Will Real Estate Hold Up? Take a Look at Florida
Is it interesting how a huge financial bubble can be created? Is it something that just happens? Are there dark forces behind it? Who could have known? The basic facts are that a huge amount of credit was pumped through the Federal Reserve and re-circulated by agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This has been going on since 1992 really, but it went into super acceleration by 2001. This money then was directed to certain locations that were considered highly desirable. These locations included much of Florida, California around Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the Virginia and Maryland suburbs of Washington DC.
In Florida, markets that had the biggest increase in values in this period include Panama City, the Gulf Coast around Cape Coral, and Sarasota. Now these areas are getting the biggest drops in value, of from 10 to 20 percent. Certain condominiums in St. Petersburg were never built, despite deposits being made already. Construction jobs in neighboring Tampa are down by several thousands.
The good news is that the message has gotten to Fed Chairman Ben Bernacke that if you want a soft landing to the bubble, you have to keep interest down. There may be some side effects to that, like a collapsing dollar if interest rates go too low. This is why the ideas of the Franklin Roosevelt era of directing credit to needed areas at low percentages, and otherwise letting interest rates go as high as they want, make sense. Otherwise, even better areas like Miami-Dade County could start to go down in value. If youíre looking for a home thatís a good thing, but there are also other expenses being added to the equation. Hurricane insurance costs are up all over Florida after severe hurricanes over the last few years. The Gulf Coast could rapidly become a disaster area for investors. Some blogs say that the situation is not so bad. With so many real estate brokers giving mortgages to people who canít afford them, something was bound to happen. The problem is not that the houses built or condos constructed are bad, though some are poorly done, but that the mortgage market was out of control. In the United States in general, we may soon get to the point that general government aid to homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages out of control, may be necessary. Till then, hold on to your hats, it could be a wild ride down.
About the Author: Adam Heist is writer for the loans website, a new
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