From time to time we like to take a snapshot in time and evaluate what’s going on in the local real estate market.  It’s been awhile since we’ve posted our Lee County 7-day real estate market watch, so we decided it’s time.

Lee County 7 Day Real Estate market Watch 9-21-19

As you can see from the chart,  the Lee County 7 day real estate market watch shows pending sales outpaced new listings 359 to 299.  If you add back in the 82 back on market listings, you’ll notice that inventory slightly outpaced pending sales.  It’s fairly normal to have fallout on pending sales for various reasons.

Buyers have inspections and sometimes try to use that as an additional negotiation point which results in contract fallout.  Sometimes a buyer’s financing falls through, or occasionally a property might not appraise.  Any number of things can cause contract fallout.

The other thing we noticed this 7-day period is the price decreases.  There were 305.  This tells us 305 sellers overpriced their home.  The sellers are still motivated to sell and they’re doing what it takes to find the market for their home.

We’ve got a pretty good market right now, and you don’t want to miss it.  Don’t worry, plenty of sellers will miss this market.  We see homes fail to sell in all kinds of markets.  Remembering back to 2005 there were tons of sellers that didn’t sell because they thought the market would keep going higher and their investment was their lottery ticket.

The thing is, lottery tickets expire.  They don’t last forever.  Real estate markets don’t stay the same forever either, both on the upside and the downside.  We’ve got a pretty good market going, and we haven’t seen a lot of appreciation in Lee County the past several years, so they’re no reason to believe our market is in jeopardy, unlike 2005.  The key term here is sustainability, and we have that barring any wild cards.

You’ve heard the term perfect storm before.  Usually this refers to a market that’s over valued and one or more events triggers a fall.  What we have today might be a perfect opportunity.  There is no storm.  We’ve had a boring market locally the last few years.  We didn’t participate in any great upside, and if there was a downside, we might not see as much of that compared to other areas because of this fact.

Low interest rates are creating the opportunity for a seller to sell and re-invest in another home at low rates.  Today rates are around 3.25%  A seller could hold out for home prices to go up another 5-10%, but at what cost?  Chances are the home they’re moving to will also go up 5-10%.  If that weren’t enough, chances are the mortgage rate will go up too.

A 1% rise in rates could cost a borrower tens of thousands of dollars in interest.  It also costs a borrower buying power as they qualify for less.  If you’re a seller and have been eyeing a move, now might be the time to talk about your options.

We’ve got some good lenders that can sit down with you and go over your options.  The Ellis Team can evaluate your property and tell you what it should sell for today.  We can even calculate how much you’d net out at the closing table after all expenses, so you know how much you’d be working with for the new home.

Times like this are exciting, and they only come around once or twice in your lifetime.  Can you remember when mortgage rates were 3.25%?  When I first got in the business in 1988 interest rates were about 11-12%  I bought my first home in 1989 with a 10.5% rate and thought that was great.

We may never see 3.25% again.  We don’t know how long this will last.  All we can do is help as many as possible while we can.  If you’re thinking of selling, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4

Of course, we can help you purchase too.  Visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to find out what your home is worth.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

See last week’s article Prospective Home Buyers Have Difficulty Finding Right Home

A recent survey from the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) shows that 55% of prospective home buyers have difficulty finding the right home.  That same survey says that 84% aren’t willing to give up their search.

62% will continue looking for the right home in their preferred location.  36% agreed to expand their search area.  21% are prepared to accept a smaller or older home than they originally sought out.  16% are willing to increase their price range to get the home they want because they have the means.  Another 16% say they’re putting off their search until next year.

Low interest rates are increasing demand from prospective home buyers and should allow for price increases because now typical buyers qualify for more home than they did last Fall.  Locally we’re seeing multiple offers on some properties.  Pending sales are increasing, but so has the inventory slightly.  If these low rates continue, we could see inventory levels fall as buyers scoop up more homes.

Speed is key to scoring a home in this environment.  Buyers need an agent that knows the market and can respond quickly.  You can’t have an agent that takes the month off and expect to score a home when homes are selling quickly.

Information is key as well.  Our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com gives buyers an advantage too because it has all the listings, and it’s updated every few minutes.  Surprisingly, many of the big websites don’t have all the listings, or the data is outdated.  It’s hard to win a sprint when you’re giving your opponent a 25-yard start.  The same is true in real estate.  It’s hard to beat out other buyers to hot new listings if you’re getting information a few days late.

It’s not just the new listings either.  Price reductions are important.  I can’t tell you how many times a home goes under contract within a day or two of a price reduction.  A price reduction essentially makes it a new listing on the market.  It was off the radar for buyers when it was over-priced.  As soon as it gets into range, it shows up on their radar.  Essentially, it’s newfound inventory to the buyer they didn’t know existed.

Prospective Home Buyers Neighborhood Market Report
Prospective home buyers have difficulty finding right home. Use our neighborhood reports

Our website also has market reports, so you not only see active and pending homes, you can also see sold properties complete with inside photos.  Now you have an excellent way of comparing homes without having to be a Realtor.

In fact, we have a lot of real estate agents registered on our website because they don’t want to pay for MLS.  If you’re an agent, please don’t do this.  You should join the Board and pay for MLS like the rest of us.  It’s also not fair to Ellis Team agents who are working hard calling leads trying to get them the best home they can afford.

Our agents are full-time and they’re serious.  We’re not here to sell anybody anything.  We’re here to uncover your needs and help you find it in the most efficient way possible.  If you’re not ready to purchase yet and just looking, that’s OK too.  We’re not here to bug people.  We may stay in touch from time to time to see if anything has changed.  We see our job as to help you when you’re ready.  We’re here when you need us, and we don’t want to bug you too much when you don’t.

Interest rates are down around 3.3%.  With rates this low, buyers are deciding now may be the time.  Call an Ellis Team agent and we’ll be happy to sit down with you and go over your options.  We have some excellent lenders we work with.

If you’re looking to sell, call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4  We’ll show you how to sell your home quickly and walk you through all the steps.  We can even find you your next home too.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!  Don’t forget to use our site or call us.  You’ll be glad you did.

See last week’s article Lee County Closed Home Sales up 8.2%

Lee County closed home sales were up 8.2% in July over last year signaling buyers are taking advantage of historically low rates while they can.  Prior to May the Lee County housing market had been trending under 2018 levels.  We officially broke out of that in May and haven’t looked back since.

Lee County July Closed Home Sales up 8.2%
Lee County Closed Home Sales up 8.2%

Last year Fall rates shot up about 1%.  That can and will happen again someday.  When they shot up, it limited price gains, and it dampened home sales because affordability was an issue when rates rose.

Buyers felt it instantly.  Sellers didn’t feel the pinch until they saw there were fewer buyers for their home.  More sellers placed their home on the market, and inventory began to build.  For sellers, rising rates is a lagging indicator because it takes them a few months to feel the pain the buyer feels today.

Fast forward to today.  Home prices have begun rising again, if only slightly.  Successful homes closed have risen, and new pending sales were up 4.5%.  New listings fell by 5.7% with the latest numbers.  It’s only a matter of time before the active inventory levels fall.  Currently they’re still 1.8% higher than last year, but if these trends continue, we expect those numbers to fall.

What we don’t know is how many new sellers will decide to enter the market given recent strength.  Market forces shape the entirety of the local real estate market.  It’s not as simple as supply and demand.  This is because supply and demand is the end result.  What influences supply and demand ultimately influences the market and that is what we attempt to flush out for you each week.

If you want to know where the market is headed, you must first know where it’s been, where it is now, and what is influencing it.  It sort of reminds me of Hurricane Dorian.

For days experts told us where they thought it was going. It was being influenced by high pressures in multiple locations, upcoming troughs and ridges, all of which were the steering currents.  Hurricanes don’t steer themselves.  They are just bundles of energy doing what they do.  External forces steer them.

Steering currents are like supply and demand.  Everyone knows that’s what drives the hurricane, or the market.  But knowing what drives the currents is critical to knowing where things are going.  Luckily, the computer models did a pretty darn good job with the storm.  They told us it would stall out and sit there until other forces decided to move it out.

Real estate markets sometimes stall out until a new force enters the market and drives the thing.  Right now, our market is being driven by low rates and tax advantages.  Underlying currents are global trade, foreign currencies vs the dollar, jobs, the economy, the availability of money, and a handful of other factors.

We don’t control these external forces.  All we control is how we react to them.  People are reacting by making purchases because it saves them money.  Consumers sense a real opportunity now; one they don’t want to miss.  Savings on a 30-year loan add up.

We’ve got some great lenders that can help you take advantage of these low rates.  We just had a buyer get a 3.3% fixed 30-year loan.  Some buyers need help, and we have lenders that can help with that too.  Give our team a call and we can put you in touch with a lender.  If you need help with your credit, they can tell you what you need to do to qualify.  Many buyers are surprised that they qualify now.  Others just have a little bit of work to do and will qualify in a month or two once they take an action step.

Call our office at 239-489-4042 and speak to one of our buyer specialists or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com   If you’re thinking of selling, ask for Brett or Sande at Ext 4 or visit www.swflhomevalues.com .  We may be able to make your dream a reality, and at low, low rates.

See last week’s article Lee County July 2019 Real Estate Prices Rise Slightly

Finally, Lee County 2019 real estate prices rise slightly.  For the past two and a half years, prices haven’t moved much, and they still haven’t.  However, we did see a small break-out to the positive side in July.  This could be due to lower interest rates and lower Florida taxes compared to high tax states up North.

Lee County July 2019 Real Estate Prices Rise Slightly

Real Estate Prices Rise Slightly

Median home prices were up 2.0% over last year and average home prices were up .8%.  This may not sound like much.  Because we have a balanced market, we’re looking more at the direction than the rate of change.

Inventory is up slightly over last year, but that is offset by the fact that the number of home sales closed was up 8.2% in July.

Agents are still feeling the pinch because the total dollar volume of sales in Lee County year to date is off about 5%.  However, total dollar volume was up 9.1% in July, so we’re closing the gap.  We’ll keep an eye out and see how inventory numbers, closed sales, and prices fare in the coming months.

New pending sales were up 4.5% in July, so there is reason to believe sales in the future could increase as well.  It’s hard to have a closing without a pending first, although you can have a pending and not eventually close.

The Ellis Team is getting renewed interest from buyers all over the country. It’s not just the high tax states, although many are.  People who have been on the fence about when the best time to move may be swayed by these low rates.

How long will this last?  There’s no reason to believe this can’t go on for a while unless something funky happens with the economy.  SW Florida really didn’t participate in the upswing of the past few years, so we may not have any downswing to contend with if things change.  With interest rates this low, it could fuel home sales further nationwide, and certainly in SW Florida.

Inventory Falling?

We could begin to see inventory shrink if this keeps up.  Unless there is pent-up inventory from home sellers, these low rates could fuel price gains, especially in SW Florida.

Of course, there are the wild cards.  You know, the China trade war, fuel prices, conflict with Iran, North Korea, etc.  Right now, the economy is doing well.  Getting trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, and Japan is huge.  The only thing bigger would be a deal with China, then it could be off to the races.

Where is the best place to shop for homes on the Internet?  Definitely www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It has all the homes, and the data is updated every few minutes.  There is access to pending and sold data too, and it’s all current.  There is nothing more frustrating than inquiring on a home that sold years ago.  Well, maybe missing out on a great deal because it wasn’t there.  With our website, it will be there, and you don’t need to miss out.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking of selling, head over to www.SWFLhomevalues.com You can get an instant value on your home, and if you’re really interested in getting Top Dollar, call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.

Some sellers wait until season to sell, but that could be a mistake.  In season, a bunch of other sellers also come out to test the market, so you have lots more competition.  And, we don’t know how long these ultra-low rates will last.

Sure, rates may stay low into 2020, but they may not stay this low.  If rates rise 1%, and they will one day, it will cost you 11% more to purchase your home.  Waiting can cost you thousands. And, it’s always more fun to sell when real estate prices rise.

The Ellis Team is here to help.  If you have questions, we have agents here to answer them for you.  Our website is the best if you just want to shop around and research the market.  Our agents are best if you’re serious and would like some guidance about the best way to approach the process.

Good luck, and hope you had a happy Labor Day weekend!  Thank you Hurricane Dorian for not raining on our parade!