Dear Candy,

I’m an Australian looking to buy an investment property in the States while our dollar is relatively strong and your market is low.   Are there any US web sites or companies that you would recommend that research and recommend properties for buyers?

2nd question – The demographics look good for Florida over the next 10-20 years.  Do you have any specific areas in Florida that you would recommend?



Dear Garth: We’ll ask the Candy Community for help with both questions, and I will email you my personal recommendations. I am very bullish on Florida, particularly the “designer” Gulf coast. Panama City Beach has a new international airport, stay tuned for a SecondShelters report in April. Also check out Amelia Island and surrounding areas on the east coast. I don’t know if you are thinking a home or condo, but Miami has plenty of those. The St. Petersburg/Tampa area is also beautiful and a bargain-hunters paradise. Unemployment rate a little high for my tastes.

Floridian traps: the high senior population could get costly as the Feds cut back on funding, and any coastal area runs the risk of disaster weather — be sure to check insurance rates carefully. Plus: Florida has no state income taxes, and property taxes are at about .85% or $1860. on a home values at $218,700.

Gulf Shores, Alabama is also extremely cheap right now. The Texas Gulf coast is developing — check out Cinnamon Shore — and you’ll be in another no-income tax state that is enjoying population growth and zippier employment than the rest of the nation. But our property taxes are nothing to sneeze at, 1.76% of the home’s value or $2232. on a $126,800 average home.

Thanks for Asking Candy!