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Florida continues to be the 800- pound gorilla in luring retirees from around the country. However, while the state still attracts tens of thousands a year (more than any other state in the country), fewer retirees are coming to the land of sunshine and more retirees are leaving, compared with 10-15 years ago. In some cases, these retirees are the so-called “half-backs,” those who retired south to Florida and then decided to move half-way back home to states like the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama or Tennessee, among others.

Coastal South Florida property prices enjoyed quite an increase from 2002 through 2006, but now have stalled. Prices have fallen somewhat, and the sheer number of homes are not selling nearly as fast as in previous years. Issues such as the threat of hurricanes, insurance rates and higher- than-normal prices have canceled out Florida’s built-in advantages: Year-around sunshine, great golf courses and the lack of state income tax.

Real estate experts claim that there are really two Floridas: South Florida and North Florida. They say you can split the state halfway down the middle and find totally different lifestyles. At the recent Discovery Weekend Expo in Atlanta, two Florida Panhandle developments were represented – Heritage Plantation in Crestview (www.heritageplantationfla.com), and La Borgata in Panama City (www.laborgatahomes.com).

Our observations are that South Alabama, South Georgia and the Panhandle region of Florida are still relatively undiscovered, unspoiled and affordable. These regions are also less congested and more like “Mayberry” than resort communities that have seen explosive growth in the past five to seven years.

Featured articles:
- Florida Still a Hot Spot for Retirees
- Top Retirement Towns in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida
- Southwest Florida one of the most popular for retirees
- Miami highlights Southeastern Florida
- Pristine beaches highlight Florida panhandle
- Northeast Florida features diversity