Prices soared in the bubble and have crashed in the downturn. Now buyers are venturing back. Meet Theresa Caccamise, owner of an $85,000 fixer-upper.

(Source: CNN)

 It wasn’t too long ago that the Miami housing market was one of the hottest in the country. Cranes filled the skies as developers rushed to cash in. Home values shot up 75% over three years, and some of the most desirable addresses doubled in price.

 The market peaked in late 2005, and then it crashed hard.

As foreclosures soared, South Florida housing prices fell an average of 36%. The foreclosure rate hit 8.9% in February, up from 3.8% a year ago, according to First American CoreLogic. That compares to 1.7% for the rest of the country. Sales ground to a standstill.

But in recent months, low prices and low interest rates have been luring buyers. First-timers are finally finding homes they can afford, while investors say that for the first time in years they can negotiate deals that make sense.

The sales numbers are dramatic. In February alone, condo purchases skyrocketed 71% from a year earlier, while home sales soared 68%, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.

Read Tami Luhby’s full article “Miami housing: The power of cheap” in CNN Monday (April 14, 2009).

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