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Robert Trigaux

Slowing retiree flow to Florida stalling prospects for condo market rebound



Wake up and good morning. Is Florida's appeal as a retirement mecca starting to dim? We already know about University of Florida researchers who reported this year that the state's population had shrunk by 58,000 in the 12 months ended in June. We know it was the first annual slide in 63 years. We hear some state politicians and economists doubt those numbers while others say they understate the problem.


Enter a recent study by William Haas ( in photo, courtesy of UNC), a University of North Carolina/Asheville professorAccording to a new article in Barron's, Haas says that in 1980, 26.3 percent of all U.S. citizens 60 and older who moved across state lines ended up in Florida. Then something started to happen.

* By 2000, the figure had dropped to 19.1 percent.

* By 2007, it was 12.5 percent.

Based on Haas' study, 79,620 people moved to Florida in 2007, but more than 70,000 left, for a net gain of just 1.13 percent, Barron's says. Some say it's largely the fault of  high property taxes and insurance rates. Florida's also became less hospitable to some outsiders because its property-tax structure favors permanent residents, not investors or second-home buyers.


Adds Orlando-based economist Henry Fishkind (in photo): "Maybe it will drop to 8 percent in the next decade," he tells Barron's. Even so, says Fishkind, because of the baby boomer expansion of the 60-plus population, the total of newcomers could remain the same.

All this is to reinforce the point of the Barron's article, headline Florida Condos: No Bottom In Sight - that Florida's condo market will not rebound soon. In Florida’s year-to-year comparison for condos, 5,035 units sold statewide compared to 3,396 units in July 2008 for a 48 percent increase. But the statewide existing condo median sales price last month was $108,300; in July 2008 it was $168,700 for a 36 percent decrease. The national median existing condo price was $183,300 in June 2009, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In Tampa Bay, the media sales prices of condos in July '09 fell under $100,000 for the first time in years, dropping 33 percent from the $147,000 media prices of July '08. Sober up. Here's a metro-by-metro look at Florida condo prices for the past year.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist


[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:26am]


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