(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

GAINESVILLE, FL-New research released by the University ofFlorida shows that annual average population increase in the stateover the next two years is projected to dip down to its lowestlevel in 60 years. Data shows that projected growth has dippeddramatically, dropping more than 90% from the annual averageincrease between 2002 to 2006, which are considered "boom years."Between 2007 and 2008 the state grew by 127,000 residents, versus331,000 between 2006 and 2007.

"The major reasons for the slowdown are two-fold," Stan Smith,director of UF's Bureau of Economic and Business Research, tellsGlobeSt.com. "One is the slowdown in job creation. Earlier in thisdecade, Florida was adding several hundred thousand jobs per year,and in the last year has lost 350,000 jobs." Those jobs were one ofthe main magnets drawing residents to the state, he adds. "Thesecond factor is the housing meltdown. When people have difficultyselling their homes, that tends to slow down their migration togrowing states such as Florida."

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