Florida real estate still good market

The property market in Florida is stable despite the real estate slump elsewhere in the US.

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Sarasota is still a popular place to buy. Photo: AP

Florida was one of the first to be hit by America’s current economic issues.

As one of the most popular yet over-developed markets where there’s a high percentage of second homes and buy-to-let investment properties, the Floridian market was hit hard by falling real estate prices, lack of mortgage product and decreasing affordability.

Inevitably these issues resulted in high numbers of estate agents and developers going out of business, builders ceasing construction, and a lack of people looking to buy.

However ,the Sunshine’s State’s tourism market has supported the intrinsic value of property in Florida and despite America’s economic woes and the knock-on effect these have had in the UK and Europe, there was no decline in terms of international demand for holidays in Florida in 2007.

There was a healthy two per cent increase in the numbers of visitors arriving last year, and the 48.7 million people who did visit increased spending by 4.7 per cent, adding $31.1bn to Florida’s coffers.

Home to three of the top 10 beaches in America, Walt Disney World, Kennedy Space Centre, Universal Studios and an exceptionally temperate climate almost all year round, Florida is one of the leading tourism destinations in the world, and it’s this fact that underpins the viability of the state’s real estate market.

John Mike, NAR President’s Liaison to the UK, said: ‘The real estate market throughout Florida declined dramatically from mid 2005 to Spring 2008, with positive signs of stabilisation occurring in recent months.’

British buyers have certainly been taking advantage of softening prices, a strong pound, vendors’ willingness to exit the market and the simplicity and security of the buying process in Florida, and they’ve been making excellent headway.

Prices for three-bed houses in some places start at around $300,000.

James Wyatt, managing director of estate agent Barton Wyatt International, said: ‘There is such a wealth of affordable and seriously attractive real estate on the market in Florida at the moment that investors and buyers really are in the driving seat and can push for very attractive terms and conditions at the point of sale.’

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