A few weeks ago our real estate market update told you how new pending sales were on the rise and how that could lead to increased sales in February and March.  Official new pending sales in February were up 21% and overall pending inventory was up 8.6% in February 2015 over last year’s numbers.  That sounds pretty encouraging for upcoming March sales numbers when the final numbers come in.

I’ve talked with real estate agents that didn’t feel like this January or February was particularly great, but agents tend to judge the market based upon their own sales versus the market’s sales.  I can say back in January and February and some buyers did seem on the fence and indifferent, but the numbers don’t bear that out.  The numbers suggest buyers were bullish.

March Real Estate Market Update

March is a different story.  Buyers in March do seem interested and are buying.  It will be interesting to see what official sales numbers look like.  We have our first indications of inventory levels and sales levels from February.  Official numbers were just released this week.

Real Estate market Update Homes Closed

Single family home sales this year were 861 compared to 779 last year and 886 in 2013.  They were 992 in February 2012 but we had more inventory to sell back then.

If you look at the Active Inventory graph you’ll notice our inventory is well below previous year’s levels. In fact, single family home inventory is down 6.1% last year, and if you remember we were complaining about low inventory levels last year.

Single Family Active Inventory Real Estate Market Update

Median sale prices are up 6.5% this February and averages sale prices were down 2.6% We generally use the median home prices because it is more stable and less influenced by one or two large sales.

We think agent’s attitudes will be up in March for two reasons.  The first is the numbers indicate the market is doing well.  Secondly, buyers on the street have stepped up in March and the feeling on the street is positive.  There’s an old saying “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” This time around I think the facts will match the stories.

We like to stick with the facts, although I know it’s human nature for people to work off emotions.  There’s another old joke that asks the question “Do you know the difference between a recession and a depression?”  The answer is, when your neighbor is unemployed it’s a recession.  When you’re unemployed it’s a depression.

The same goes for agents.  When their business is up the market is good, and when their business is down the market must be down.

When you’re interviewing agents, be sure they’re using market statistics and not general feelings.  General market sentiment can be powerful, but there’s no substitute for actual real estate market facts.

If our numbers are down and the market isn’t, we don’t tell people the market is down.  We know we just need to work harder.  When the market is great, it’s not the time to slack off either.  Here’s one last old saying I’ll use.  “It’s time to make hay while the sun is shining.”

Bottom line is there is no substitute for hard work.  My grandpa and dad said if you were a hard worker you were a “Hoss”  There’s also no substitute for facts and market knowledge.

When you combine market knowledge and hard work you have a recipe for success.  You’ll notice some sellers will sell in a tough market and some sellers will not sell even in a Hot market.  The difference is knowing the facts and doing the right thing at the right time.

We can help you do the right thing today.  Simply call us at 239-489-4042 or visit our website at www.Topagent.com  You can ask for “Hoss” and one of our team members will get to work for you.

Feel free to search the MLS at www.Topagent.com or call us to get your home sold. 239-489-4042

Visit our new San Carlos Park Homes page or Search for San Carlos Par Homes Here [idx-platinum-saved-link id =”4929-37543″ title =”san-carlos-park-homes-for-sale”]

 

Consumers, lenders, title companies, and real estate agents probably don’t all realize that big changes are coming down the pike and it will affect real estate closings in a big way later this year.

Big Changes Coming to the Closing Table

You’ll be hearing more about this issue this Spring and Summer as these new rules go into effect for closings starting August 1, 2015.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which is a new entity instituted by the Obama administration dictates that mortgage documents are locked in at least 3 days before closing.

Big Changes Coming to the Closing Table

Lenders will have to use the new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure form and this form must be given to consumers three days before closing.  Any change to the form requires the clock to start over which means many closings will be delayed.

Some would argue this concept would change the common practice of lenders sending mortgage documents to the title company the day of closing which forces buyers to scramble to get a wire or cashiers check just before closing and this is a good thing.  They’d be right, in part.  That would be a good thing, however there will be some unintended consequences and perhaps some lawsuits arising out of the implications of implementation.

This new rule shifts the burden from title companies to lenders to disclose the TILA.  Lenders have not been used to communicating with all sides of the transaction.  Typically that’s been the role of the title agent.  Lenders had a hard enough time getting a file from clear to close to their closing department and then on to title company.   This now adds an extra layer, and if they weren’t great before, they’ll be less than average going forward.

Realtors and sellers will gripe because any change will change the closing statement, which could dictate postponing closing.  How will a seller plan for a closing on a certain day when they must turn around and close on another property the same day?  Any change to the first closing resets the clock and postpones it three days, which will postpone subsequent closings.  I remember one day years ago where we had 5 simultaneous closings on the same day.  We had the buyer and seller on all 5 properties and we ran into an issue on closing number 3 at the closing table.  If #3 didn’t happen, 4 and 5 wouldn’t either and we had buyers and sellers with packed trucks all waiting to close.

Today this closing might not take place.  We scrambled with the loan officer and made it happen, but that absolutely could not happen after August 1.  The buyer has no say in the matter either.  These are new Federal regulations and no matter how much a buyer or seller is impacted by the new rules, it won’t matter.  Buyers and sellers will be sweating out closings hoping lenders have the disclosures in on time and all documents ready for closing.  If you like going to Vegas, you can bet with certainty that many closings will not happen on the day they’re supposed to.  It’s just a fact and Realtors, buyers, and sellers better load up on their chill pills now, because there will be high demand and short supply on those pills around Aug 2nd.

Don’t forget Bella Casa is having a close-out sale this weekend.  Special incentives and financing are available on brand new 1, 2 and 3 bedroom luxury condos in South Fort Myers.  Call our office for details 239-489-4042 or stop by the sales center located on Plantation Rd 1/4 mile North of Daniels.  Open Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 11-6

Feel free to search the MLS at www.Topagent.com or call us to get your home sold. 239-489-4042

Bella Casa Close-Out Event
Bella Casa Luxury Condominiums Fort Myers, FL

Don’t forget this weekend is the Big Bella Casa Luxury Condominium Close-Out Event

 

Southwest Florida real estate pending sales increase was up 13.8% in January over last year.  This is a positive sign moving forward.  Ironically closed sales were also up 13.8% in January over 2014, so February and March sales could also be up when those numbers are later released.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Pending Sales Increase

Last December we wrote an article titled “Here Comes the Listings, Here Comes the Sales” The gist of that article was that we could sell more properties if we just had more listings to sell.  We don’t have a demand problem, more like a supply issue.  In October and November we noticed listings had picked up so we speculated sales might pick up, and it was true.

In January 2015 new listings picked up to 2,111. We haven’t cracked 2,000+ since January 2014.  If you look at new pending sales from last year, they really kick into high gear in March, April, and May.

We could very well see that again this year.  It’ll be interesting to watch sales numbers come out for February.  If history holds true, new listings will decline a bit in February and March while pending sales may begin to rise slightly in February and make a big jump in March.

Southwest Florida real estate new pending sales

We think this may hold relatively true again this year.  Buyers seemed to lack urgency in February but we’re noticing urgency in March.  Buyers are more serious and the contracts are coming in.  We won’t focus so much on the February numbers as they may be flat or up or down somewhat.  We’re really focusing on what happens in March.  Those numbers won’t be released until about April 21 or so and that’s when we’ll get a good indication of the market.

Cash buyers are picking up again too as is usual this time of year.  Cash sales are up to 49.6% of sales which is down from 56.1% January 2014.  We expect these numbers could rise in February as well because they did last year.

Median sale prices were up 5.6% in January to $190,000, up from $179,950 the previous year. Median days on market are down to 39 days.  It was 46 days January 2014.  This suggests a strong housing market.  Most economists predict good times ahead for Florida for the foreseeable future.

If you’re thinking of selling check out our online home value tool at www.Topagent.com  It will give you an approximate estimate of your home’s value.  Of course, there is no substitute for a professional viewing your home on the inside and comparing against similar sales.  We can do that too.  Simply call us at 239-489-4042 and we’ll be glad to schedule an appointment.

If you’d like to search for your next home or condo in SW Florida, you can.  It’s online.  It’s fast, free, and easy to use, and the best part is you can do it anytime day or night.  Just go to www.Topagent.com and begin searching.  As always, if you have questions we’re here to help.  We know you may just want to search on your own and not talk to anyone yet.  Everyone is at a different part in the decision process.  We’re here to help even if you’re just thinking if it’s possible all the way to I need to buy today!

Either way you’ve probably got questions and we’re happy to answer them.  No pressure.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Builder Close-Out Event March 21 Bella Casa

Ask about special incentives

Introducing Bella Casa Luxury Condominiums in Fort Myers

SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

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 Resources

Fun Things to do in SW Florida

New Construction For Sale

Fishing and Boating in SW Florida

Lee County Florida Sports

SW Florida Entertainment

 

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

While selling real estate is a complicated process with lots of details, selling blue skies and sunshine is easy, especially to our Northern friends who have been buried by another brutal winter.

Top Rated SW Florida High Schools

One question that we get asked a lot by people relocating to SW Florida is what are the schools like?  People are deeply concerned about the quality of education their children will receive, and about their resale value.  Up North, the school district may be the largest determinant of their neighborhood’s value.

Top Rated SW Florida High Schools

People are happy to learn that SW Florida does very well in the state of Florida.  In fact, a new study came out from Niche that ranks the top public high schools in Florida.  Niche also ranks colleges, private schools, and elementary and middle schools.

Many people know that Fort Myers High School has consistently ranked in Newsweek’s Top 100 High Schools in America and that in 2008 Fort Myers High School awarded the most I.B (International Baccalaureate) diplomas in North America and was #8 in 2011.

What many may not realize is Fort Myers High School isn’t the only top high school in SW Florida.  In fact, there are 5 top rated SW Florida high schools on the Niche Top 100 in Florida list.

17. Fort Myers High School

29. Naples High School

57. Gulf Coast High School

62. North Fort Myers High School

97. Barron Collier High School

We’ll concentrate on the two Lee County Schools for just a moment.  North Fort Myers High School ranked A- in academics and A in student culture and diversity.  They ranked B+ in teachers, extracurriculars and activities, and sports and fitness.

Fort Myers ranked A in academics, student culture and diversity, extracurriculars and activities, and sports and fitness.  They ranked A- in teachers grade.

Naples ranked A in academics, student culture and diversity, and sports and fitness while ranking B in teachers and health and safety.

Cypress Lake Middle School has long been ranked as one of the top middle schools in the state however this year they didn’t rank in the top 100 according to Niche.  Three Naples middle schools ranked in the top 100, #60 Pine Ridge Middle School, #71 North Naples Middle School, and #96 Gulfview Middle School.

Pelican Marsh Elementary scored highest in Lee and Collier County at #73 in state and Osceola came in at #78 Seagate Elementary came in at #88

Good schools are a staple of a healthy community and a talented and educated work force.  SW Florida has excellent schools all the way up to graduate and post graduate at Florida Gulf Coast University as well as degrees from Florida Southwestern State College.

We have a complete list of high schools on our website with links to each school.

It is impossible for SW Florida to grow into a culturally vibrant community without solid education, and we can all be proud of the education offered here in our area.

A link to the complete Niche Florida rankings can be found:

Best Public High Schools in Florida

Best Public Elementary Schools in Florida

Best Public Middle Schools in Florida

You can also search for your dream home at Topagent.com  We have lots of homes close to schools and universities so have fun searching.

 

 

 

Introducing Bella Casa Luxury Condominiums in Fort Myers

SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

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 Resources

Fun Things to do in SW Florida

New Construction For Sale

Fishing and Boating in SW Florida

Lee County Florida Sports

SW Florida Entertainment

 

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