A new study just released shows International buyers chose SW Florida over other top destination when purchasing real estate in the United States. The study researched 97 metropolitan markets and was conducted by DataQuick and Inman News.
Lakeland-Winterhaven scored #1 followed by Cape Coral-Fort Myers and #2 Phoenix came in at #6, New York City #7, and Honolulu at #8, so SW Florida edged out some pretty nifty places.
For the past few years we’ve been reporting that International buyers have been buying here locally because Florida is on Sale and they know it. Our prices were too high in 2005 and needed to come down, but they over-corrected in the correction and became artificially too low. Most pros knew back in 2005 prices were too high and not sustainable, and almost everyone in the business recognized a few years ago that prices were too low. In fact, they were so low builders couldn’t compete, so they didn’t. Builders sat on the sidelines for a few years, but they are coming out of their shell now. While everyone agreed prices were too low, nobody really knew exactly when those prices would begin to rise.
We predicted 2009 would see bottom, but that the bottom wouldn’t be a nice curvy slope back up, but rather a rocky bottom filled with ups and downs. We did manage to bounce along the bottom, but in the past year we’ve seen evidence of some nice increases.
In fact our median prices are up about 30% over last year. Inventory is declining, and builders are building again. Construction adds jobs to the economy, which also fuels the housing market. Nationally real estate accounts for 32% of the nation’s GDP. Each new construction adds 3 jobs to the economy and adds about $90,000 in wages to the economy.
While our recovery won’t happen overnight, it is underway and a welcomed sight. Foreign buyers will continue to invest here until prices rise so much that our normal economy sustains itself. At that point, we won’t need foreign investors.
We are seeing many baby boomers investing in SW Florida as well. Many would like to retire here and are buying property at today’s low prices so they can afford to live here down the road. We’re also a pretty nice place to visit, both in the winter and year round. SW Florida is certainly warmer in the winter, and we also boast year round boating, fishing, beaches, golf, and more. You can fish year round up north, but you might need a snow blower, chains on your tires, and an ice cutter to do it.
Retired folks love riding bikes, taking walks, or enjoying bocce ball or horseshoes year round, and this is one reason SW Florida will always be a top destination. People who live down here are generally healthier and fitter as they can exercise year round and aren’t shut in.
If this article sounds like a chamber of commerce letter it’s because it’s all true. We live here and love it, and apparently people from all over the world do to. As the world discovers our beauty and our bargains, simple supply and demand takes over. Our prices are rising, our inventory is shrinking, and our roads have been busy. Now that season is almost over, we can all take a deep breath and enjoy our roads until the summer tourist season begins, and be thankful SW Florida is back on the map for good things instead of the bust that followed the frenzy.
Here’s to good times, rising values, and better fortune ahead. Throw in some low interest rates, and the only thing we could ask for is lower gas prices. Hey, 4 out of 5 isn’t bad.