Florida welcomed 105 million people in 2015


Florida became the first state to welcome more than 100 million out-of-state and international tourists.

Gov. Rick Scott said more than 105 million people came to the Sunshine State in 2015. The record-breaking number was announced Thursday morning at Epcot.

“We have a great tourism industry all across our state,” said Scott.

State and tourism officials said it took time to crack the 100 million mark, a goal set by Scott several years ago.

Florida missed the mark in 2014 by recording nearly 99 million tourists that year. Now that the state has comfortably surpassed its goal, Scott set a new goal of 115 million visitors. Following the media event to announce Florida’s 2015 tourism numbers, Governor Rick Scott and Will Seccombe, President and CEO of Visit Florida, discuss tourism, job growth, and new goals.
“The momentum is extraordinary,” he said. “And one of the most important things we have is strengths in markets like the U.K. and Latin America. We have growth in overseas visitors.”

Orlando’s streak as the most-visited destination continues!

The Orlando area welcomed 66.1 million people in 2015, a 5.5 percent increase.

Between January and June, Florida recorded 54.1 million tourists.

About 25.8 million visitors came to Florida during the second quarter of 2015, an increase of 5.5 percent over 2014’s second quarter.

New attractions and an ever-changing tourist landscape in Florida is being credited for the increased number of visitors.

Chapek took a moment to describe the lenghty list of changes and updates coming to Disney’s parks in Orlando, including lands for Star Wars, Toy Story and Avatar.

Seccombe said Orlando’s success is critical for the state’s overall success.

“Orlando is the most visited destination in the United States. It’s the most visited city,” he said. “And certainly the home of the theme park capital of the world, right? No place else on earth can compare to that.”

In 2014, Orlando recorded 62 million visitors, which includes in-state, out-of-state and international visitors. Even though the two tourism agencies track tourists differently, Seccombe said Orlando accounts for the “lion’s share” of Florida’s traffic.

“This new milestone and rapid growth over the past two decades is a result of having a tourism industry and community partners that are focused on growth and investment, dedication to the needs of our visitors and global marketing and sales efforts of our Visit Orlando team and member companies,” said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, in a prepared statement.

Hotels also did well, with 33 million sold room nights, which generated more than $230 million in tourist development taxes for Orange County.

Bill’s Bit:

More good news for Orlando villa owners and other Central Florida investment property investors!



With over 20,000 investment homes to choose from, British Homes Group can provide a fully managed leaseback agreement and bonus access to an exclusive rental partnership with Virgin Holidays. The partnership can assist and support investors in finding reliable tenants in order to make the most of the property.

For more information please contact British Homes Group today on +1 407 396 9914 or visit www.britishhomesgroup.com

Orlando Florida, USA

www.BuyToLetHomes.com | www.BritishHomesGroup.com

bhg chamber

Serving UK and International Villa Owners and Property Investors in the Walt Disney Area of Central Florida For Over 30 Years!

Orlando area Distressed Sales


Some numbers from the ORLANDO BUSINESS JOURNAL on distressed property sales in the Orlando area.

Distressed sales continued to decrease in February, according to a new report from CoreLogic.

Orlando, Kissimmee and Sanford had the largest year-over-year drop in its distressed sales.

In January, our share of distressed sales was at 19.8 percent, so the latest data shows a pretty good decrease for the region. In fact, Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford had the largest year-over-year drop in its distressed sales share, declining by 5.3 percentage points from 24.3 percent in February 2015 to 19.1 percent in February 2016.

Bills Bit

More good news for Orlando villa owners!

But remember the difference between “Price” and “Value”:

“Value” factors-in QUALITY!




With over 20,000 investment homes to choose from, British Homes Group can provide a fully managed leaseback agreement and bonus access to an exclusive rental partnership with Virgin Holidays. The partnership can assist and support investors in finding reliable tenants in order to make the most of the property.

For more information please contact British Homes Group today on +1 407 396 9914 or visit www.britishhomesgroup.com

Orlando Florida, USA

www.BuyToLetHomes.com | www.BritishHomesGroup.com

bhg chamber

Serving UK and International Villa Owners and Property Investors in the Walt Disney Area of Central Florida For Over 30 Years!


Orlando Ranks No. 1 as Holiday Destination

From today’s Orlando Sentinel:

Orlando ranks No. 1 as holiday destination and, as usual, the holiday period is expected to be a busy one for Orlando.

The city was the No. 1 destination for both Christmas and New Year’s travel, according to the Orbitz Holiday Travel Insider Index and Travel Survey, which was released earlier this year.

The online-travel site said Orlando ranked ahead of New York for Christmas travel, with Denver, Los Angeles and Chicago rounding out the top five. For New Year’s, Orlando was followed by New York, Cancun, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

More than 80 percent of holiday season travelers said family was the top reason for holiday trips. And travelers value their voyages: 68 percent of those surveyed said they would reduce the amount they spend on gifts, or not buy gifts at all, to ensure they have money to cover travel costs during the holidays.

A good start to the New Year!


Bill Cowie


Orlando Florida (Kissimmee Office) 407 396 9914

British-American Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board


Request more information on Florida homes or submit a Custom Property Search Request

BHG Logo

2960 Vineland Road | Info@britishhomesgroup.com or (+1) 407 396 9914

Orlando’s Latest Growth Projections

There were a couple of good articles in the Sentinel this week where Orlando and Orange County were mentioned in future growth and recovery projections:

Orlando among nation’s next boom towns

Here’s a bit of bright news for recession-weary Central Florida:

Forbes has ranked Orlando 10th in a list of US cities poised to become America’s next boom towns.

The cities, Forbes says, have struggled through the recession but both are well positioned for strong growth once the economy finds some sustainable mojo.

Of Orlando and Phoenix, Forbes.com writes..

“They still have more jobs now than in 2000. Their demographics remain surprisingly robust. Despite some anti-immigrant agitation by local politicians, immigrants still seem to be flocking to both of these states. Known better as retirement havens, their ranks of children and families have surged over the past decade. Warm weather, pro-business environments and, most critically, a large supply of affordable housing should allow these regions to grow, if not in the overheated fashion of the past, at rates both steadier and more sustainable.”

Orlando was the only Florida city that made the top 10.

Topping the list was Austin, Texas, followed by Raleigh, N.C.

and some new growth rates based on projections from the 2010 census …

Orange County, FL expected to lead Florida growth

Orange county is projected to lead the state in growth over the next 30 years, according to new population estimates. Orange is expected to increase its population by 670,000 by the year 2040, outpacing Miami, Tampa and Palm Beach.

The new projections are the first based on the 2010 census. They show Orange County outpacing Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties, while Osceola County is predicted to add more people than Broward County.

“The expectation is that eventually we will get out of this recession and things will return more to normal,” said Stan Smith, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.

Orange County also will benefit in the future from the continual movement of the state’s population from coastal areas into interior counties, said University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith.

Florida, in recent decades, has begun to mirror California, where the expense of living in Los Angeles and San Francisco spurred growth inland, Snaith said.

“As the cost of living in the coastal areas becomes more expensive, that squeezes population growth toward lower cost-of-living areas,” he said.

Another indication, hopefully, that the recession may be truly over here in the Sunshine State of Florida.

A great time to buy!

Bill Cowie President


Orlando, Florida

Kissimmee Office 407 396 9914
Direct (Mobile) 407 620 7777

British-American Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board

Email Us

BHG Logo

2960 Vineland Road | Info@britishhomesgroup.com or (+1) 407 396 9914

Foreign travelers boost Orlando’s 2008 head count

Despite a year long recession in 2008, more than 48 million people visited Orlando last year to give the area its second-best year on record, according to an official head count released Wednesday.

The visitor total reported by the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau Inc. — 48.9 million — was three-tenths of a percent better than the 2007 head count of 48.7 million and the best year since 2005, when a record 49.3 million visitors came to town.

“We knew the first part of ’08 was sensational for us, and we led the U.S. in a lot of different metrics,” said Gary Sain, president and chief executive of the visitors bureau. “And then, of course, the last six months of the year were very challenging.”

The slight increase last year was due to an 18.9 percent jump in international visitors, who constitute a small but lucrative segment of Orlando’s tourism market. The number of U.S. visitors, who constitute about 93 percent of all travelers to Orlando, actually fell last year by nine-tenths of a percent.

Sain attributed the international growth to more targeted marketing in countries such as Brazil and Canada, as well as the addition of international air service by carriers such as Germany’s Lufthansa, Ireland’s Aer Lingus and Brazil’s TAM.

“We’re just making it easier for people to travel to Orlando,” he said.

The number of domestic leisure travelers last year generally held steady when compared with 2007, but the number of domestic business travelers fell 3.2 percent as the recession prompted corporations to trim their travel budgets. Overnight group meetings fell 7.8 percent compared with a year earlier, the visitors bureau said.

Florida Property Market Update

A Place in the Sun

Richard Way, Editor for the A Place in the Sun magazine asks Lee Weaver of the British Homes Group Florida for an update on the current Florida market.

Has the Florida Market hit rock bottom yet or is there still a fall in prices to come?

According to US industry expert Hank Fishkind the UK’s favourite Florida property market, Orlando, is either at bottom or close to it in terms of pricing. Although the housing slump overall will continue, Fishkind predicted that consumers looking for home prices in Florida (and particularly in Metro Orlando) to fall much more are not likely to be rewarded for their patience. Other industry and economic sector reports bolster his opinion; UCF economist Sean Snaith sees stabilization by mid-year and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) project median price increases by 2009. With unemployment at 3.9%, job growth steady, new movers to the state remaining strong and tens of millions of yearly visitors, Florida has too strong a foundation not to quickly recover from this pricing and inventory adjustment. I think that most people are aware of that and that’s why the world wide interest for Florida property right now.

Will 2008 be the year the market starts to turn around or level out?

Probably "level out". I visualise the letter "u" with a flat bottom and I picture the market just entering the bottom curve of the left line. I think the biggest determining factor of how quickly we move off that bottom line is inventory levels. Some coastal areas may lag behind a bit and maybe the condo-hotel market in general as lenders still seem unsure of the resale market for this property type.

Surely now is a good time for Brits to buy in Florida – with it being a buyer’s market and the Pound being strong against the Dollar? If not now when will be the optimum time for Brits to buy in Florida for investment?

Absolutely right now is a good time. Uniquely so from a British perspective. excess inventory + motivated sellers + strong pound = perfect UK "Buyers Market" Absolute, no reserve auctions like that of Stirling Sotheby’s (the Florida affiliate of Sotheby’s in the UK) will raise awareness of some of the current values to be had in Florida, bring short and mid term investors back and also help reduce inventory levels. The anticipated Bank of England base rate reductions could also have immediate effects on currency exchange rates, weakening some of the buying power of the Pound.

In the wake of the credit crunch, how available is credit for British buyers? Does the market suit cash buyers? What sort of finance is available for buyers?

A number of options are still available for British buyers. The biggest affect is more in the length of time to "process" the applications as lenders require more supporting documentation for their lower "loan to value" products. Stated income products are still available but at higher deposit levels. US Dollar fixed or adjustable products are common but by far the most popular is the multi currency product because of the ability to originate the loan in UK Pounds and the flexibility to switch it to Dollars (or Euros etc.) at a later date. With prices for 4 bedroomed pool homes hovering around £80,000 there’s no doubt cash sales are increasing. You do lose some tax advantages (interest deduction) and potentially increase risk on your primary home in the UK (if equity is released from it for the purchase) if you pay cash though. Short sale (pre foreclosure) and auction buyers normally need to move fairly quickly so most use the cash option for the short term and then refinance with an equity draw down on the US property as soon as things have settled.

What should British buyers be wary of when buying in Florida at the current moment?

One of the biggest things to be wary of would be pre-construction developers asking for high deposits. Florida is a very heavily "consumer protected" State, but when a developer stumbles (for whatever reason) at the pre-construction stage, recovery of invested funds can be very difficult. Check to see if "incentives to buy" are simply built in to the purchase price or are they of true value. If you want to rent out the home by the week, are there any restrictions imposed at the neighborhood or county level? Retain a Realtor that works well with you and one that listens too and understands your property goals. Here in the US one agent can show you any property so you don’t have to start from scratch explaining your needs every time you want to look at a different house. For your mortgages, ask for a ‘Good Faith Estimate’ from your mortgage company and be wary of ones that don’t align with other quotes…the costs probably appear elsewhere. Normal lines of precaution would also apply…how professional are they and what is the extent of their industry knowledge?, how long have they been in business?, are there any negative reports on websites or blogs about the development or company?, who are they associated with? what do their peers say of them? and, of course, what do their existing clients say about them!

US to get new $5 Bill Next Year

In the last few years the US "Greenback" has seen some substantial changes. The notes have been redesigned and -whilst keeping a certain amount of green on the back – now come in a whole host of colours.

However, the $5 and $100 bills have yet to be changed. All this will change when early next year a new $5 bill will be unveiled and the $100 bill is scheduled to be redesigned late 2008.

The new $5 incorporates purple and grey colouring and has new security features. The $100 bill which makes up 70% of the $776 billion of currency in circulation (2/3’s of which is held overseas) is getting an extra effort in the redesign process which will include 650,000 microlenses which give the appearance of the note shimmering in the opposite direction when moved.

All of this may be exciting to notaphilists but it is important for tourists to accustom theirselves with the new note designs. At present the $1 bill will not be changing design as it is not a target for fraudsters – it has had the same design since 1963.

Check out the links below to the new pastel coloured US notes!