Some might look at recent SW Florida single family home sales numbers and wonder if the market has peaked as sales have slacked off a bit, but let’s not jump to conclusions just yet. This week we take you inside the numbers and explain what’s happening and what we’re keeping our eyes on.

Are SW Florida Real Estate Sales in Trouble

Homes Sold single family Bonita Springs Estero Florida Fort Myers Cape Coral

As you can see from the Homes Sold graph, sales are down. This is somewhat expected as inventory is down and agents have been selling more new construction to satisfy home buyer’s needs. 2013 sales numbers dipped in January but rebounded nicely going into season leading up to a fantastic May. This could happen again this year.

Should sellers beware? Maybe. While you can definitely see the seasonality of home sales, there is no doubt the rising home sale prices will limit buyers, as will rising interest rates. Rates are expected to rise even more in 2014.

Pending home sales graph Lee County Florida

We also looked at pending sales in December 2013 and January 2014 as this is an indicator of potential future closings in the coming months. Pending sales were down 16.4% year over year in December, and down 6.4% in January. Again, this is a short time frame to look at, and some of this could be attributed to limited inventory, however it could impact reported closings going forward.

We really want to look at how February sales come in which won’t be reported for another 3 weeks or so. Prices will probably be higher and sales could be lower than last year. January thru May sales set the trend for all year, so we’re keeping a close eye on trends these first few months.

Yes, we’ll probably have rising prices. Prices rose again in January to a $180,000 median price and a mean average of $301,035. That’s up roughly 25% or better for both numbers over last year.

Are rising prices limiting sales? Is limited inventory holding back sales? Is new construction competing with existing home sales again? Are rising interest rates limiting sales? Nobody knows the answers yet. We’ve identified some indicators to watch though.

If you’re a seller, you might want to look at how well your home competes against other similar homes on the market. A few weeks ago we posted on our Blog inventory levels by price range. If you have a $ 1 Million+ home there is currently about a 3 yr supply of homes on the market, so you have to look at what you need to do to sell your home versus waiting 3 years. And what if the market falls within 3 years or more listings come to the market? It could take even longer to sell at reduced prices.

If your home is in the $400-600,000 range, there is about a 1 year supply of homes. Again, it pays to know your competition and price accordingly. Our market has been doing well the past few years. 2014 looks to be another good year, but don’t take price gains for granted. There is no law that says prices will rise forever. New construction is now competing against you again for the first time in years. SW Florida may return to a more moderate market, which is probably best anyway.

We’ll keep tracking the trends, and as always, if you need assistance buying or selling in SW Florida, Always Call the Ellis Team. 239-489-4042 or www.TopAgent.com

Good luck and happy buying/selling!


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Thinking of Selling Automated computer home valuation system SW Florida real estate

Thinking of Selling? Sellers have read that home prices are up and interest rates are low, so they’re curious if it would make sense to consider a move right now.  Many have been trapped in their home for so long they forgot what it was like to have options.

They want to take advantage of low interest rates but many are not sure they have enough equity to make a move.  The whole process can seem daunting.

For years the Ellis Team has played with several online valuation models to help curious homeowners out.  We’re excellent at counseling sellers and going over options, but many don’t even want to waste our time until they get a sense that they can do this.  The online valuation models were all over the place until now.

Automated computer home price analysis Fort Myers real estate

No online valuation will ever take the place of what we do; how could it?  The computer has never been inside your home or the homes it’s using as a basis to compare yours to.  It’s just a computer.  We have found one that does a decent job though.

If you’re considering selling simply go to www.swfloridahomevalues.com  In just a few easy steps it asks for your property address, brings up an aerial view of your home and asks you to verify if it has the home size, bedrooms, and bathrooms correct in the database, and voila’ it sends you a beautiful automated selling price analysis for your home complete with a map of comparable sales, a list of comparable sales along with their selling price, date sold, price per sq ft, and more.  It also provides neighborhood ratings and will email you instant alerts on changes to your home’s value.

It’s free to use and very helpful.  All we ask is that if you decide to sell now or in the future, you at least give us a shot and see what we can do for you when you’re interviewing agents.

We’re experts at guiding you through the home selling maze.  We understand many pieces of the puzzle have to fall into place and many times we can offer suggestions to help you.  We’ve helped thousands of homeowners through this process so we’ve gained some experience along the way that can really help you make better decisions.

If it’s just preliminary information you’re seeking, we’ve got tools like this website for that. If you need more detailed information or have questions about how the process would work for you, we’re always here to talk to.  We’re not pushy salespeople; we sincerely like to help people.  Whether you’re buying or selling today or perhaps years from now, the Ellis Team is here to help.  To search the MLS visit www.Topagent.com and you can always call us at 239-489-4042

 

Good luck and Happy Buying/Selling!

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Most people don’t realize that their Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) could be facing some stiff payment increases in the coming years.  If you bought a home in the 2000’s chances are your lender discussed adding on an interest only line of credit to your first mortgage in case you needed money in the future.

 

Lines of Credit Payments About to Skyrocket

Home equity lines of credit origination chart by year
HELOC Origination Chart

Some people used the line of credit from the get-go to avoid paying PMI insurance.  It was an attractive option as it was probably interest only and the payment was affordable.  Many are as low as 3.25%  Rates are still that low today but the rates can go up at anytime, but that’s not what has the banking industry worried.

The part that wasn’t fully explained to consumers is that the interest only portion lasts for the first 10 years.  After that, the borrower must begin making principal and interest payments, which will add money to your monthly payment even if rates don’t rise.  But here’s the kicker.  The new payment is amortized over 15 years, not 30 years, so essentially you have to pay back the entire HELOC over 15 years in addition to your 1st mortgage.

Let’s say you have a 1st mortgage and a $200,000 interest only HELOC.  At 3.25% the HELOC monthly payment is $541.67.  With the new amortization that payment increases to $1,405.34  If it was based upon a 30yr amortization the payment would be $870.41, still a substantial increase.  Unfortunately it’s not, so get ready to pay a lot more.

Now, let’s assume the interest jumps to 4.5%.  These rates can adjust at anytime as the market changes, and most economists predict they will go up.  At 4.5% amortized over 15 years that same payment jumps to $1,529.99

You can see from the chart when the HELOC originations started jumping.  Many SW Florida homeowners are up against this reset now and many more will be hearing about this subject in the next few years.  It is a shock when you’re not expecting, but homeowners who act now have a chance to do something about it.

You can start making the extra payments voluntarily now which will reduce the principal when your loan does reset.  This also gets you used to the higher payments and allows you to budget properly.

For some this will not be feasible.  If you have equity now and good credit you might look at refinancing both loans into one mortgage.  It’s much harder to get a loan today than it was 10 years ago, but if you can that may be a great option.  If you cannot refinance, you may want to look at selling now, especially if you have equity.  It would be a shame to come up against the deadline and be forced into delinquency because you can’t afford the higher payments if you have equity.

If you are upside down on your mortgage, you can either start talking with your lender now or look at doing a short sale.  Nobody wants to go into foreclosure.  Many have resisted a short sale up until now, but a short sale is much better on your credit than a looming foreclosure would be.

We’re not here to tell you what you should do. That’s a personal decision and maybe one to be discussed with your attorney or accountant.  We are here to educate you on what’s coming and tell you about your options.

If you think you may want or need to sell, please give us a call.  We’re experts at looking at the situation and listening.  We’ll get you top dollar for your home and help you move on.  So many people have been locked into their homes waiting for the market to rise, and it has.  Perhaps the market has risen enough for you to sell now.  Perhaps it makes sense to down size, upgrade, and move to another location, etc.  We can help.  Give us a call at 239-489-4042  If you’d like to search the MLS first, go to www.Topagent.com and you can see what homes like yours are selling for.  Of course there’s no substitute for meeting with us and us evaluating your home.  We look forward to working with you to sell your home, or to buy one.
To search the MLS for properties go to www.TopAgent.com or give us a call at 239-489-4042 You can even search for waterfront property in Fort Myers, Cape C oral, or all of SW Florida    Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!

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Last week I had the pleasure of presenting the residential market outlook to the CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member) Real Estate Outlook Conference.  This conference is comprised of the Top commercial specialists in Charlotte, Lee, and CollierCounties along with community leaders like Mayor Randy Henderson of Fort Myers, Jim Nathan president of Lee Memorial Health System, a VP from Hertz, and Wilson Bradshaw president of FGCU among others.

The commercial market lags the residential market.  Residential went down before commercial did and therefore came out sooner.  CCIM experts were happy to report commercial is again on the rebound.  2013 was a very good year for residential which bodes well for commercial going forward.

Home Sale Prices Rising Nationwide

Nationwide housing prices rebounded in December quite nicely over the previous year.  Detroit saw the largest increase in the RE/MAX national housing report followed by Las Vegas.  Fort Myers came in with a 24% median price increase in December, and for the year Lee Home Sale Prices Rising NationwideCounty saw a 28.31% gain over 2012 numbers.

In December there were reports nationwide of a slowdown in home sales but many states have reported this may have been a weather related issue as treacherous weather has wreaked havoc on airlines, schools, and businesses up North this year.

The North’s bad weather could be SW Florida’s good fortune as we have seen in years past bad weather up North leading to more home sales down here.  In fact, yesterday I heard Carnival cruise lines announced they sold more cruises in January than any other month in history.  With blizzard conditions this week and forecast conditions again next week, this might be the last year for some suffering through this weather.

Lee County is working on bringing more companies to SW Florida, and with record breaking bad weather, maybe we’ll attract entire companies rather than just disgruntled homeowners looking to make a change. This would be huge as we’d be adding jobs to the area to go along with increased residents.

While the SW Florida real estate market may not see 28% price gains this year, 2014 looks to be on track to be another great year. If another company or two like Hertz or Gartner decides to relocate here it could turn into a fantastic year.

We’ll be keeping our eye on several wild cards which could affect our market.  Weather up North is one of them, along with the national housing market, interest rates, the overall economy, consumer confidence, business hiring and unemployment, and company relocations.

Realistic sellers have an excellent chance to sell their home right now.  We have seen some over-pricing occurring in this market and we’re watching these listings sit on the market.  A Seller’s market is an excellent time to sell but not a license to over-price.  Over-priced homes do not sell.  Believe it or not, back in 2005 and 2006 many sellers failed to sell because they were greedy and missed an opportunity.  Oh my, would they love to have those days back!

If you have a home to sell, call us at 239-489-4042.  We can help.  If you’re a buyer, it pays to work with someone who knows the market.  To search the MLS go to www.TopAgent.com

Good luck and Happy Selling/Buying!
To search the MLS for properties go to www.TopAgent.com or give us a call at 239-489-4042 You can even search for waterfront property in Fort Myers, Cape C oral, or all of SW Florida    Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

Visit our Google+ Business Page

 

 

Each year we announce the official SW Florida real estate year end prices which are basically an average for the year of the median sales prices for residential homes in Lee County Florida.  It isn’t the December year end sales figure as sales in any given month can be seasonal and can vary from month to month depending on what closes in any given month.

Year End Prices Rise 86% From Their Lows

Official numbers haven’t been released yet so we calculated the weighted average median price each month and performed the calculation.  I would expect our number to closely resemble the official number if/when it is released.  Sometimes the Board goes back and revises numbers in the past and we didn’t do that.  We also noticed that the monthly official sales total 12,060 sales while the January 2014 release shows there were 12,144 closed sales for the year, so perhaps they’re revising past numbers again.

In future years we’ll just track sales directly from MLS as we’re now on one system.  Back in 2008 we described the year end chart as something like a shark’s fin.  It still looks that way but at least we’re coming out of the downturn nicely.  You can see we clearly have a ways to go before reaching the highs back in 2005, but 2013 sure looks a lot better than the low in 2009.

In fact, we’re 86.09% better than we were at the lows in 2009.  Each week we provide data and graphs on the inventory levels, monthly price gains, market absorption, and much more, and only once per year do we get to break it down like this.

In a rising market it sure is a lot more fun to look at this graph.  Back in 2007 and 2008 people were wondering when the market was going to bottom, and in 2009 we had our answer.  We saw it on a monthly basis and it’s very easy to see looking at in on a yearly basis.

Many sellers are calling us and pleasantly surprised that they’re now able to sell their home due to the price increases.  Unfortunately there are some sellers that refinanced or bought at the top of the market and didn’t put much money down and they’re still upside down and can’t sell yet.  Each passing month adds more potential sellers who can afford to sell if they wish to.

Each year prices have gone up combined with their mortgage going down which has allowed more to become free from their home.  So many felt trapped in their home while they were upside down, so they just waited for the market to respond.

If you’re a seller, the time might be right for you to sell now.  Inventory is still low and we have buyers actively looking for the right home to come on the market.  Interest rates are still low so moving to your next home is affordable now.  It may not be as affordable in the future.  Plus, the future home you hope to buy when your home sells may be going up in value too.

Keep in mind this is a market snapshot.  Not all homes in all prices appreciate or depreciate at the same rate.  It’s important to speak to a professional who can help you with your situation.  Of course, if you’d just like to snoop around on the MLS you can at www.TopAgent.com.  If you’re considering selling, please give us a call at 239-489-4042.  We’re easy to talk to and we never pressure you.  We’re here to present you with your options and let you choose what’s best for you.

 

Good luck and Happy House Selling!
If you’d like to search the market as either a buyer or seller, visit www.Topagent.com If you need extra help we’re always available to talk to you and help you make better decisions. Our phone number is 239-489-4042 Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

To search the MLS for properties go to www.TopAgent.com or give us a call at 239-489-4042 You can even search for waterfront property in Fort Myers, Cape C oral, or all of SW Florida    Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

Visit our Google+ Business Page