I used to go to visit family in Miami in the 1990s and early 2000s. Every time I was amazed to see another bunch of Nice big houses being built. I kept thinking, where are they going to find the people to fill all these houses. Sadly that was a good question. Farmland is good, and we can export food and lower our balance of payments.
The Missus and I just bought a house after leasing for 3 years in south Florida. We moved to Florida from Georgia in the aftermath of the bubble collapsing and we could see that, when we arrived, prices were in free-fall and it wouldn’t make sense to buy at that point. Over the three years we probably paid $90,000 in rent, but the price of the house we purchased last month fell from ~ $550K to $300K during that 3 year period. And interest rates moved to the 4.0% vicinity. The original owner, who sold it to us in a short sale, paid essentially $700K for it in April 2006.
If you can qualify for a mortgage - it is an unbelievable time to buy down here. Lots of really beat homes where owners heading into foreclosure vindictively destroyed their properties as they left. But for every 20-25 houses like that, you could find a clean one with few encumbrances and a bank willing to do a short sale.