just that the transaction happened and when and where. It's really the only source of that data.
(Todd Dantzler) The [Lay of the Land] Conference is for landowners, it is not a brokerage thing and it's not for planners. It's really for the clients that Dean and the agriculture guys have so they can better understand what land values are out there because they own land. The commercial conference is a little different, but I think on the land side, that takeaway of the market report is important.
(Gary Ralston) There is no other source for this kind of information on land in the state of Florida. That is one reason why people really are attracted to [Dean’s] knowledge base and the things that the team has done. It is good to be a pioneer. I'm a data junkie so it's impressive.
Download the Lay of the Land Market Report
Why expand into Georgia? (Dean Saunders) There are a lot of folks from Florida who sell their land here and look for property in Georgia. Then we would have to deal with a broker up there, so it just made sense to move there.
One of the things that I believe strongly in is growing with good people. Bryant Peace has run our operations up there, and he’s done a great job. The key to a lot of our growth here is just good people.
Why open an office in Orlando? (Gary Ralston) The real growth sector for Florida is the I-4 corridor and the Tampa, Lakeland, and Orlando MSAs. It's about 7 million people, 30% of the population of Florida, and 40% of the growth. Interestingly enough, the Lakeland MSA, Polk County, is the fastest-growing county in the state.
Next is Orlando. The Orlando MSA is about 2.7 million people, and there's a great deal of interaction there. I lived in Orlando for 20 years, so I know the market, and I think we're going to be very productive and successful.
How has property management grown? (Gary Ralston) Lauren [Smith] is a second-generation Certified Property Manager. She's the first person we've had in that position who has been truly focused and has gotten the support and encouragement from all three of us.
That whole team has done a remarkable job and there's such a need for that in the marketplace. We filled that need and I think we're going to continue to grow and expand. We've got property management in Orlando now.
(Todd Dantzler) It’s not just property management, but it’s the leasing side as well. We've got a full leasing and property management team. When stuff breaks or you need the technical side, Dan [Brooks] does provide that, but it's soup-to-nuts with property management. It's not just managing, it is the leasing as well.