Consumer confidence in Florida reaches post-recession high

Florida consumer confidence jumped four points to a post-recession high of 82 in June, according to a University of Florida survey. Possible explanations could include falling gas prices and an increase in low-paying jobs. The level fluctuated between the upper 70s and lower 80s for more than a year, and the rise was unexpected due to a slowdown in housing and a rise in unemployment in Florida, said Chris McCarty, director of UF’s Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

The confidence index, benchmarked to a 1966 level of 100, measures changes over time within a range of two and 150. McCarty said the 18-point rise among households with incomes less than $30,000 and younger Florida residents was more puzzling. The demographic, which is unlikely to benefit from gains in the stock market and housing, has had difficulty with student loan debt and finding well-paying jobs, according to The Gainesville Sun.

Of the five survey components, two hit post-recession highs. The perceptions that respondents are financially better now than a year ago increased four points to 75, and whether now is a good time to buy big-ticket items increased four points to 94. Up five points to 81 were expectations that personal finances will improve in a year. The outlook for the national economy over the next year increased seven points to 81, and the outlook for the next five years increased two points to 78.

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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