Numbers Prove It: Florida Properties Flattened by Recession, Slumping Toward Deep South

We held out for as long as we could. Property values in Florida -- especially South Florida -- were always so much higher than those other Southern states. We were so smug, weren't we, in 2006?

That's the year when the housing bubble was stretched to its very limit, and from that point Forbes analyzed housing trends in the nation's four regions, then listed the areas where home prices have collapsed most dramatically. In the Southeast, Florida had the most to lose -- and she lost the most. The nine most devastated areas in the region are all in Florida. Port St. Lucie got it the worst -- houses there lost 46.4 percent of their value in a three-year span. In Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, they've fallen about 40 percent. (The chart says that home values here peaked in 2009, but that's obviously a typo.) That's fifth worst in the region. Palm Beach County comes in sixth. And seventh, of course, are our neighbors to the south in Miami-Dade.

It's a vivid illustration of how inflated Florida properties were in the middle part of the decade and how in the gyrating market their values will settle, finally, at levels much closer to the Deep South. Maybe not Mississippi-low, but at least Georgia territory.

Given Florida's susceptibility to global warming, the failure of significant progress at the Copenhagen summit did nothing to improve the future for this state's coastline.

Ain't pretty is it? But at least Florida hasn't slipped completely into the abyss. To cheer ourselves up, I suggest we strike one of those "sister city" deals with, oh... maybe... Merced, California? That city's housing market's fallen off a cliff -- a 62 percent decline since 2006. Now there's a city that can use some of our South Floridian home investing wisdom!

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