Crist to Realtors: Florida economy is improving behind housing market
By JEFF OSTROWSKI
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 21, 2009
ORLANDO — The Florida economy has begun to improve, Gov. Charlie Crist said this morning in a speech to the Florida Association of Realtors.
The stock market and housing market seemed on the verge of collapse earlier this year but now have strengthened, Crist said.
"You can feel it getting better," he said. "We were afraid the economy was going to fall off a cliff. It doesn’t feel like that any more."
He pointed to falling property tax bills and rising numbers of home sales. Statewide, sales of existing homes were up 23 percent from the second quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of 2009, while condo sales spiked 29 percent.
"That’s a far sight better than this time last year," Crist said.
Crist also noted that homeowners insurance rates have fallen by 17 percent since he signed an insurance reform package in 2007.
Since then, 47 new carriers have entered the state, Crist said, although he didn’t mention that Florida’s largest private insurer, State Farm, plans to leave the property market over the next two years.