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Statistics
 
Property in Florida is ever-popular because so many people want to live somewhere the sun shines all year. This major demand for property comes from 85 % Americans, who either move here or set up their second home. 15 % of buyers come from abroad, the largest share being the British (33 %). People from Western Europe and South America take up similar shares (21 % each). The number of residents in Florida is increasing all the time, with the population here having risen by 600 % since 1950. It is expected that the number of people living in Florida will exceed the number in New York State sometime around 2030. Ten districts in Florida are among the 100 fastest growing districts in the USA, whereas the Florida cities of St. Lucie and Cape Coral were among the 10 fastest growing cities in the USA. The prices in a number of locations in Florida have been rising by an average of 20 % per annum for a number of years now and similar growth is expected to continue. This is possible thanks to the major demand involved and also thanks to the low prices of property here several years ago in comparison to other US states. The average length of time property that is up for sale remains on the market in certain locations (Fort Myers, Clearwater Beach, Ft. Lauderdale) is between 0 and 30 days and in other cities between 10 and 30 days, whilst in Tampa this figure is less than 10 days.
 
It ensues from the national statistics for the third quarter of 2005 that the average price of property in Florida is 248 600 USD, with the highest prices currently in Naples on the west coast (489 200 USD), in West Palm Beach – Boca Raton on the east coast (399 900 USD), and then in the unofficial capital of Florida, Miami, with an average price of 363 300 USD The average price of a house in the USA differs greatly, from 72 800 USD in Danville to 721 900 USD in San Francisco. Among the most expensive property markets in the USA are Anaheim in California, Honolulu, and San Diego, whereas the cheapest include Elmira, N.Y. and Dacatur.
 
Top 10

The 10 locations in the USA with the largest average year-on-year growth in the price of residential property (data for the 1st quarter of 2005 related to the same period in 2004);
Bradenton, Florida 45,6 %
Sarasota, Florida 36,0 %
West Palm Beach/Boca Raton/Delray Beach, Florida 35,9 %
Riverside/San Bernerdino, California 32,6 %
Ft.Lauderdale/Hollywood/Pompano Beach, Florida 31,8 %
Las Vegas, Nevada 29,4 %
Melbourne/Titusville/Palm Bay, Florida 29,3 %
Orlando, Florida 28,7 %
Miami/Hialeah, Florida 28,4 %
Ocala, Florida 27,0 %

Source: CNN Money Edition, 26.5.2005 – author: Les Christie, CNN/Money Editor
 
Hurricanes
 
The inhabitants of Florida accept hurricanes as a part of life. Hurricanes have appeared in Florida on a regular basis from time immemorial with either greater or lesser intensity. The people here are warned of any approaching hurricanes and well informed on how they should act. They have the possibility of timely evacuation either to relatives or to centres set up by the state for this purpose.
 
It is usually elements of nature (full-grown trees and parks) and lower category homes (trailers, mobile homes, and even wooden homes) that bear the brunt of the damage. New buildings, which are built in line with strict standards, are often undamaged, whilst older buildings suffer broken windows if they are not fitted with “anti-hurricane” shutters.
 
If we take a look at the history of the property market in Florida, it is only usually influenced by natural disasters for a short period of time in that a large number of "closings", i.e. sales, during a hurricane are deferred due to the postponement of concluding insurance contracts. Prices have dropped due to hurricanes in years gone by, but certain locations have actually seen development and growth in consequence of new building work. For example, Florida was hit by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, causing the largest insurance damage in the history of the USA (before September 11th). In spite of this fact sales of property rose by 6.7 % from 1991 to 1992 and by 20.6 % the next year. The price of property has risen continually since that time. There was a change of ownership in 7 % more properties in Florida in the 3rd quarter of 2005 in comparison to the same period the year before, with an increase in the average sale price from 189 900 USD (3rd quarter of 2004) to 248 600 USD (3rd quarter of 2005), i.e. a rise in price of 31 %.
 
Changes are also evident in the prices of property insurance, which have risen by around 30 % in recent years due to the damages caused by hurricanes in Florida. Hurricane insurance is compulsory in the case that the buyer takes out a mortgage on the property.
 
The increasing damages caused by hurricanes need not necessarily mean that they are stronger than in the past. The amount of damages is also influenced by the rapid growth in population, with the increasing number of properties associated with this, and with the increase in private property. The state of Florida adopted strict new regulations for the construction of high-rise buildings and homes in light of one of the most destructive hurricanes to hit the region, Hurricane Andrew, which struck Florida in 1992. New condominiums and homes must be able to withstand hurricanes of a force of 146 miles an hour. The State of Florida issued directives for the construction of new houses in the same way as there are regulations for building houses that need to be able to withstand earthquake. These primarily deal with the foundations and anchoring of the structure of the house, the slope of the roof and its attachment, the material used when constructing the walls and any possible reinforcement of the walls. The windows in new condominiums must be able to withstand the pressure of the wind as well as the suction of the wind, something that was neglected in the past. Older windows can be secured with anti-hurricane shutters.
 
If a client buys an older house in Florida, one standard part of the purchase is a comprehensive inspection of the conditions of the house and the elimination of defects before purchase. If the buyer is taking out a mortgage on the house, it is his/her obligation to also take out an insurance policy on the house and against natural disasters.