The No. 1 place to buy foreclosed property is not among Florida’s biggest metros but in midsized Palm Bay, halfway between much larger Jacksonville and Miami. Home to the Kennedy Space Center, it is commonly known as Florida's "Space Coast." (Its 321 area code was specially awarded to recognize the 3-2-1 liftoff countdown sequence at Kennedy).
After the end of America's shuttle program in 2011, some 8,000 people lost their jobs at the space center. But the economy seems to have bottomed out and in 2012 added some 4,000 new positions. The housing market has been on a tear, with prices rising 14.7 percent last year, according to the NAR, putting Palm Bay in the top 25 metros for price appreciation. Making it No. 1 on RealtyTrac's Top 10 foreclosure list was a 309 percent increase in foreclosure activity last year, more than double the increase in No. 2 Rochester. So even as the real estate market heats up, Palm Bay still has a 34 months' supply of foreclosed homes, selling at an average 28 percent discount.