Floridas Real Estate Woes Create a Rental Buyers Market

By: Kirby Collins

Home prices are continuing to decline throughout Florida and if you're thinking buying a home, you may want to consider whether renting or buying is best for you.

There are real signs of a rental buyers market appearing throughout Florida with some apartment occupancy rates hovering around 60-70%. This is apparently being caused by an unsold inventory of homes that are now available for rental. Therefore renting is extremely affordable right now when you consider the monthly cost and compare it to paying a mortgage, taxes and insurance. In Cocoa Beach Florida, a beachside rental of a home can typically cost around $1500 per month. That same home may also be for sale and with a mortgage, taxes and insurance could cost you over $3000 per month, and that's after a down payment. Throw in maintenance and you can see how renting can be a bargain.

Florida is also in the midst of an insurance crisis with high insurance rates from hurricanes that battered real property in recent years. The largest insurer in the state is Citizens, which is underwritten by the State of Florida as many insurers have cut back on exposure or even pulled out completely. Property taxes have also risen sharply in recent years as home prices hit unrealistic highs, Governor Christ and the Legislature have offered a plan but not many people think it will help.

So if you really want to paint the walls with non-earth tones colors and you're looking to remain in one place for a long time, maybe buying is right for you. But if you're looking for an investment, buying a home in Florida may not be a good investment in the near future. Until the monthly cost of owning a Florida home is reasonable to where the average wage earner can afford to pay the high mortgage, taxes and insurance, renting will remain the bargain for many Florida residents.

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