Miami boasts a popular South Beach club scene, Art Deco Architecture, and perhaps the best Cuban food in the country. But residents don't have much else to celebrate.
More than three years after the economy started its downward slide, the Miami metro area, like a handful of Sun Belt cities, still hasn't begun to recover. Median home prices in Miami have fallen 38% since its market peaked in the second quarter of 2007; the city's 11% unemployment rate is above the national average and has grown more than most of the 40 cities we surveyed.
Cities in the "Sand States" of Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada, where overbuilding was rampant, are also in trouble, claiming nine of the top 10 spots in our list of cities in free fall. In Las Vegas, Riverside, Calif., and Phoenix, median home prices have fallen 50%, 44% and 37% from their respective peaks. Jobs are vanishing. Though country-wide, employers added 162,00 jobs last month, Riverside gained 13% fewer jobs in February 2010 (the latest numbers available by metro) than it did the same month three years earlier. Tampa, Fla., saw a 10% drop, and Los Angeles added 9% fewer jobs over the same time period.
These cities are also slow to absorb their glut of unsold foreclosed homes, keeping recovery at bay.
"These were highly speculative housing markets," says Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, a Manhattan-based real estate appraisal firm. "In the markets that have unloaded a lot of foreclosed housing stock there's still a lot more coming."