16.8.06

THAT NEIGHBORHOOD IS SO HOT NOBODY LIVES THERE ANY MORE. Rust Belt cities with shrinking manufacturing bases also see falling house prices, notes USA Today. But people are also figuring out that a place can rate high in the "desirable location" rankings and not be worth the trouble.

In Baton Rouge, for example, prices shot up 27% from the second quarter last year. In Florida, where few middle-class families can afford a home in the coastal cities, buyers are migrating to such places as Ocala, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Tampa.

"We're getting a lot of people from California and from South Florida — people tired of the chaos, crowded conditions and overpriced homes," says Donna Delegal, a Jacksonville agent.

California has five of the top 10 most expensive cities led by San Francisco with a median price of $751,900. But gone are the days of multiple offers and "as is" sales. Homes are sitting on the market longer. Sellers are starting to cut prices and offer incentives.

Interregional arbitrage, gotta love it.

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