Brevard County’s high in-migration incomes to drive commercial real estate boom

By  –  Staff Writer, Orlando Business Journal

The numbers don’t lie — the average incomes of people moving to Brevard County Florida are higher than those for in-migration to Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake and Volusia counties.

An analysis by The Business Journals based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the IRS for the 2019 and 2020 tax filing years shows the average adjusted gross income for incoming Brevard County residents is $79,649.

That’s higher than averages for Volusia County ($65,993), Lake County ($63,861), Orange County ($62,576), Seminole County ($57,566) and Osceola County ($49,197).

The implications for this trend are myriad, and perhaps most pronounced is a booming commercial real estate landscape on the Space Coast.

“It’s not just selling the future — it’s here,” said Holly Carver, of Titusville-based Rocket City Commercial. “The high-wage earners moving in are creating the need for more neighborhood services, housing and medical uses.”

NASA’s space shuttle program closed in 2011, creating a bleak outlook for the Space Coast, but the growth in the private space industry and advanced manufacturing in the region has spurred Brevard County’s renaissance.

CoStar Group’s Lisa McNatt, the director of market analytics for the Orlando market, said this growth has compounded, an example of which is Terran Obital Corp.’s plans to invest $300 million in a satellite manufacturing facility at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport that will create 2,100 high-wage jobs.

The influx of high-wage earners has helped create a landscape where homes being built in Brevard County are the sixth-most expensive among midsize counties in the nation, with an average value of $297,127 per unit authorized, according to a report by Construction Coverage.



In Titusville, The Shores at Tranquility mixed-use development with waterfront luxury homes in the $600,000-$2 million range along the Indian River Lagoon sold out its first 99 lots in just six days.

More high-wage earners also create a need for more multifamily product because some of those individuals either are not ready to buy a home or do not want to. In addition, high-wage earners create the need for restaurant and retail offerings, which also drives a need for more apartments to house the workforce needed to staff those shops and eateries.

Duane Anderson, an associate in the Orlando office of Calabasas, California-based Marcus & Millichap Inc.’s (NYSE: MMI) multi-housing group who has done several deals in Brevard County, said that demand has made Space Coast apartments an increasingly sought-after asset type.


In fact, the top deed transaction to this point in 2022 in Brevard County was the $92.8 million sale of The Luminary at 95 apartments in West Melbourne in June.

“Brevard is getting a lot of attention, specifically from private investors,” Anderson told Orlando Business Journal. “From an investor standpoint, the fundamentals are attractive. They’re seeing incredibly low vacancies and people moving into those markets on a consistent basis.”

Another wrinkle to the Brevard County multifamily market, according to McNatt, is the diversity of product developers are bringing to market. “While developers in Orlando primarily are focused on building higher-quality, 4- and 5-star products, there are multiple 3-star properties under construction in Brevard County.”


Closely following the need for single- and multifamily housing in Brevard County is that of industrial space, particularly for warehouses to keep up with modern trends in e-commerce, but also to house many of the incoming manufacturing firms.

“We have such a need for warehouse industrial space,” said Lisa Earnhardt, a co-owner of Rocket City Commercial along with Carver. “Our phone has been ringing from Day One when we opened our company needing warehouse and industrial space — anywhere from 1,000 square feet to 100,000 square feet.”

One big project in the pipeline to meet that need is Key Group Holdings LLC’s plans to develop a 50-acre first phase of Space Coast Innovation Park in Titusville — the start of a project that will include the development of 917,099 square feet of industrial space spread across nine buildings next to Space Coast Regional Airport and Space Coast Air & Spaceport.


If developed, Space Coast Innovation Park would add another facilities hub for growing businesses in Brevard County. There’s also the 299-acre Exploration Park near Kennedy Space Center, which came about from a partnership between NASA and Space Florida. Aerospace, technology and scientific companies can lease existing or built-to-suit facilities in Exploration Park.

“As companies continue to expand successfully and create further high-wage jobs for our region, a growing footprint of site options provides additional avenues for their continued success,” said Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast President/CEO Lynda Weatherman. “We welcome these new development plans at Space Coast Innovation Park.”

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Tom is a construction estimator with over 35 years of experience in the industry from field work to general contracting.

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