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September 2014   

Floridaís Residential on Rebound Without Forces of Speculation

By: Scott Casabona

I recently attended the Florida Wall & Ceiling Contractors Association annual convention and trade show in Orlando, Fla., and returned thoroughly impressed with the size and scope of the event. At almost every trade show I attend, I come away with one idea or one new product that warrants a try. This event was no exception. With more than 100 trade show exhibitors and a few hundred attendees, the convention and trade show presented me with an opportunity to meet and speak with numerous contractors, suppliers and manufacturers who make Florida their home.

Almost everyone I spoke with in Florida was upbeat and optimistic that the local economy was finally turning the corner; attendees were hopeful the next few years will become more prosperous. In fact, I was advised some areas of Florida are downright booming with multifamily residential leading the way in the Southeast section of the state. But unlike the real estate bubble that started to burst in 2007, this residential boom appears to be different.

Iím told this resurgence in residential construction is being driven by owner occupants, and there is much less speculation associated with this new wave of building. Thatís good news for a number of reasons. For starters, the lack of speculation will keep real estate prices appreciating at modest rates, thus avoiding another real estate bubble. Second, and perhaps more importantly, owner occupants need places to shop, healthcare facilities, schools to send their children and other ancillary services that accompany an influx of people. This slow and steady growth is exactly what the commercial construction markets need in Florida, and itís exactly what we need throughout the rest country.

The FWCCA membership is passionate about our industry and judging by the associationís officers and directors, it is certainly in good hands and ready to tackle future challenges head on. Thank you to outgoing President Robert Wilson with Cemex, Inc. and incoming President Nathan Ramsey with L&W Supply. Special thanks to Jeff Burley, a past president of AWCI, and his wife Nancy for their hospitality during my stay.

In addition to being 2014Ė2015 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Casabona is president of Sloan & Company, Inc. in West Caldwell, N.J.

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