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Florida Real Estate Sales Still Sizzling

The year 2004 remains to sizzle with real estate sales in the sunny state of Florida.  If you were in real estate in Florida in 2004, whether it was home construction, sales, commercial building, or lending, you probably had a very good year.  All this despite the problems that hurricanes caused!  

Figures from November 2004 have showed that Florida's housing market picked up some serious steam in November, shaking off lingering effects from the four hurricanes that pummeled the state over a six-week period in August and September.  November saw a total of 17,116 existing single-family homes sold in the state amounting to a 9-percent increase over last year's sales activity of 15,757 homes, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

The statewide median home sale price rose 22-percent in November to $192,400, up from $157,400 a year ago.  Just five years ago (1999), the statewide median sales price was $103,200, translating to a gain of 86.4-percent over that period!  This serves as evidence of the remarkable appreciation that Florida real estate is experiencing.  Hot spots in Florida include Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, and Tallahassee.   

Many industry analysts are predicting just as much activity for 2005, especially if interest rates don't climb too high.  "The stars have been aligned for the housing market", said David Lereah, the National Realtors Association's chief economist.  Lereah cites low mortgage rates, strong demand and a solid economic recovery as contributing factors of Florida's sizzling real estate sales. 

Many companies had record sales in 2004 despite disruptions from the hurricanes, and will continue into 2005 with a healthy backlog of business.  The only problems that may cause a problem are  the availability of skilled labor and the escalating price of land and materials.  Developers will nevertheless be kept busy over the state with many high-profile projects that is sure to keep Florida a popular real estate option as well as attracting new businesses.  Town centers will be constructed in Orange City and Palm Coasts, as well as massive "Gateway" complexes proposed for Port Orange and Daytona Beach. 

Florida's November real estate sales is even the more remarkable when compared to the rest of the nation.  A Commerce Department report showed sales of new homes plunged by 12-percent in November across the nation from the previous month - the biggest drop since January 1994.  The sharp drop, however, came after a record high pace of sales logged in October.  That pace, economists said, was just too high to be maintained.

Regardless, Florida remains to be the exception for real estate sales in 2005, which is forecasted to cool down as the proverbial 'bubble' is expected to burst  across the nation.