Housing

Florida Consumer Sentiment rises to highest level in more than two years

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s Consumer Sentiment unexpectedly rose in January by five points to 74, possibly a sign of post-holiday relief, according to a new University of Florida survey.

“The sharp rise was somewhat of a surprise,” said Chris McCarty, survey director of UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “In the past we have seen similar jumps in the January index, perhaps in response to the financial stress associated with the holidays and the economic turbulence of the past year.”

Job growth erodes as housing bust pushes mobility to record low

Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Raul Lopez, laid off from three construction jobs since October 2007, is focusing his search for work near Antioch, California, because his $392,000 mortgage is almost triple the price his home there would sell for today.

“If it wasn’t for the house, I’d probably move closer to Oakland, Hayward, San Leandro, places where there are jobs,” said Lopez, 36, who is married with four daughters.

Recession over, but not to some Florida lawmakers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Three renowned economists agree Florida's boom days are over and that the state's recovery from the recession is likely to take awhile.

Economist Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute said Thursday that Florida is one of the states facing difficulty going forward following a 20-month national recession that wreaked "an astonishing period of economic misery."

Hassett told lawmakers that even if the recession was declared over in August, the risk of calamity remains.

"Gloomy," state Sen. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, said afterward. "What to do?"

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.

Five signs that will signal Florida's recession is ending

Congratulations. The recession is over.

Uncle Sam (a.k.a. the Department of Commerce) reported Thursday that the economy grew at a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter, the first positive upswing in 15 months.

But few are buying the argument that our economic winter has ended, particularly in Florida. Not with rising, double-digit unemployment and surging credit card defaults.

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.

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