This post was submitted by Shaun McLane from Florida based Ekday.com
What have you heard about investing in Florida lately?
If you get your information from the media, chances are you've heard mostly doom and gloom about our cold. Or maybe you heard that the bubble has popped, and investment property prices are plummeting? I'm here to set the record straight. I was born in Florida, have lived here for my entire life, and can't imagine myself living anywhere else.
So how is the market in Florida?
Florida Property Market
To put it simply, it's better than most expected. In 2004, Florida started to see a real estate boom like never before. In the summer of 2005, home and investment property prices had nearly doubled, homebuilders were building inventory as fast as they possibly could, and there was no end in sight. November 1st, 2005 - a switch was flipped, and the madness came to a sudden halt. Everything went silent. Investors were sitting with 3 or 4 properties on their hands, buyers couldn't afford the record high prices, interest rates started creeping up, and everyone that owned a home wanted to sell it to take advantage of the new "value" of their property.
Over a year has passed, and the dust has settled. Prices have leveled out, and buyers' confidence is back up. Here are a few charts to show the recent conditions. These charts reflect data on residential AND investment properties, combined:
This chart shows the number of homes on the market in central Florida. It's very common for this number to increase as we go into the Summer months. I like the inventory numbers high because it signals a strong BUYER'S market. The more homes for sale, the more negotiating power you have.
The interest rates have climbed a bit, but they are still excellent compared to a year ago.
The number of new listings dropped in April. If we see this trend again when the May reports come out, it is a sign that the market is making a switch to more of a seller's market. With the amount of inventory we still have, it will be awhile before a true seller's market returns, but it will return.
The charts above reflect data on residential, and investment properties.
Florida Property Trends
So here's the real deal with investors in Florida. Disney isn't dead. Clermont (west of Disney) has long been the investor's choice for weekly rentals. I'm not at liberty to offer investment advice, but I would not invest in Clermont, Davenport, or anything else in Lake County. Orange County (Orlando) is starting to see the development of weekly rental properties, and with the current market conditions, they are an investor's dream come true. My money is on the new Vista Cay Resort due to its proximity to Disney and the newly renovated Orlando Convention Center.
Florida Gulf Coast Property
Investors are also heading west. The other new hot spots for investing are Clearwater, and Naples Florida. Clearwater is relatively new to investors. It offers the cleanest beaches in Florida, and has been featured on the Travel Channel for its quiant atmosphere and small town appeal.
Naples is seeing tremendous growth from high-end luxury developers, so the cost to invest is higher, but I predict Naples will follow in the footsteps of South Beach Miami, which is now the upper-echelon, and has earned celebrity status for its unique nightlife, and luxurious offerings. Naples offers incredible white-sand beaches, and many of the best golf courses in the state.
To bring this to a close, Florida is still a great place to invest. The question shouldn't be "If" you should invest, but rather, "Where" you should invest.