To answer your first question, I can tell you there have been 5 new shopping centers and one huge condo development recently completed off of the south end of 98 aka Bartow Hwy. This is due both to the recent growth and projected growth in the Clubhouse Rd and 540A areas. This also puts homeowners in close proximity to PCC, the Polk Parkway and still a hop/skip/jump from South Florida.....Southwest Lakeland is still growing as well....look at where the builders are building, this is usually a good indication because large builders often use marketing professionals to determine "where to go next". If you want to know the real truth, Lakeland is still behind Tampa and Orlando, Brandon and Kissimmee in home prices.....I think ALL of Lakeland is a good place to invest if you are looking at the long-term, but why re-invent the wheel?? Go where the business and the builders are going which I predict more to be to the East and West moreso than to the North and South in the immediate future as we migrate closer to bigger cities. Sure there will be some spillage to the north and south as a general rule, but people moving here who work in Tampa and Orlando are wanting to be closer! And we WANT them to be closer so they will bring their money!
As for fixer uppers, sure there are plenty! The bigger questions is: Are there any fixer-uppers priced appropriately for an investor to be able to realize a profit or to at least cover costs until the market turns around? To answer your question, yes....there are, but they are fewer and farther between than they should be for now. The banks that own these properties will soon realize (each in its own time frame unfortunately), that they have to price these fixer properties so that savvy investors will want to scoop them up even in a slow market. Most of them just dont "get it" yet or they're "too deep in" financially to care. I believe there are always good opportunities in Real Estate, it's TIMING and knowing which approach to use in each specific market that gets tricky.
What you need is a Realtor that can sit down with you, help define your personal goals and then locate/identify those properties that would be the right fit for you. I happen to know of one! Give me a call if you are interested in working together.....Angela Faulkner, 863-709-1735