Thanks to slow but steady economic growth, Florida's real estate market will continue its strong performance in  2014, according to Dr. John Tuccillo, chief economist for Florida Realtors. Dr Tuccillo expects sales to rise 10 - 12% in the coming year, and home values should increase as well.

From a demographic perspective, Florida will attract working-age families and retirees, increasing demand for housing. However, Tucillo notes that investors will be less active in the Florida market than in the past few years. He also expects demand from international buyers - particularly Europeans - may decline in 2014 due to rising prices and the stronger dollar, which makes U.S. properties more expensive for them.

Throughout the state, rising prices mean that many homeowners who were underwater now have at least a small amount of equity in their home, according to Tucillo. That increase in personal wealth, combined with the rising stock market through the first three quarters of 2013, may induce many owners to put their homes on the market and become move-up or move-down buyers in 2014.

Tom: Dr Tucillo has been pretty accurate in previous projections, both in a rising and falling market, and I expect he will be very close in his estimates for this year. I predict that SW Florida wil continue to out-perform the rest of the state due to warmer weather below the "frost line", which is approximatey at Tampa.