The Florida commercial real estate market has long been led by oranges, its star agriculture crop, and that isn't likely to change. What is likely to change is the price and location of Florida's agricultural land. Previously, agriculture reigned through central Florida and down into the southwest. However, with the significant influx of people, both from out of state and off the Florida coasts, to Florida's interior, the central agricultural land is being snapped up by residential developers. Residential developers are paying enormous premiums for agricultural land, particularly along the I-4 corridor, believing that the prices are justified by Florida's impressive growth rates. Indeed, a recent University of Florida study predicts that population growth in the next 50 years will require seven million acres of land to be taken out of agricultural use and put to residential use. The residential speculation is having the effect of driving up agricultural land prices in the central and southeastern region and concentrating the remaining croplands in the southwest. Another force moving agriculture out of the interior is a water shortage. These shortages are expected to also hamper residential development in the interior.


Southeast Florida, with its white sand beaches, celebrity hot spots and theme parks, has long been a vacation destination, but it is more than that. As Miami gains a reputation as a cosmopolitan city - a magnet to more than just Caribbean and South American immigrants - it is attracting the attention of big business. Retail, particularly high end boutique, recently took off in Miami and Miami Beach, and that shows no sign of letting up. Another indicator of business interest is the growth of Miami's office sector. Current vacancy rates are just under 10% and subleased space has plummeted to under 500,000 square feet. Much of the growth is driven by South American companies setting up shop in the U.S., but an increasing portion of office space is being taken up by European firms looking to Miami instead of New York or Boston. As well, the office sector seems to be following the industrial sector quite closely, and the Port of Miami has made Miami-Dade's industrial sector the largest in southeast Florida. A good portion of Miami's office sector growth is driven by population increases. For the first time, Miami is attracting young people who set up residence and business, not just retirees or people with second homes. For this demographic, office space is quickly being converted to mixed-use office, retail and residential.