So much about the allure of The Villages active adult lifestyle boils down to economic stability that makes it possible.

Homeowners learned last week from a Daily Sun analysis, for instance, just how well home values fared in The Villages metropolitan statistical area in the wake of the Great Recession a decade ago. Home values in The Villages increased by 6.1 percent from the peak before the housing crash through July of this year.

The community’s strong economic good news has flowed in over the last 10 years, including Friday, when the state announced the MSA’s unemployment rate in September dropped by 1.2 percent to 4.3 percent — the lowest rate since the recession began.

Corresponding job growth contributed to the decline in the jobless rate, with the MSA’s employment increasing in September by 2.1 percent to a record 29,528 workers — mostly because of the construction activity in and around the Southern Oaks region.

Each of these economic indicators help make the lifestyle possible. The strong job numbers represent workers able to fulfill Villagers needs, wants and desires for quality dining, retail outlets and the range of service providers from health care providers, to financial services firms and others.

The MSA’s role in the state’s recovery from the national economic downtown in the third quarter 2008 was not lost on Gov. Rick Scott, who talked about the turnaround in an interview prior to Hurricane Michael.

“We’re seeing unbelievable growth now, and The Villages is the best example of it,” he told the Daily Sun in an exclusive interview.

Also: With the help of CoreLogic data, the Daily Sun analysis found that home values in The Villages MSA retained much more value than the state or nation through the recession. Florida home values, for instance, fell by about 89 percent — U.S. homes values by 31 percent — from the pre-recession peak in December 2006 to the trough in November 2011, according to the Irvine, California-based real estate data and analytics firm. In comparison, home values fell by only 23 percent during the same time period in The Villages MSA. Since then, home values in The Villages regained 31 percent of the value from the trough through July 2018. 

Also: At the heart of this growth is the 34 percent increase in population to 125,165 from 2010 to 2017 in The Villages MSA, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That demographic of mostly retired persons in The Villages contributed heavily to a rapid rise in income within the MSA, too. Household income increased by about 34 percent to $68,865 from 2006 to 2016, with the corresponding median income increasing by about 26 percent to $54,057, Census data showed. Aggregate personal income increased by 123 percent from 2007 to 2016, while per capita income grew by about 48 percent, according to the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Also: One other indicator, the MSA’s gross domestic product, proves The Villages experienced healthy growth throughout the recession. GDP in the MSA, a measure of goods and services produced in the market, not only grew by 52 percent from 2007 through 2017, but also increased incrementally each year, BEA data showed.

Also: Notwithstanding the quality of homes built in The Villages, the opportunity for a quality recreation remains one of the biggest lifestyle allures for new homeowners. And the proliferation of new recreational amenities coming on line in the Southern Oaks region only underscores the continuing demand for the lifestyle. At 10 a.m. Friday, for instance, the District Recreation & Parks Department will celebrate the grand opening of Willow Tree Recreation Area in the Village of McClure, a developing community just east of the villages of Fenney and DeSoto. Then at 10 a.m. Saturday, the District Recreation will celebrate the grand opening of the Loblolly executive course at McClure.

Also: Several other recreation amenities now are under construction. They include the Cattail Recreational Area and the Marsh View Pitch & Putt golf course, both on Marsh Bend Trail in the Village of Marsh Bend, a community under development north of Warm Springs Avenue and the villages of Fenney, DeSoto and McClure. Construction also started recently on the Swallowtail Recreation Area in the Village of Monarch Grove, a developing community about a mile south of Warm Springs and east of County Road 501.

David R. Corder is a senior writer with The Villages Daily Sun. He can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5241, or