Worst may be over, but South still hurting

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The housing recession has passed its lowest point, many argue, but Florida and other southern states are in worse shape than many areas of the country. Property values have dropped 38 percent and $4 trillion in equity has been wiped out, but home resales, new home sales and construction are all rising from the bottom. Economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research says the freefall is over, but there are still regional market variations. The best one can say of Florida is that the rate of decline in sales and property values is starting to slow, says Steve Cumbie, executive director of the Center for Real Estate Development at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.