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Why Battleground-State Housing Might Help Romney

Florida (29 electoral votes)

The sun has begun to shine on the Sunshine State's housing market again after a very long night of tumbling home prices and massive foreclosure volumes.

"Everywhere I go, brokers are smiling again," says Summer Greene, president of the Florida Realtors association. "Things began to change around the first quarter, became more consistent in the second quarter -- and by the third quarter it was like: 'Wow, this must be real.'"

Median Florida house prices bottomed out at $121,900 in February 2011 after tumbling 45.6% from their June 2006 peak.

Prices have since risen 20.6% to hit $147,000 as of August, the latest month with data available.

The number of homes changing hands also rose by 10.8% over the past year to reach 18,669 in August, while the supply of unsold houses tumbled 32.3%, to 99,677.

Greene attributes much of the rebound to a combination of cash buyers and foreign purchasers snapping up properties that fell into foreclosure or went unsold during the bust.

"I wish we had more foreclosures on the market, because the market can absorb more product," she says. "Inventory is non-existent."

Still, Greene doesn't think the improved housing picture will help either Obama or Romney much, as she believes many Floridians are simply sick of politics.

"I think people in Florida are fatigued over Washington and don't care which party gets in as long as everybody stops fighting and gets along," Greene says.
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