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Miami home buyers compete with wealthy investors

A for sale sign is seen in front of a home on January 25, 2011 in Miami, Florida.

Michelle Lacamoire has been calling Miami home for quite some time -- she grew up there. These days however -- like a lot of middle-class Miami residents -- Lacamoire has discovered that actually finding a home in Miami can be a different story.

In 2008, Miami was among the cities hardest hit when the U.S. housing market went bust. Recently, though, things have begun heating up again as foreign buyers scoop up properties -- paying full price and forking over cash.

Many of those deals are concentrated in the city's high-end waterfront communities and involve multi-million dollar condos or homes that most middle class Miamians can't afford. But that demand has had a ripple effect on the rest of the market and potential home-buyers like Lacamoire.

"Let’s say if I got a listing on a Tuesday,” says Lacomoire, “I would call [my realtor] to make an appointment to look at the house, but she's already calling me letting me know that the houses I was interested were already taken."

That's because inventory is low and demand is high in affordable communities like Kendall, the Zoo Miami area, and Homestead.

Lynda Fernandez, who works for the Miami Association of Realtors explains: "There are opportunities, you just have to be more focused at the moment because there is very limited supply. Days on the market are down to 50 days when usually it's 120 days.”

That gives professional investors a definite advantage. Armed with cash and wealthy clients, they can pull the trigger quickly, while average Miamians like Lacamoire are left behind, still searching for a home and hoping for a break.

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