The Boom Is—Is Not!—Over: The Great Real Estate Debate

There's an anxious face-off between sellers and buyers of homes as expectations of big profits fade

When Holly Schiller bought a town house in Fort Lauderdale in the fall of 2004, she figured she would pocket a profit before the place was even finished. Schiller, 51, and her husband had already flipped several properties in Florida's sizzling market, and this one sounded sweet: three bedrooms, private elevator, designer appliances. Villa Medici, promised the builder, would be modeled after a "true Italian Tuscan village," featuring Mediterranean façades and a resort-style pool. "As with any 'limited edition,'" the pitch stressed, "demand always exceeds the supply."

Well, maybe not always. The housing market in parts of South Florida is melting...

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