The Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream

The Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream

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Overview

Florida has long beckoned retirees seeking to spend their golden years in the sun, but, for many, the American dream of owning a home there was financially impossible. That changed in the 1950s, when the so-called "installment land sales industry" appeared out of nowhere to hawk billions of dollars of Florida residential property, sight unseen, to retiring northerners. For only $10 down and $10 a month, working-class pensioners could buy a piece of the Florida dream: a graded homesite that would be waiting for them in a planned community when they were ready to build. The result created Cape Coral, Port St. Lucie, Deltona, Port Charlotte, Palm Coast, and Spring Hill, among many others—sprawling exurban communities with no downtowns and little industry but millions of residential lots.

As Jason C. Vuic recounts in this raucous history, these communities allowed generations of northerners to move to Florida cheaply, but at a price: high-pressure sales tactics begat fraud; poor urban planning begat sprawl; developers cleared forests, drained wetlands, and built thousands of miles of roads in grid-like subdivisions, which, fifty years later, played an inordinate role in the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469663333
Publication date: 10/28/2020
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jason C. Vuic is the author of The Yucks!: Two Years in Tampa with the Losingest Team in NFL History and The Yugo: The Rise and Fall of the Worst Car in History.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

A marvelously written, dramatic account of the dark side of real estate development in Florida. Vuic's chronicle is engrossing, moving, and full of dark humor.—David Farber, author of Crack: Rock Cocaine, Street Capitalism, and the Decade of Greed



An excellent history of the interstate land sales industry—well researched, thorough in coverage, and written with compelling style.—Hubert B. Stroud, author of The Promise of Paradise: Recreational and Retirement Communities in the United States since 1950

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