Friday's Daily Pulse
What you need to know about Florida today.
The nation seems to have finally caught what parts of Florida have been enjoying for the last few months: people getting off the fence and signing home sales contracts. An index that tracks the number of so-called "pending sales" rose to its highest level in nearly two years last month, the latest sign the battered housing market is slowly improving. Pending South Florida home sales increased 13 percent in March Read more from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Miami Herald.
The state’s 836,000 unemployed workers are in for more bad news: Their unemployment benefits are going to start running out sooner. State officials said this week that 20 weeks of federal extended unemployment benefits are to start disappearing next month. That’s on top of three weeks of state unemployment benefits that evaporated in January for newly unemployed workers. [Source: Times/Herald]
One of the leading demographic stories of the past decade was Florida’s population slump. But a surprising story of the new decade is Florida’s population rebound. Of all the “bubble states”—those slammed hardest by the housing market’s collapse—only the Sunshine State has shown robust signs of recovery in domestic migration. [Source: City Journal]
When financial planner Shannon Simmons offered her expertise to a professional clown, it wasn’t exactly business as usual. Simmons advised her new client to switch from a “couch fund” to a high-interest-bearing account with limited market risk. In exchange for her advice, Simmons received trapeze lessons. Bartering may sound like a style of commerce more fitting to a backwater marketplace than a modern capitalist environment but the barter market is booming. [Source: Businessweek]
» Florida Barter
Florida’s mammoth state-run insurance company decided Thursday to review its plan to allow unlimited rates for new homeowners following a loud public outcry. The board of governors decided to ask the staff of Citizens Property Insurance to study the issue further before bringing it up for a vote. Read more from the Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times.
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› COLUMN: Making the case for a backyard citrus revival
Oranges, grapefruits and lemons used to be a big part of the retirement ritual in Florida. People would move from Up North, buy a lot, build a house and plant a few citrus trees in the backyard. You don't see that so much anymore.
› Ponies, players return to Miami Beach for polo
After its first appearance in Chicago, and on the way to a debut in China next year, beach polo returns to Miami Beach this weekend.
› Fort Lauderdale franchise waives fee for veterans
A Fort Lauderdale franchise company, VR Business Sales, is waiving $2 million in franchise fees for military service members returning from active duty. VR chief executive Peter King said he wants to help veterans own a business, many of which don't have the money or credit to do.
› That's the (Florida) spirit
Forget Kentucky and Ireland. Dick and Marti Waters make barrel-aged whiskey in Umatilla
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