Florida is ground zero for the building industry's collapse.
The downturn there has been sharper than elsewhere in the
nation. But even within Florida, local markets vary. According
to a report in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the state's Gulf
Coast is faring worse than its Atlantic side - considerably
Sarasota region hit harder in building slump
," by Doug
Sword). According to the paper, Southwest Florida has suffered
two or three times steeper a decline than other parts of the
state. "On the east coast, counties are reporting 30 percent
declines from the boom, while every county between Manatee and
Lee has recorded at least a 74 percent drop in the value of new
construction," the paper reports. "In Sarasota and Lee
counties, the decline has been more than 90 percent."
A few counties - notably Broward County, on the eastern side
of the state - have actually seen an increase in construction
volume. But that uptick is entirely due to a few large
commercial and industrial projects, the paper reports. In the
residential sector, the market is still struggling. As 2010
draws to a close, Florida home values continue to plunge, and
the proportion of homeowners who are selling at a loss, or who
owe more than their house is worth, continues to rise. The Palm
Beach Post has this report
South Florida's economic albatross: Home values and losses not
getting any better
," by Kimberley Miller).
But even in local markets in South Florida, the impact of
the slump was felt differently from one neighborhood to the
next. A graphic in the Palm Beach Post article shows 20% of
houses in Palm Beach selling at a loss. A few miles away, in
Lake Worth, the proportion was 65%.