You might wonder why a Realtor in Tallahassee is welcoming Dr. Elmira Mangum (FAMU's 11th President) to town, when I normally focus on topics relating to the housing market.
But long-time readers might remember that higher education in Florida is a favorite "off topic" subject of mine, as I have always felt it could be a great driver of Florida's economic recovery.
FAMU plays its own special role in the health and vitality of the Tallahassee housing market, and that is why the leadership of the school is very important to the entire Tallahassee community.
Dr. Elmira Mangum - President Of FAMU
I can only imagine how difficult the selection process was for the search committee and the Trustees of FAMU, hoping to avoid the mistakes of the past that have caused so many problems for the school.
And the school has been having significant problems for many years, and what most people in Tallahassee might not understand is that the problems at FAMU equates to problems for Tallahassee.
FAMU is a major employer and consumer in Tallahassee, and the impact it has on Tallahassee reaches far beyond the classroom.
All Real Estate Is Related
FAMU's students rent housing from investors in Tallahassee. If the student body grows, more homes and apartments are filled, and investors have positive cash flows. This money is taxed and spent in our local economy. If FAMU is able to grow even larger than it has been in the past, then new student housing will be needed, and our local economy will be able to grow to provide this housing.
Unfortunately, the contrary is true when the school declines in enrollment. When students go away, rents go away, properties become abandoned, and money is lost. As vacancies mount, rents decline, and tenants in close proximity are awarded with cheaper opportunities.
While I am sure declining rents might sound good to students, but when the market rents do not cover market costs, it means decline and decay, which is good for nobody. Vacancies become glut, and glut creates imbalance.
A glut in student housing impacts the "for sale" market as well, as declining prices for investment properties creates opportunities for owner-occupied properties at the lower price points. Ultimately, if one part of the housing market is hurting, the impact truly ripples throughout the entire market.
So I am hoping that Dr. Mangum can take the positive momentum created by interim President Larry Robinson (thank you sir for the work that you have done for FAMU and Tallahassee) and help grow enrollment at the school. The demand for higher education in Florida is still very high, and I think FAMU has a lot of potential for filling a part of that demand.
So welcome to Tallahassee Dr. Elmira Mangum, we're ready to put you to work!