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Real Estate, Leasing, Rentals Rank High in New Businesses in Polk County

March 15, 2023 News

Polk County continues to rank high on a myriad of lists, from the best retirement location to the perfect location for your business. Recently, it ranked 14th on a list of mid-size metros with the most jobs created by new businesses at 4.6%. Northport/Sarasota/Bradenton topped the list at 12.1%. 

Given the tremendous growth the county has been experiencing the last few years, the category leading the list here should be no surprise: real estate, including renting and leasing. 

Hireahelper.com developed the list using U.S. Census Bureau data. “To determine the locations with the most jobs created by new businesses, researchers at HireAHelper calculated the share of total employment attributable to business establishments that opened in the past 12 months,” it wrote. “The share of total employment at newly opened businesses neared 8% in the late 1980s, but today, new firms employ just 3.9% of the total labor market.” 

Delaware topped the list of states, but Florida ranked highly because of its growing population and low tax rates, the website said. 

In January 2023, Wallethub.com ranked Florida as the No. 1 state in the nation with the best business environment and No. 2 in the nation, following Utah, as the best state to start a business. They used 27 indicators in compiling the list. 

Polk County Tax Collector Joe Tedder, whose office provides collection, enforcement and distribution services on business taxes for the Board of County Commissioners, said the net number for new businesses in 2022 was 5,515, up 670 from 4,845 in 2021, Tedder said. 

“The new business numbers in our system are a net number,” he said. “It takes the new accounts minus the accounts that have been closed because they have notified us they are no longer in business.” 

Job Categories

Nationally, the top industries generating jobs from new businesses include:  

  • Real estate (rental and leasing) 
  • Accommodation and food services 
  • Administrative and support 
  • Transportation and warehousing 
  • Arts, entertainment and recreation. 
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting 

In Polk County, lodging and short-term rentals led the list in 2021 and 2022 and property leasing ranked fifth both years, according to information Tedder provide. 

“I believe any new businesses associated with real estate have probably been successful over the last few years, just given what the market has done,” said Matt Clark, president of Broadway Real Estate Services in Lakeland. “However, that could easily change if there is a downturn in the market. The market does not always go up, and that might be a learning curve for some of these new businesses.” 

Growth has been staggering in the last five years. Since 2017, there has been $1.134 billion in new capital investment, $209 million in new payroll and nearly 6,000 new and retained jobs – just in Central Florida Development Council projects. 

Real Estate Services

He’s not surprised that the real-estate category ranks highly. “Real estate, especially multi-family leasing and single-family home building/sales, has been extremely hot the last several years. As more folks poured into Central Florida, those demographic changes created more and more demand for residences. With many people not wanting to buy or not being able to buy, leasing accelerated.” 

Like many others, Clark knows a mild recession is possible, which could change things, he said. “Real estate has had a great run but will likely cool off during the pending recession. It will be interesting to see how our local market changes and how the real estate business community reacts.” 

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