Southwest Florida December home sales were down 5.5% from last year and pending inventory fell 8.4% from last year, a worrisome sign to agents heading into 2017.
December 2016 may be an abnormal year as we just came off the most contentious election cycle I can remember. January sales normally don’t start heating up until the 2nd half of the month. Already we’ve seen strong buyer activity which may be a sign that consumers are now moving forward after a lull in 2016. Potentially we have a lot of pent-up demand. Consumer confidence seems to have increased post-election.
Single family home prices increased 8.7% over December 2015. Many of these sales would have been in place before the election, so that is a positive sign. Listing inventory declined slightly from November although it is up 11.4% from December 2015.
We’ll be keeping our eyes on inventory levels moving forward into 2017 as well as pending and closed sales. One month does not make a trend. So far we’re still seeing mixed signals but all indicators were pre-election.
The other thing we’ll watch in 2017 is interest rates and job creation. Interest rates rose in 4th qtr of 2016 and the Fed has signaled more in 2017. They predict 3 more Fed increases. It’s impossible to know how the overall market would respond to that as the Fed doesn’t control bond prices or mortgage rates directly.
We hear great news on the manufacturing front. Jobs returning to the US would be a boom for real estate. Quietly we’re losing other jobs, like retail brick and mortar stores. Macy’s, Sears, Kmart and others are closing stores as sales are off at malls and retail stores. It may very well be that sales are not off, just a reformation of how people are shopping. We believe more people are shopping online and less at malls, but that’s just our guess.
Real estate consumers are also researching and shopping online. Last month our websites earned over 7,000 user sessions by over 3,700 unique users researching our market and searching for property. This doesn’t include our social media sites.
Remembering back to life before the Internet, we never had 3,700 people coming through our team’s doors each month. Sure, we had more than most as we have always been large advertisers, but no team had that many.
Online shopping has really opened how consumers access information. To capture these buyers agents must have a website that serves timely and useful information, and presents it in such a way that is mobile and consumer friendly.
38.76% of our property search traffic is mobile and another 16.03% is tablet. Combined that equals 54.79%. More than half our traffic is mobile, which means less than half are searching on desktop. Therefore having a team ready and able to respond to leads quickly is critical. Statistics show buyers work with the first agent they talk to and build a trust with. Communicating with a lead within first 5 minutes is key. Agents are busy and can’t always call a lead immediately, but when they can conversions go up.
Buyers want to buy from somebody. They just want to work with someone who can answer their questions and solve their problems. Faster response times just increases your chances.
Buyers, if you’re looking to purchase or curious about the market, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com It has everything you need and database is updated every 5 minutes. Hard to believe, but it’s true. I’ve tested it.
Sellers, if you’re looking to sell, hiring an agent that will proactively market your listing and reach today’s online buyers is critical. In addition, they must have a team in place to service these leads quickly. Without these tools and the agents to work the leads, your home is just sitting on the market waiting for someone to possibly find it. We don’t wait! We market!
Agents, if your sales are coming up short because you don’t have the leads, maybe we should talk!
Always call the Ellis Team! 239-489-4042 We can sell your home!
Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update January 2017
We’ll have an updated Seller’s Club coming out in next few days. Until then, here is December’s Report. Please contact us if you’d like to have this report emailed to you each month.
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