Each year we provide a SW Florida Real Estate State of the Market Report based on year-end numbers and current trends we see in the local SW Florida real estate market.

Fort Myers real estate cape Coral year end sale prices SW Florida Real Esttae

SW Florida Real Estate State of the Market Report

Today we’d like to update you on sales prices and inventory levels.  As you can see from the Year End Prices graph, prices have been moving upward since 2009.  The median sale price in 2009 was $90,400.  Compare that to 2014 median price of $190,000 and you can see that prices have more than doubled in just 5 short years.

We have circled the last year on the graph to call to your attention something we’ve been saying for awhile.  While our market is as healthy as it’s been in years, we could be returning to a period of more moderate growth, which is a good thing.  As we learned from the previous Boom, the market cannot sustain 15-20% prices increases forever.  Everybody knows that.  Traditionally 3-5% is the average, and we’ve been beating that by wide margins.  This was OK because in our opinion the market over-reacted and fell too far, so it had a ways to go on the upside.  Prices were well below replacement cost and that too cannot last forever.

SW Florida Real Estate State of the Market Report

Inventory levels are still below what they were in 2012 and 2013.  Inventory has risen recently but it always does this time of year.  Inventory levels bear watching in 2015 and the levels of inventory could foretell future pricing.

Most experts agree that somewhere around 5.5 months supply of inventory is a healthy balanced market.  It is not either a sellers or buyers market but rather neutral.  As you can see from the Months Supply graph the overall market sits at exactly 5.5 months supply.

We are seeing increased closings this past December versus previous years, so inventory is going to have to climb to feed the beast.  If it does not, prices could rise quickly again this year.  If listing inventory does rise, prices could rise moderately.  Or, the market could turn off to keep inventory in check.  Time is the ultimate variable here, as time cures all ills.  Lack of time in a competitive market creates rising prices.

Season is the time of year we test the market’s mettle. Starting in January prices begin climbing, so we’ll be watching the next few months to see what rate prices rise and at what rate listings climb or decline.  Listings tend to decline starting in January or February as pending sales deplete available inventory.

It’s safe to say we’re in a supply/demand market right now.  We’re watching several variables that could influence the market but none stand out as imminent right now.  The President’s capital gains increase proposal is probably dead on arrival in Congress so that’s a none-issue right now.

Gas prices are down so buyers have more disposable income.  That won’t last forever but it does help in 2015.  Count on the Ellis Team at RE/MAX to study the market and report any changes.

If you’d like to search the MLS, feel free at www.Topagent.com  If you’re considering selling, give us a call at 239-489-4042 or send us an email at Brett@topagent.com  We’d love to help you!

Thanks for reading the SW Florida Real Estate State of the Market Report.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours

Check out Bella Casa Condominiums.  We’ll be happy to show you this project in South Fort Myers

Other Bella Casa Website

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

2014 was another banner year by all accounts.  Year end sales numbers for SW Florida real estate market indicate a recovering market in 2014.  This makes several years in a row of double-digit or near double-digit gains.

For the record the official numbers suggest a 8.6% increase in median single family home sale prices in 2014, up from $174,000 in 2013 to $189,000 this past year.

Year End Sales Numbers for SW Florida Real Estate Market

Year End Sales Numbers for SW Florida Real Estate Market

Average sale prices rose 8.1% to $283,529.  Year end sales numbers for SW Florida real estate market are the median of the entire year and not necessarily the final December statistics.  One month sales figures can be deceiving and seasonal, so we take the entire year.

Active inventory fell 12.6% for the year, with inventory currently at 5,394 compared to 6,169 last year.  All year we’ve been telling readers we’re in a low inventory market.  Inventory has been rising the past few months but we’re still down significantly from last year.  Inventory always rises heading into season and typically peaks out in late January or sometime in February.  It’s hard to keep inventory when the sales begin popping in season.

SW Florida Real Estate Current Active Inventory January 2015

Each year we tell our sellers sales can be quiet up until about Jan 15-20, and then all heck breaks loose.  Our team has noticed a definite uptick in buyer calls.  2015 season looks to be on par with previous years.  We’re getting some good listing calls too.

We’re going to need some good listings at the rate these buyer calls are coming in.  I spoke with an agent this week at another firm who had an open house this past weekend and 25 customers came in.  Her business is picking up this week and she can’t keep up.

We’re doing an open house tour this week in Cape Coral.  We’ll have 3 homes open on Sunday.  We do our open houses a little bit different so buyers can see several like kind homes.  2 are direct access waterfront homes and the 3rd is located on a fresh water lake with gorgeous views.  Check out our ad in the News Press HomeFinder for times and locations.

If you look at the Year End Prices graph you can see where were are in the recovery process compared to the peak in 2005.  We’ve got some ways to go before we reach that plateau.  If you look closely you can see the price rise in 2014 slowed just a bit.  Nobody can say with certainty what prices will be next year.

All I know is last year we predicted another year of gains, and we should have more gains this year as most signs look good going forward.  The rate of gain may slow, and that is a good thing.  It’s unhealthy to have double digit gains year after year.  Average gains are usually 3-5% per year and we’ve been beating that.

Rising interest rates usually temper buyer buying ability.  Sometimes it spurs more activity from buyers who want to get in at lower costs.  We’ll keep our eyes on interest rates in 2015 along with some other key variables.

In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful market.  If you’re a seller, now is the time to call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042  If you’d like to search the MLS, check out www.TopAgent.com  You can search the entire MLS, or feel free to speak with one of our friendly agents.  Be sure to read all our market updates on our Blog which can be found on our website.

Read last Week’s Article Bella Casa Luxury Condos in South Fort Myers

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours

Check out Bella Casa Condominiums.  We’ll be happy to show you this project in South Fort Myers

Other Bella Casa Website

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

A few weeks ago we focused on gated communities in Fort Myers.  This week we thought we’d focus on new construction condos in South Fort Myers.

Bella Casa luxury condos in South Fort Myers

Bella Casa Luxury Condos in South Fort Myers

We did a search in MLS for new builder product and 24 properties came up.  The lowest priced listing we could find was in Bella Casa for $137,000.  In fact we have a listing in Bella Casa for $134,716 and 2 bedroom 2 bath unit at $155,778.

Bella Casa luxury condos is a gated community in South Fort Myers with a resort style pool and spa, state of the art fitness center, clubhouse with club room and an outdoor living room under truss with a two sided fireplace and lighted tennis courts.  The best part might just be the low maintenance fees of only $213/mo which makes Bella Casa affordable.  Garages are available in some buildings as well.

Bella Casa luxury condos is located on Plantation Rd off Daniels, so it is conveniently located close to Gulf Coast Hospital, Minnesota Twins Spring Training and the Lee County Sports Complex, shopping, airport, and US 41 and I-75.  The builder has 36 units left for sale.  There are some rented units for investors too who would like to purchase a luxurious condo with low fees and built-in income.

What makes Bella Casa luxury condos so unusual in today’s market is the combination of newer construction, garages, gated community with amenities, and low maintenance fees in South fort Myers.  Typically a community might offer one or more of these features, but rarely all of them.

Bella Casa Luxury Condos in South Fort Myers Aerial View

Bella Casa luxury condos offers 1 Bedroom, 2 bedroom, and 3 bedroom units. Many have lake or preserve views.  For more information call our office at 239-489-4042 or visit our website at Topagent.com

Bella Casa Condominiums in Fort Myers is a saved search on our website which makes it easy for you to see what’s available in MLS.  Did you know that you can search for a home or condo in MLS directly from our website?  You can, and we make it easy.  Virtually every property in MLS can be viewed on our website at Topagent.com  Keep in mind not all new construction is listed in MLS, so that’s why our team works hard to keep up on inventory.

It’s quite possible the home you’re looking for is under construction and not in MLS at the moment.  The Ellis Team has a team of buyer specialists devoted to keeping up on the market and listening to your needs.  Quite often we listen and match buyers up with properties they didn’t even know were on the market.

As leaders in the SW Florida real estate market we try to find out about opportunities first, and we work hard to keep up with the changes.  Because we work with a lot of buyers our specialists are out there regularly visiting projects so when you call we may have some ideas for you worth checking out.

Take Bella Casa luxury condos for instance.  There may be 4 new construction units on the MLS and a few re-sales and yet active Realtors know the developer has models open daily and more to choose from, but they’re going fast.

We hope you enjoy reading about communities we’ve focused on recently like Bella Casa luxury condos and Reflection Lakes.  If you have a community you feel has a lot to offer let us know and maybe we’ll write about it.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours

Check out Bella Casa Condominiums.  We’ll be happy to show you this project in South Fort Myers

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

For the past year we’ve been harping on new appraisal issues and their affect on real estate transactions.  Well, we’ve got another doozy to tell you about, and this appraisal ticking time bomb is set to go off January 26.

Appraisal Ticking Time Bomb

Traditionally an appraisal is performed and submitted to the bank and then the underwriter signs off on it.  Before you were clear to go if the underwriter didn’t ask more questions and if the adjustments didn’t exceed certain percentages.

FNMA is doing away with the adjustment percentages in section B4-1.3-09  Before agents and appraisers jump up and down and celebrate beware of the new changes.

Fannie Mae is introducing a new software tool called Collateral Underwriter that essentially will produce up to 20 comparable sales ranked by risk to compare against sales the appraiser uses in their report.

After studying some of the training on FNMA’s website it’s apparent that we’re in for a bumpy ride.  I’m going to introduce you to a term called CBG (Consensus Block Group) This term will cause lenders and appraisers agita. Basically appraisers are supposed to use comparables in the same neighborhood when possible, and if not possible then use a similar nearby neighborhood.

With  Collateral Underwriter the system will select up to 20 properties in the same CBG regardless of whether the neighborhood is similar or not.  As you can imagine here in SW Florida, we have hundreds of neighborhoods with a certain set of values that abut another neighborhood with a different set of values.

For instance, think of Renaissance near I-75 and Daniels.  Renaissance features homes over $1 million, while nearby Danforth Lakes features homes in the $200’s-$300’s range.  This is not a knock against Danforth Lakes; it’s just not a good comparable for Renaissance.

Let’s also talk about the “Risk” factor.  Collateral Underwriter will rank comparable homes it identifies by “Risk” and compares those 20 comps against the comps the appraiser used.  You can bet the higher the sale price, the higher the risk.  So now appraisers might be inclined to not select the best comparable but rather the comps with the least risk of being flagged because of “Risk”.

Guess what happens when the appraisal is shot back to the appraiser for clarification.  The appraiser must now justify why the comps he used were better than the ones the computer used in a separate area but in the same CBG.  Who is going to pay the appraiser for the extra time?  The consumer will.  If they don’t allow the appraiser to pass along the extra costs, they’ll take shortcuts to save time and use less expensive comps.

Does this ultimately protect the banks?  No. It can put a false constraint on prices in the market which doesn’t protect the bank, and certainly not the public.

Why even order the appraisal if you’re not going to trust the boots on the ground?  It seems the computer is taking over and the systems are flawed.  Remember, garbage in, garbage out.  And this goes against the Market Conditions Addenda FNMA requires appraisers to fill out using only neighborhood data.  It’s like FNMA is breaking their own rules.  Appraisers will be expected to reconcile any differences between the addenda and CBG trends.

Lending has become so complex it’s virtually impossible for anyone to Sell By Owner anymore.  It’s also becoming harder for a part-time or inexperienced agent to tread the constant tidal waves coming ashore by new regulations.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling, be sure to call a professional.  Doing it over and losing a sale is always more costly than doing it right the first time.  We can be reached at 239-489-4042.  Search the MLS at www.Topagent.com
Search the MLS for Gated Communities in Fort Myers

If you’re thinking about selling your home in SW Florida and would like to find out what your your home is worth we can help.

 

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours

Check out Bella Casa Condominiums.  We’ll be happy to show you this project in South Fort Myers

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

This week we thought it would be neat to focus on a community and tell a bit more about it to readers, and then we thought, why stop at one community?  We’ve highlighted select communities in the past, so we thought we’d focus on a topic of interest we get asked a lot by home buyers.  This week’s article will focus on gated communities in Fort Myers.

Gated Communities in Fort Myers

Fort Myers offers many gated communities.  Buyers enjoy the many benefits of living in a gated community.  Traffic tends to be less in a gated community because access is restricted.  Neighbors who live in the community tend to be more mindful of people walking or kids playing because they live there and know the roads.

Another benefit is increased security.  While gates do not guarantee a crime free neighborhood, it does make it more difficult for thieves to burglarize a home and have a getaway car.  Some thieves will move on as they don’t want to risk having their license plates video taped or recorded by a manned guard.  If a thief really wants in though, a gate is no match.  Banks get robbed and so do jewelry stores with elaborate systems, so a gate cannot guarantee security.

Neighbors tend to have a better handle on who lives in the community though.  If a car or van doesn’t look like it belongs, it stands out and neighbors watch.  In non-gated communities it’s harder to tell which cars belong.

Gated communities add a sense of privacy many home buyers are looking for.  You don’t have the general public driving your streets any hour of the day or night unless they’re invited in.

Many people with Ex’s enjoy gated communities knowing their Ex can’t just pop in unexpectedly.  The same goes for friends up North who just show up when they’re in town.  Restricted access can be a good thing when you’re not in the mood for guests.

One disadvantage of living in a gated community is that people can’t drive around and see what’s for sale, or even what the community offers.  If you want to sell you have to market the home a lot more to find that buyer.

We’ve created an easy way to search for gated communities in Fort Myers, or anywhere else in SW Florida for that matter as well.  Simply go to Topagent.com and click on the Gated Communities page in the Communities section.  Our MLS search site makes it easy to search for things like gated communities, waterfront homes, homes with pools, condos, you name it.

Of course while you’re browsing at your leisure you can also speak with a professional at the Ellis Team to make sure you’re on the right track. 239-489-4042.  We’re here to help you online, over the phone, or in person.  We know that home buying or selling decisions sometimes occur over time.  Many buyers and sellers need to see their options first and see if it even makes sense to contemplate such a move.  Others know they’re ready now and are just waiting for the right property to open up.  Either way you’re covered and we’ll help you no matter where you are in the process.

We’re here for you whether you’re buying today or just thinking about it down the road.  Always call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042. We’ll handle you with care!  Or visit our website at Topagent.com

Search the MLS for Gated Communities in Fort Myers

If you’re thinking about selling your home in SW Florida and would like to find out what your your home is worth we can help.

 

Visit our Google+ Business Page

Feel free to view our Virtual Tours

Check out Bella Casa Condominiums.  We’ll be happy to show you this project in South Fort Myers

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042