Is Florida housing a bubble? One economist says no...

Dean Foust

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...

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