South Florida Projected To Be Part Of Top Housing Market In 2012

The nation’s home prices should continue to stabilize in 2012, according to a California-based real estate research company that’s bullish on Florida in particular.

Clear Capital projects Miami-Dade and Broward counties, counted as one metro area, to be among the nation’s five highest-performing major metros with price growth of 8.8 percent this year.

Orlando is expected to lead the nation with price increases of 11.7 percent, while Tampa also is forecast to rank among the national leaders. Clear Capital analyzed the county’s 50 largest metro areas by population, so Palm Beach County was not part of the study.

Other forecasts for home prices in 2012 aren’t as optimistic. Some analysts say prices will continue falling in South Florida well into the year and may not hit bottom in some areas until 2013.

Clear Capital says Florida markets are improving, partly because of big increases in the values of lower-priced homes and a high percentage of all-cash transactions (52 percent).  Investor activity remains strong in the Sunshine State, helping to boost demand.

Despite the improvement, Florida markets remain far off their price peaks from 2006.

“Overall, 2011 was a relatively quiet year for U.S. home prices compared to the last five years,” Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital, said in a statement. “With national prices down a little more than two percent for the year and sitting at their lowest point since 2001, our projections show that the current balance the market has found will continue through 2012.”