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Florida and Arizona see rise in property prices

Figures from the Florida Association of Realtors show a surprise rise in sales for the first quarter of 2009. There was a 25% increase in sales of existing single-family homes in the first three months of the year.

It is the ninth straight month that Florida has reported higher existing home sales. Sales levels in the third and fourth quarters of 2008 were higher than the corresponding three-month period of the previous year, according to FAR.

Sales of existing condominiums in Florida also increased, up 19% in the first quarter compared to the same time the previous year.

There are signs that it is foreign property investors who are leading the charge. 'Demand for Florida property from the British market is at an all time high for our company. Since the beginning of 2009 we have received over 2000 enquiries for auction, distressed or foreclosed property as prices have tumbled and sellers and banks are motivated to move inventory,' said Lee Weaver of The British Homes Group Florida based in Orlando.

Meanwhile in Phoenix, Arizona more properties are selling than at any time since 2006. Locals are saying that the bust has turned to a boom for the lower end of the real estate market. Buyers are once again finding themselves in frantic bidding wars over foreclosed houses selling at large discounts.

According to John Burns Real Estate Consulting affordability in Phoenix is better than at any time since 1981 and buying a house is once again cheaper than renting.

The fall in prices in the area slowed in March for the first time in two years. Arizona State University business professor Karl Gunterman said at the time that it was a sign of the market bottoming out.

Mike Orr, a Phoenix real estate analyst, said that has now happened. 'It's a dramatic change in just three months. I never imagined it'd get this crazy this quickly,' he said. But he added that it was only lower priced property are present and he thinks mid and high priced properties still will lose value in the coming months.

'I wouldn't be investing in luxury right now. But if you're looking for inexpensive homes, you're going to have a fight on your hands,' he explained.