A front-page article in the 3/8/08 Charlotte (County, FL) Sun entitled "Not Affordable Enough" speaks to some interesting and important issues regarding Florida's housing. A few excerpts:
The current downturn in residential real estate sales has created the closest thing to a buyer's market Florida has seen since the 1990s.
While that might be great news for a Northern couple looking to retire in Punta Gorda or Port Charlotte with their life savings, Charlotte County's median home price -- about $175,000 according to recent Florida Association of Realtors figures -- is still a barrier for many local wage earners ...
Despite North Port's reputation as a haven for working families, the median sale price in the Sarasota-Bradenton market remains about $260,000
Referring to recent problems in the housing market,
"It's a blip on the screen really, and in a year, we're going to be thankful that we did some investing in affordable housing," said Ron Thomas, executive director of Enterprise Punta Gorda, the city's economic development bureau. "When everybody says that there's plenty of affordable housing, we have to qualify that by saying that there is plenty of affordable housing for people who are in the 80 percent or above the median income. This doesn't have any positive effect for anybody in the 30 to 80 percent median income bracket."
"Even as low as (housing) has come down, it still might not suit firefighters, police, and school teachers. They're still struggling," said Bill Albers, Punta Gorda city councilman. Albers is the council's liaison to the Punta Gorda Housing Authority.