When Florida Gov. Rick Scott showed up in Tampa last week for the groundbreaking at NewSouth Window Solutions’ new manufacturing facility, it was more than a ceremony celebrating a big expansion. It was also an indicator that the state’s housing market, which was one of the major casualties of the Great Recession, has made a strong recovery in recent years.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (center, not wearing hardhat) breaks ground at NewSouth’s new facility in Tampa.

As the housing bubble expanded earlier in this century, median home prices in Florida doubled from July 2001 to July 2006 – and then fell 40 percent after the recession kicked in, according to Robert Trigaux of the Tampa Bay Times.

Since that time,  the national housing rebound has been uneven, but Florida has been one of the bright spots on the map. TenX, a real estate auction and analytics company, recently rated Tampa as the nation’s healthiest housing market. Another Florida city, Jacksonville, ranked No. 5. In March, Florida Realtors reported that 25,921 homes were sold in in the state, an increase of nearly ten percent from the previous year. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in March was $231,900, up 10.4 percent from 2016.

With that increasing demand for homes comes growing demand for windows – and the workers to manufacture them. In his address last week at the groundbreaking, Scott praised NewSouth for its expansion, which will add 50 new jobs.

“I’m proud to join NewSouth Window Solutions for this exciting groundbreaking today,” Scott said. “It’s great to see that our commitment to economic development, cutting taxes and reducing burdensome regulations are helping small businesses create job opportunities for families.”

Tampa’s job market is one of the strongest in Florida. In March, the area added nearly 42,000 jobs and its unemployment rate was 4.1 percent. By comparison, the unemployment rate for the state is 4.8 percent, and it’s 4.5 percent for the U.S. as a whole.

“NewSouth Window is proud to call Florida home,” said company CEO Dan Ochstein. “I’d like to thank Governor Scott for his work to help businesses like mine grow and succeed in the state. In just six years, we’ve gone from zero to $40 million, and we look forward to expanding and creating even more job opportunities for Floridians.”

NewSouth is ranked No. 26 on DWM‘s latest list of the top door and window dealers in the country, which appeared in the February 2017 issue of the magazine.

As Scott looked over the 13-acre portion of the 73-acre development, he commented on the scale of the concrete building footprint.

“There’s not many places this big,” he said. “This is outstanding. You better sell a lot of windows!”

Ochstein and Earl Rahn, NewSouth’s president, also received the Governor’s Business Ambassador’s Award during the ceremony in recognition of the jobs they created for Florida.

NewSouth’s new 234,500-square-foot plant will unify all three of the company’s current manufacturing facilities, the corporate offices for NewSouth Window and sister company Doers Window Manufacturing. It will include a retail showroom for Florida homeowners to come sample products and watch as doors and windows are manufactured.

NewSouth plans to move into the new facility in January 2018.

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