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A guide to buying property in Florida

by Yuri Brixenmortar 5. October 2012 17:10

Planning to invest in the USA? Florida remains the most popular destination in America on, attracting almost two-thirds of all enquiries from buyers. But do you know your Disney from your Davenport?

Read part one of MoveWorldwide's guide to buying property in Florida:


The Essentials


Florida easily earns its nickname "The Sunshine State", clocking up roughly 3,000 hours of sunlight every year. The state has a climate of two halves:  the North is subtropical, while the South is less humid. Rain can still be expected in the summer along with storms - Florida has the highest number of lightning strikes and tornadoes per area in the US - but home buyers can rest easy: property damage is low compared to most states.



Almost two-thirds of Florida's citizens were born in another state - the second highest in the US - while many come from other nations. Why is Florida property such a popular place for home buyers? The coastal location is the main attraction, the sunlit beaches combining with its array of theme parks to create an ideal holiday destination. 23.2m tourists visited Florida in 2000, which shows its appeal to both second home owners and property investors alike.



Florida is one of the larger states east of the Mississippi, spanning two time zones as it reaches from Caribbean countries (such as Cuba and The Bahamas) to its neighbouring states of Georgia and Alabama. Because of its ocean location, the peninsula is caught between subtropical and tropical waters, which gives the area a pleasant climate that can be felt both in the state's green hills and on the sandy beaches.



Go back several decades and Florida was an agricultural state, where cotton, cattle and citrus ruled. But all that changed in 1971, when Walt Disney opened up his eponymous theme park. Since then, tourism has dominated the economy. As a result, the number of properties in Florida has increased exponentially, with hotels and parks springing up across the state. Florida also has a strong research sector, with the second-largest concentration of medical facilites in the US.




Kennedy Space Center

A short drive from Orlando and you can travel across the galaxy with the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. At the launch headquarters, residents can escape the hum-drum of city life by touring cutting-edge space exploration facilities, viewing historical rockers, experiencing interactive simulators and meeting veteran astronauts. This NASA technology hub, which is eight times the size of Manhattan, may be in the heart of America but it is the closest residents can get to outer space.


Walt Disney World

The world's most-visited entertainment resort, Walt Disney World is without a doubt the most well-known attraction in Florida. The resort spans 30,080 acres, including four theme parks, two water parks, 23 official on-site hotels and several golf courses. Founded in the 1960s, Walt Disney World has since outgrown California's Disneyland Park,  forever transforming the state's economy and adding buy-to-let investment potential to properties in the surrounding communities.


The Everglades

While families flock to Disney World, locals may prefer the quieter pace of The Everglades. Adorning the southern part of the state, the wetlands experience floods and fires but they are also home to the Everglades National Park. The park, which protects the largest wilderness east of the Mississippi River, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its endangered ecosystem of plants, freshwater fish, crocodiles and birds draw in 1 million visitors every year.




Florida's busiest airport is Miami International, which serves the south of the state. The airport, 13km from Downtown Miami, is a hub for American Airlines and the main gateway between the US and Latin America, where many home buyers come from. The second biggest airport is Orlando International. Major routes come from the UK, Canada and Germany.



Amtrak provides the main intercity train services in the US, connecting Florida with other mainland states. Stations cover all the main towns within Florida, from Miami and Orlando to Jacksonville and Kissimmee. For those in Lake Buena Vista, the Walt Disney World Monorail System will also ferry visitors around at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour.



Car rentals may not be necessary for tourists visiting Florida's beaches, but for those needing to travel across the state for work or pleasure, Florida's expressways are indispensible. The majority of the roads are toll-based, although interstate highways are free of charge. A SunPass can be purchased from supermarkets and other vendors to save 25% on toll rates.


Interested in buying a home in the Sunshine State? Head this way for Property Price Advice.

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Yuri Brixenmortar

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