Real estate

Highest jobless rate in three decades causes drop in Consumer Sentiment

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s Consumer Sentiment fell three points to 69 in November amid continued concerns over the state’s high unemployment rate, according to a new University of Florida survey.

“We had expected Consumer Sentiment to fluctuate in the upper 60s to low 70s for the next several months, so a decline was not a surprise,” said Chris McCarty, survey director of UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “There are reasons for growing pessimism, particularly lingering employment issues that are expected to get worse over the next several months.”

Growth rush of 2009

To develop his clients' vast land holdings, attorney Glenn Storch met with Volusia and Brevard county officials, bordering property owners and conservation groups.

They talked about roads. They talked about water. They discussed residential densities and jobs creation, debated how much land should be preserved, explored the impact on school construction planning. The company pulled together a panel discussion of national experts to critique their plans in public.

"We have spent four years thinking about how to do the right thing, and we're only halfway there," Storch said recently.

Snowbirds swoop in on home deals

DUNEDIN - You can add real estate offices after restaurants, golf courses, condos and RV parks on the list of where you will find snowbirds, the perennial winter visitors from Michigan, Ontario and other parts north who began arriving in early November.

Despite the poor economy, and stronger efforts by Western states to recruit seasonal visitors affluent enough to afford two residences, more snowbirds are expected to gather in Florida this year than last, partly because of housing prices here.

Villages’ population growth bucks trend

THE VILLAGES — While at their neighborhood recreation center, Village of Duval residents Paul and Dawne Lampson gazed across the street last week and expressed an amazement shared by neighbors Jerry and Sue Wilson and Jim and Gayle Opatrny.

Just a year or so ago, an expanse of undeveloped land existed across the street from the Odell Circle pool, bocce court and postal station.

Texas, the new Florida, lures seniors with sun, low cost living

After trying out Atlanta, Miami and Pasadena, Calif., Lilian Junco decided this was the place to retire. Being near her son was the first attraction, but soon she was drawn in by the same combination of features that has lured tens of thousands of others from out of state -- Gulf Coast living, plus super-low costs.

With some of the country's cheapest prices for housing, gas and food, no state income tax and one of the most resilient economies in the nation, Galveston and other parts of the Lone Star state are emerging as the new Florida.

Indexes give mixed signals

Home prices in South Florida continued to eke out modest gains even as confidence in the economy stalled, according to two widely-watched reports released Tuesday, sending mixed messages to a jittery market during the run-up to the critical holiday-shopping season.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index for Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties climbed 1.1 percent from July to August -- its fourth consecutive gain. Nationally, the index was up 1.2 percent.

Signs point to recession's easing in Florida

Two key economic markers in Florida -- Consumer Sentiment and a much-watched home price index -- showed a second consecutive month of improvement, offering further evidence the recession is easing, though a long recovery likely awaits.

The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index showed South Florida home prices posted their second, though modest, monthly gain of 1.3 percent in July, as strong sales and shrinking inventory helped to firm up prices. The index, however, was still down from a year ago, by 21 percent.

Household incomes fell in five U.S. states in 2008, Census says

Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Five U.S. states that were among the hardest hit by job losses and the construction slump also had declines in household incomes during the first year of the recession, according to a government report.

Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana and Michigan all saw median household incomes drop in 2008, the Census Bureau said yesterday in an annual report. Only one state had a decline the previous year.

Tallahassee area the exception in state's population decline

The most vivid sign of Florida's fight against recession came in August with the news that the state's ever-rising population declined in the 12 months ending April 1. Preliminary estimates show a drop of 58,000 in a state where growth has fueled the economic engine for more than 60 years.

The Tallahassee metropolitan statistical area, however, gained population during the same period. Wakulla County's increase of 3.5 percent to 31,791 was the most dramatic.

For Florida, 'end of an era' of population growth

FORT LAUDERDALE — Cruise up coastal highway A1A. Take in the sea breeze, the sand and surf shimmering in the sun, the palm trees swaying beside luxury high-rise hotels, shops and cafes. The idyllic image helps explain why millions have come to Florida to play, and millions have come back to stay.

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