MIAMI – April 18, 2018 – As the recession ended, almost all Florida cities were an investment opportunity. But now a handful of smaller cities see the most dramatic home price increases.

In South Florida, home prices have surged and are now the state's highest. Based on the local "income price," these markets are already over-priced and are expected to keep rising a few more years. This means that the risk for investors is already above-average and will increase.

The high home prices in South Florida have been a boost for Florida's other large concentrations of retirees – in the Tampa area and on south along the Gulf coast, where prices are still lower, though they've also been surging.

According to Local Market Monitor, the top spots for investment are the Lakeland, Cape Coral, and Punta Gorda areas, though job growth is poor in Cape Coral.

The east coast between Daytona Beach and Port St. Lucie relies more on vacationers than retirees, and home prices are low while economic growth has been modest. Home prices have been higher, though they're not yet in the over-priced range; and while the area's rapid rise in prices increases the risk of investment, it may reflect a true increase in demand for second homes/retirement property now that markets farther south are a lot more expensive.

For the fullest range of investment options, Local Market Monitor suggests Orlando and Jacksonville. Home prices are rising but not too quickly, and they aren't yet in the over-priced range. Prices are moderate and the price/rent ratio is favorable for rental properties.

For a breakdown of Florida investment areas by population and job growth, home prices changes, average home prices vs. income, and price/rent ratio, visit

Source: Forbes (03/13/18) Inzer, Wingo, president of Local Market Monitor Inc.

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