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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Florida will be hot again, but what about its housing market?

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        It is shortly after noon on Sunday, and I am staring at a current-temperature map at weather.com.  Lost in this week’s news reports about the heat wave’s effects on the Midwest and northeastern U.S. is the fact that Florida, the poster child for stifling summer heat, has actually been one

Prices are so reasonable in Florida golf communities that some buyers will not rent out their homes for the 9 or 10 months a year they don't use them.

of the more comfortable climates east of the Rocky Mountains.  Right now, the current temperature in Tampa is 91, in Ft. Lauderdale it’s 90 and in Miami Beach it is just 89.  That is by no means comfortable, but compare those numbers with 92 in Washington, D.C., and expected highs this afternoon of 92 in Chicago, 93 in Newark, NJ, and 96 in Kansas City.  Last week, as thermometers in some Midwest and Northeast cities bumped up against triple digits, Florida was feeling downright balmy.

        If this north/south temperature inversion were to become the standard in summer, the Florida market for vacation and retirement homes could become hot again.  Besides traffic and the ever-present threat of hurricanes, there is much to recommend the Sunshine State to those seriously interested in the golfing lifestyle.  But, alas, Florida will ultimately have to rely on more than idiosyncratic summer weather; the long-range forecast for Boston on August 1 is for sunny skies and a high temperature of 84.  In Orlando, it will be 92 with thunderstorms.

        Summer heat in Florida is not much of a factor for Europeans looking toward the Sunshine State as a winter playground.  Folks in the UK especially love the idea of January golf in 70-degree weather, and the current prices for real estate in Florida make it reasonable to fly there from London, say, for a month or two in winter rather than to southern Spain or some other more-expensive Mediterranean destination.  Some of my customers from England do not plan to rent out their Florida homes for the nine or 10 months they won’t be using them.

        Florida golf clubs with a penchant for creativity in their non-resident golf membership programs would do well to carve out a bit of their marketing budgets to advertise on the Continent.  Warning cries that “The British are Coming!” should be music to the ears of Florida real estate agencies and golf communities that have been waiting on a rebound for more than five long years.

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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.


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