High-End Homes Selling Again in Florida

April 11, 2011

Dan Levy of, Bloomberg News, reports that, “Florida’s high-end homes are selling again”. A large portion of Florida’s real estate market is still depressed by declining home prices and growing number of foreclosures, however a brighter faith has begun to shine on some of Florida’s resort towns. Karen Van Arsdale, an agent at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty in Naples said in a phone interview that buyers who are seeking a second home in the state’s prosperous vacations communities are “finally getting off the fence.” Data which was compiled by the Naples Area Board of Realtors indicated that sales in the Naples area last year rose 10 percent. This is the first annual increase in at least five years. In addition this data revealed that the median price for homes listed at $300,000 or more gained 4 percent. “Wealth determines housing and the good places pick up first,” said Karl Case, 64, a professor emeritus in economics at Wellesley Collage in Massachusetts.

Patricia Fitzgerald, president of the Florida Realtors, said that resort towns on Florida’s Atlantic coast are now beginning to follow the lead of Naples. According to the group, sales in Boca Raton, Jupiter and West Palm Beach rose 32 percent for existing homes and 40 percent for condos. Van Arsdale ads to this by stating that rising stock prices and Decision by the president and Congress not to increase tax rates in 2011 contributed to the surge in deals. She also believes that record low temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast this winter “nudged people” to make the real estate transactions they have been putting off.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist in Washington for the National Association of Realtors, predicts that while no change will be observed nationwide, home values in South Florida could show a “surprise upward” trend due to their historical role as vacation destination for the wealthy. Another reason to be optimistic about the South Florida real estate market is provided by a report released by the Chicago-based Realtors associations, which indicated that 22 percent of all properties purchased by international buyers, seeking to protect their wealth with U.S hard assets, in the 12 months ended in April 2010, were Florida properties. This was the most of any state. So with home prices at a significant discount from their peak 2006 prices, sign of returning confidence based on the stock market, and the ever appealing vacation style of South Florida’s world renown communities, it is possible to be optimistic and expect for an upward trend in high-end home values to surface sooner rather than later.

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