I’m glad to relay the latest figures from the National Association of Realtors which, on Nov. 17th, reported that first time buyers accounted for a record 47 percent share of home sales over the past year, up from 41 percent in 2008. To put this into perspective, that’s a whole 11 percent more than their share of the market in 2006—a cyclical low. Even more encouraging is the fact that existing home sales are up to over 5 million, a 2 percent gain over 2008.

Why is this so significant? According to the NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, the “draw-down of inventory will help home values to turn positive in 2010.” In fact, he predicts that with the tax credit extended to the middle of next year, home prices “should rise” between 3 and 5 percent. He forecasts that sales of homes will rise almost 14 percent in 2010.

Although Florida has been among the states hardest hit by the housing crisis of the past few years, I foresee a faster recovery than most states in the year to come. After all, haven’t I always maintained that sun and sand are always a better bet than cold and gray?

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