Southwest Florida residential activity surges amid pandemic | Business Observer

Throughout the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked business and sent much of the commercial real estate industry reeling.

But in Southwest Florida, overall real estate activity — as measured in deed transactions and permits — has increased considerably since the start of the health crisis in March.

Permits pulled for residential buildings — from single-family homes to apartment complexes — are up 19.3% for the 12-month period ended Sept. 30 in Charlotte, Lee and Collier counties.

Permits are forecast to be pulled at only a slightly lower level than the 18,700 of the Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2020 period over the next year in the three-county region, according to statistics and an analysis by LSI Cos., a Fort Myers-based commercial real estate brokerage firm.

“It was a bit astounding to us at first, to be honest,” says Justin Thibaut, LSI’s president. “It’s the highest rolling 12-month permit activity

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