Property in Florida
Reports of the death of Florida as holiday-home heaven are much exaggerated. As fashions in overseas property change, so the Caribbean is coming to be seen as top long-haul choice for Brits. Florida property is overpriced, they say, the bubble must burst, the over-supply of “cookie-cutter” (i.e. all the same) villas and tacky condos has ruined the market – and the landscape.
There might be credence for all this were it not for the glorious advantages Florida still has over the Caribbean. For a start, there’s Disney, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and all the other theme parks based in Orlando, that keep families coming back time and time and time again. Fifty million tourists come to Orlando each year so buy-to-lets are always popular.
Add to that the snow-white sands of the Gulf coast and Panhandle, the shuttle launches of the upper east coast, the rolling horse and cattle country of the interior and the excitement of Miami, all with year-round sunshine, hurricane-proof buildings, budget flights from every corner of the UK and a beautiful exchange rate, and it soon becomes obvious that Florida isn’t going out of fashion any time soon.
But property prices rose in 2005 by 27 per cent, so could a crash be coming? No, say government experts, due to the demographics of America. While the population of most countries is going down, America’s is expected to increase by more than 30 per cent over the next generation. With some 1,100 people moving to Florida every day, prices must go up, though not necessarily at the same overheated rate. And if tourists start to ebb away, the Americans will surely do everything in their razor-sharp business brains to bring them back; in May they sank an old aircraft carrier off Pensacola, just to encourage the local scuba business.
In 2005 the move was all to the west coast, to pretty towns like Fort Myers and Naples. But these prices have become overheated so smart buyers are looking to the central towns like Ocala or north-eastern coast around St Augustine.
Airports: Fort Lauderdale/Jacksonville/Miami/Orlando