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Online searches for properties at a prominent real estate site showed North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota as the third biggest target in the nation.
The local market was behind only Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville and Lakeland-Winter Haven on a list produced by Trulia.com for the fourth quarter and released on Thursday.
The calculation by the Internet real estate site, which logs 100 million property views each month, found more than six times as many “inbound” home searches by outsiders for this region as “outbound” by local residents.
The region had been tops on a previous list for the third quarter.
Trulia also gave some insight as to where the interest was coming from. In the case of Gulf Coast homes, more came from Chicago than anywhere else. For the Atlantic coast and Central Florida, demand was coming from New York more than anywhere else.
“Today’s house hunters are deal seekers, who focus their search in places where prices are low,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist. “Although locals in Florida, inland California and the Southwest are suffering from high foreclosure rates and lost equity, huge prices declines since the height of the housing bubble have drawn house hunters from across the country.”
“As America’s retirement capital, Florida has received the most attention from prospective homebuyers and renters from the Northeast and Midwest,” Kolko said. “Baby boomers who had planned to retire to cheaper places elsewhere in the South during the boom years can once again buy in Florida.”
Where demand for online house hunters is strongest on Trulia.com:
1. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville
2. Lakeland-Winter Haven
3. North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota
4. Cape Coral-Fort Myers
5. Tulsa, Okla.
6. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton- Boynton Beach
7. Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach
8. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif.
9. Charleston-North Charleston- Summerville, S.C.