Florida housing on slow upswing. Bottom already passed one Economist says.

Economist Hank Fishkind calls other economists’ dire warnings and negative news about the housing market overblown, and says that, outside of Miami’s condominium market, the state’s housing markets hit bottom months ago and are now on a slow return to normalcy.

Fishkind, speaking Tuesday on his radio talk show, pointed to recent stories released by respected economists. Last Friday, for example, Bloomberg news published a story with an ominous headline – “Miami condo glut pushes Florida’s economy to brink of recession.” It quoted Moody’s/Economy.com’s Mark Zandi who predicted Miami condo price drops as much as 30 percent and a state recession perhaps by October.

“There is no doubt that the Miami condominium market is severely overbuilt, and that there will be sharp price drops and massive defaults,” says Fishkind. “But, this is no surprise to anyone who has followed this market.” But, he adds, “It is also important to note that Florida’s housing markets, outside of Miami’s condo market, have hit bottom months ago. The closing volume for new and for existing homes has stabilized.”

Fishkind doesn’t predict a huge upswing in closings, but “they are no longer declining. Therefore, we have already seen the worst for this cycle. There is no evidence of sharp price drops anywhere in the state, and there is no reason to expect any such drops outside of Miami condos. Population growth is holding up well as the state continues to attract large volumes of retirees and working families looking for jobs.”

Fishkind says that rising gas prices could impact consumer spending more than expected, but he calls that a nationwide problem, one that “Florida will ride out … better than most other places.”

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