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Investing In Land – A History Lesson – Florida Swampland
“If you believe that I have some swampland in Florida to sell you.” Today that is a punchline to a joke but in the 1960s there were so many people infused with excitement by that very possibility that Leonard Rosen had to build his own fleet of 15 airplanes just to shuttle prospective buyers to his Golden Gate Estates in South Florida read more…
“If you believe that I have swampland in Florida to sell you.” Florida land scam deals were so prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s that the phrase passed into the lexicon for exposing one’s gullibility. The fact is there is more land available for sale in Florida than any other state and some of it is swampland. But not all of it is worthless. Ask the Walt Disney folks if they are happy with their swampland purchases.
There are two Floridas – the Peninsula that thrusts into the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean forming the Gulf of Mexico and the Panhandle that stretches across the top of the state. The peninsula is what most people think of when they think of Florida – citrus groves, spring training baseball, sugar sand beaches, tourists and the Everglades. Land here is unrelentingly flat – no part of South Florida is higher than 12 feet – and, although abundant, available undeveloped land is almost exclusively in small building lots less than 10 acres in size.
North of Orlando and Orange County the terrain becomes more rolling and the population less sparse. At Britton Hill Florida reaches its roof at 345 feet – the lowest highpoint of any state in the country. This part of Florida is horse and cattle country with a mix of wiregrass and timberlands. Toss in a few mountains in the background and the ranches here could pass for being in Montana.
Surrounded by saltwater on three sides and possessing more water area than any other state besides Alaska and Michigan, many Florida land buyers are seeking property for water recreation – so much so the Sunshine State could be rebranded as the Water Fun State. Beachfront property is always on the market and the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico are a sport fisherman’s paradise. Undeveloped land in the Florida interior is sought by outdoorsmen where a canoe or bass boat can be quietly slipped into one of the many canals and waterways that criss-cross the state.