direction. All the major markets are below 4 percent un- employment,” said Jack Winston, principal with Goodkin Real Estate Consulting based in Miami. “Migration from other parts of the country by both pri- mary residents and active adults (retirees) is still going on. Certain major cities are attempting to get a foothold in other industries to give them some diversification.” Considering the drive for industrial diversification, the continuous flow of population into the state, and its low unemployment rate, Florida has all the essential eco- nomic factors real estate investors look for. ATTOM reported that for 2018, distressed sales ac- counted for only 12.8 percent of all home sales in Florida. Of those sales, 5.3 percent were REO sales, 4.6 percent were short sales and 2.5 percent were third party fore- closure auction sales. Flips accounted for 6.4 percent of all home sales in Florida for 2018, down 9.9 percent from the year before, and down 12 percent from five years ago, but still up 63.5 percent over the last 10 years. The statewide me- dian sales price for 2018 was $218,990, up 8.1 percent from 2017 but down 4 percent from the peak price of $227,500 in 2006. In all, 41.3 percent of all 2018 home sales in Florida were cash sales while sales to institutional investors

accounted for only 2.7 percent. “From an investor’s standpoint, it’s still a good place to invest your money,” Winston said.


In the first quarter of 2012, ATTOM reported that 45.6 percent of all mortgage holders in Florida were serious- ly underwater. By the end of 2013 only 14.8 of Florida homeowners were equity-rich. By contrast ,only 8.4 percent of mortgage holders in the state were seriously underwater for the fourth quarter of 2018 while 25.2 percent of homeowners were equity-rich. “I consider Florida a very safe place,” said author, in- vestor, and hard money lender Bruce Norris, president of The Norris Group based in Riverside, Calif. “If we’re there, we don’t think it’s risky. There’s a lot of things going for it. It’s number one in the country for migration of wealth.” As someone who has coached and mentored investors over many years, and now also serves as a hard money lender in Florida, Norris is seeing a number of investors pull their money out of California through 1031 exchang-

74 | think realty housing news report :: june / july 2019

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