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Florida Bright Spot

The top 10 places in the nation to invest in real estate in the next 12 months, according to the magazine Business 2.0, include Panama City with an economy waiting to break out, Vero Beach as an affordable coastal alternative and Lakeland, which screams out “buy now!”

Metrostudy’s Anthony Crocco tells the Orlando Business Journal that Central Florida remains strong. Closings declined in the fall but are still the third-highest on record and housing starts trail move-ins during the same period by 1000 houses.

In a University of Florida survey of emerging markets conditions, most real estate experts are optimistic about the property investment outlook for Miami-Dade County, the Southwest Coast and in the Lakeland-Winter Haven area.

Job Growth
Growing at a pace nearly 10 times the national rate, Cape Coral’s three-year job growth rate of 21.6% combines with a local unemployment rate of 2.9% (first quarter 2006) to give the area’s housing market strength, according to NAR’s Home Price Analysis, July 2006.

Price Momentum
Helped by strong job growth, some top price gainers slipped downward but not far, according to NAR’s Home Price Analysis, July 2006.

First quarter 2006 prices in Ocala rose a whopping 31% from a year ago and enjoyed a three-year job growth of 16.8%. Orlando prices rose 34% in the same quarter and enjoyed job growth of 14.4%, about six times as fast as the national pace.

Global Strength
One out of three foreign buyers come from the United Kingdom and half of them purchased properties in Orlando and vicinity, according to the 2005 NAR Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale tends to be the destination of choice for most Latin Americans, one third of the international buyers, according to the 2005 NAR Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida. For example, 68 percent of buyers from Venezuela, the largest source of Latin American buyers, purchased property there.

A study of the nation’s 379 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) shows Tallahassee holds the line on affordability better than other MSA in Florida. Home purchasing power for Tallahassee residential real estate dropped a little less than 7 percent since 1995, according to the PMI Mortgage Insurance Company’s 2006 analysis.