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Few markets have boomed like Florida. Prices there are up 33% in the past year, up 105% over the past five years, and have risen a honking 180.7% over the past decade. Amid all the concerns that Florida is a bubble just waiting to be pricked, one economist, Mark Vitner of Wachovia Corp. (who in a previous like was an economist for a Florida bank) has come out with a new report arguing that Florida isn’t really a bubble. While Vitner currently works out of Charlotte, N.C., he knows a little about the Sunshine State: Prior to joining Wachovia, he was an economist for Barnett Banks in Jacksonville, Fla., for about nine years. His arguments: The robust growth in Florida’s population, coupled with the inability of Florida builders to get houses up fast enough, has created a case where demand for single-family homes is vastly outstripping supply. Florida homeowners will be heartened by Vitner’s analysis. Read on…
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.