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Are things getting better -- or worse -- in the housing market?

Location, location, location.

How many times have you heard that mantra recited as regards real estate?

And when it is intoned, it is uttered in connection with virtually every conceivable aspect relating to residential and commercial property. Can this parcel be sold at a good price? Will that property sit unoccupied and distressed? Should I buy land here -- or there?

Given that most considerations relating to property are influenced by purely local factors, it is not particularly illuminating in many respects to pose questions or hear answers regarding the national housing market.

Because, in short, it is variable, depending upon -- here we go again -- location.

In other words: At any given moment, the housing market is ascending like a rocket in one area of the country while continuously plummeting in another region.

And thus, some statistics are, well, just statistics that need to be further fleshed out to be meaningfully understood.

What does it mean, for example, when, as noted in a recent article discussing foreclosure activity across the country, about one out of every 1,049 American homes were in foreclosure last month?

Not much in Florida, because one of every 425 homes in the Sunshine State was in the foreclosure process in April. That is the highest foreclosure rate for any state in the country, and it exceeds the national average by nearly 250 percent.

And it's even worse in Miami, according to the national real estate firm RealtyTrac. Miami residents continue to suffer foreclosures at a painfully high rate, with one of every 386 homes being in foreclosure.

Are things getter better or worse?

Clearly, the answer depends on the precise state, city and neighborhood in which a person being asked that question lives.

For many Floridians, housing woes continue, with hard times remaining until, hopefully, a more positive market picture emerges.

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