November closed home sales were up 6.6% over last November.  As you can see by the graph, home sales have been mostly up since May over last year.  We’ve been reporting excellent pending sales, so this number is no surprise.

November Closed Home Sales

The interesting number for us to watch as we close out 2019 will be the total number of home sales for the year.  Right now, we’re up 1.0% November through November.  If sales come in as expected for December 2019 will top 2018 which was a great year. November Closed home sales were up as have several previous months.

By our calculations we only need 772 closed sales to beat 2018 numbers.  To put this in perspective, we closed 1001 homes in November.  New pending sales were up 15.2% in October and up 28.2% in November.  It’s hard to imagine that we won’t hit those numbers.

This is good news for home sellers.  Pending inventory is up 33.4% and active listings are down 14.2% from last year.  While interest rates are rising, they haven’t risen enough to make a dent in demand.  Last month we saw some price increases we haven’t seen in a while.  Will this be the start of a trend?

Another indicator we look at is total dollar volume.  It was up again in November, up 8.3% over last year.  Total dollar volume is down 1.2% November 2018 through November 2019.  If we have another big month this December, we could overtake 2018 in that category as well.

It’s almost a tale of two markets.  The first 4 months of 2019 featured higher interest rates.  If you remember, the fed hiked rates about 1% in 2018 needlessly.  Rates since came back down, and the economy got hot.  Together these two factors helped propel the real estate market.  Rates are off their lows just a bit but still under 4% which is fantastic.  Combine low rates with a hot economy, and you’ve got a recipe for a hot real estate market.

We already see evidence, and the signs are flashing green.  Sales are up, pending sales are up, and inventory is lower than last year.  Median home prices rose 5.0% in November vs. last years median price.  We don’t like to get too hung up on prices for any given month.  We prefer to focus on trends. Home prices have been steady since 2017.  The median is up slightly since January 2017 and the average is down slightly in that same period.

We are seeing some trends emerge in the way real estate is bought and sold.  Emerging artificial intelligence are providing tools on how best to reach a buyer for a property.  We’ve been testing some of these tools with some encouraging if not amazing results.  We look forward to rolling out some new marketing strategies based upon intelligence we’ve learned.

Artificial intelligence only works when you’ve got big data.  We have access to the biggest data in the real estate industry, and what we’re learning is changing the industry.  Look for 2020 to be a year the real estate industry changes in a big way.  Agents that aren’t using artificial intelligence will be at a disadvantage moving forward, and for sale by owners will have an even tougher time.

Currently for sale by owners have a challenge marketing their home, and because they only reach such a small segment of the market explains why they net less on average that sellers who use an agent.  Listing a home on the big portals isn’t enough, and the big portals aren’t using artificial intelligence because they don’t have the data necessary.  They have data they’ve purchased, and access to MLS feeds, but that isn’t enough.  That’s essentially nothing more than public records and public listing data.  The real insights come from access to consumer data and drawing meaningful conclusions based upon those patterns.  The Ellis Team will share more in the coming months about this and how it will affect home buyers and sellers.

If you’re curious to you home’s value, find out instantly and for Free at www.SWFLhomevalues.com Or call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4.

See last week’s article “Real Estate Inventory Supply Rises Slightly in December

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

SW Florida real estate inventory supply rose slightly since October.  In October the months supply of inventory stood at 4.33 months.  Today the real estate inventory supply registers 4.43 months.  We’ve been reporting that listing inventory has been growing since October, but so has pending and closed sales.  This chart illustrates the relationship between active inventory versus closed sales the last 365 days and its effect on real estate inventory supply.

Real Estate Inventory Supply SW Florida

Sometimes we have a glut of inventory and low sales.  Other times we have low sales because there is little inventory to sell.  The relationship between the two data points tells a story.  The market is constantly moving; therefore, we are constantly studying it.  If you think you have the market all figured out today, you’re an expert for one day.  Studying the numbers is a never-ending process, but it is what’s required to keep clients educated so they can make the best selling and purchasing decisions available.

Looking closer at the numbers reveals in general the lower priced ranges below $300,000 did the best.  Most all these ranges saw even or declining supply relative to sales.  The $600k- $1 Million and the $1 million plus ranges gained the most inventory.  We have three possible theories as to why this occurred.

Higher priced homes generally take longer to sell, so it’s possible there is a lag between the time sellers place their home on market and time it closes.  The other theory could be that buyers have really turned on in the lower ranges due to lower interest rates.  Perhaps buyers in the lower ranges are more interest rate sensitive.  Lastly, it could be that mid-range and higher range buyers are move-up buyers and have recently sold their entry level homes.  They could help push sales higher in the mid ranges in the coming months.

While any of these theories are possible it proves that the market doesn’t always move in tandem.  Certain ranges get hot before others, and certain ranges cool before others.  We’ve even seen certain ranges remain hot and other ranges remain cold for extended periods of time in the past.  While every market is local, there are several sub-markets in any market.

Sometimes it’s unfair to report how the overall market is doing, because it can distort what’s going on at the neighborhood level, or at particular price points.  Have you noticed that certain stocks slump while the overall stock market is on fire?  The same is true in real estate.

The Ellis Team gets called on several listing appointments each month.  Sellers call us because they want an accurate valuation of their property.  They don’t want to under price it and give equity away, and they don’t want to over-price it and have it sit on the market with no offers.  Some sellers have an honest disagreement about what the market is telling them their home is worth, so they choose not to sell, or they list it above market value, and it fails to sell.  It’s natural to think your own home is worth more than other people think it’s worth because you’re emotionally tied to it.  We get it, and as humans we feel the same way about our own stuff.

Therefore, it pays to have someone else you can trust represent you.  A non-biased advisor can be honest with you and educate you about the market and where your home stands relative to the competition.  We enjoy helping people get Top Dollar for their homes through our market knowledge, expert negotiating, and world-class marketing.  We also know pricing it correctly upfront will help get a better price.  And if you place your home on the market and it doesn’t sell, don’t stop marketing.  It may be time to re-position it in the marketplace, but don’t stop the marketing.  You’ll need more marketing juice to inform buyers of the new price.

To learn more about your home’s value, simply call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-40402 Ext 4 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get a Free and instant online value of your home.

See last week’s article “December Real Estate Activity Busier than Usual

Good luck and Happy Holidays from the Ellis Team!

The Ellis Team has been hustling all of 2019, and December is no exception.  The phone is ringing, leads are pouring in, showings are happening, and sales contracts are being written.  December real estate activity seems busier than usual which makes for exciting times for the local SW Florida real estate market.

We’ve seen this before.  Sometimes as agents we get so busy through our marketing and lead generation efforts that we falsely believe the market is strong simply because we’re busy.  I’ve spoken with other agents and some are busy, and some aren’t.  That probably largely depends on their lead generation efforts.  All I can say is there is business out there if you work hard, advertise, and lead generate.

December Real Estate Activity

December Real Estate Activity 7 Day Market Watch
December 2019 7-Day Market Watch

I decided to pull up a 7-day Market Watch report from the MLS.  The last time we did this was back in September.  Comparing this December report to September’s report we notice a few things.  Back in September pending sales outpaced new listings 359 to 299.  In December, new listings outpaced pending sales 377 to 326.  The number I’m focusing on is the pending sales.  In September they were 359 and today they are 326.  That’s not bad when you consider it’s December.  Many agents take the month off because it’s the holidays and they figure there isn’t much business.  The numbers say there’s about as much December real estate activity as there was back in September.

September Real Estate Activity

September 2019 7-Day Market Watch
September 2019 7-Day Market Watch

The other number I’m looking at is the sold.  In September it was 233 for that 7-day period.  In December it is 270.  That’s a big increase.  Keep in mind that the closed sales went pending last month or more, so all this tells us is that November may have been busier than August.

We’ve got a pretty good market here in SW Florida.  You still have to price properties correctly, and they don’t just sell themselves.  There are buyers though, and that’s a good sign.  Buyers are looking right now too.  If you’re a seller, I wouldn’t turn down too many showings.  Any buyer out looking right now could be serious.

Looking forward to 2020

The Ellis Team just had our team retreat last week.  We don’t call it that because retreat sounds like a backwards word.  We call it a Team Advance because we’re moving forward, not retreating.  Anyway, together we came up with our plan for 2020.  Everyone on the team was extremely optimistic about this next year and the opportunities it presents.

We laid out all the new marketing we intend to implement and several new strategies to advance our clients sales.  Every single person on the team did a presentation for the group and it was one of the most powerful days of learning and growth I can remember.  I was super proud of our entire team and how well they prepared and delivered each of their presentations.  A lot of growth happened that day, and as a team we grew in untold ways.

I believe our current and future customers benefited too, because the ideas shared were incredible.  Our team is pumped up and ready to serve and we believe 2020 will be great for not only our team, but our customers as well.

SW Florida Real Estate Market Outlook

We’re in a favorable interest rate environment combined with one of the best job markets we’ve ever seen.  SW Florida made lists for top job opportunities in the country.  Job income is outpacing mortgage payment increases, so that is a terrific sign for future growth in the market.  That’s one of the biggest things we look at.

SW Florida is SW Florida, and our weather is always fantastic.  With the economy moving in the right direction and favorable rates, combined with all Florida has to offer, we believe 2020 should be a prosperous year.

If you have a home to sell, Call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4  If you’re not ready to talk to us yet, we have a website that will give you a pretty good estimate of your home’s value.  Check out www.SWFLhomevalues.com  We don’t sell your data like the big websites do, so it stays with us and is much safer.

See last week’s article “New Real Estate Listings Entering the Market Rises in October

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Lee County Florida saw new real estate listings entering the market rise 3.6% in October.  This is a welcome sign because year to date new listings are down 4.8%.  New listings do not include properties that were taken off the market and quickly re-listed, so it should be an actual representation of new listings entering the market.

New Real Estate Listings Entering the Market Rises in October

Total inventory is down 9.2% from last October, so new real estate listings are a welcome sign.  If we’re going to continue with sales gains, we’re going to need more listings.  This is an excellent time for sellers; however, sellers should be careful.

Other sellers might have the same idea and decide now is the time to sell their home too.  Prices have gone up slightly over this past year, and mortgages are paying down, which opens equity for more sellers.  With interest rates near record lows, more sellers may get the same idea and put their home on the market.

New Real Estate Listings Rise Early This Year

We always see listings rise in January.  This year we saw it in October.  Closed sales were up 10.4%, so we’re not alarmed at all.  In fact, as stated earlier, it’s a welcome sign.  Median sales prices were up 3.6% year over year in October while average sales prices were up 2.3% It’s not uncommon to have more new listings enter the market as prices rise.

We’re beginning to see lots of misinformation again.  This is a result of large data aggregators trying to be the center of the consumer experience.  Unfortunately, when you can’t get the data right, the consumer experience is degraded.  For this reason, we believe a good Realtor who studies the market should always be at the top of your list for information.

We’re going to concentrate in 2020 on providing more data and insights for Lee County homeowners. We’re starting up again our Customer Club.  Ellis Team Customer Club members will receive timely updates about the neighborhood they live in or neighborhoods they’re interested in as well as videos we create about the market.  It is Free and we intend to put the local and accurate back into the consumer experience.

We’ll have a new website you can register to become a Free member soon.  In the meantime, simply send me an email at Brett@topagent.com and put Customer Club in the subject line.

We hope you enjoy reading this article every week.  If you have questions or ideas you’d like covered, please feel free to email me.  Your ideas could be great content for this article, or perhaps a video explaining an answer to your question.

If you have a home to sell and want a fast and free estimate of your home’s value, check out www.swflhomevalues.com  People love the estimate, and many times they’re pretty darn accurate.  Of course, if you’re thinking of selling, we’d love to sit down and discuss your options.  We can provide a more accurate analysis of your home’s value as well as go over the challenges of selling your home in today’s market.  Sometimes it’s price, other times it’s timing.  Still others it’s where would you move to next?  We can help, and together we can answer these questions based upon your needs.

We have lots of other stats we can share, both at the county level and neighborhood level.  This is important data for both buyers and sellers.  Having this data puts you at a distinct advantage over other buyers and sellers.

Feel free to call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 We’ll be happy to answer your questions and see what makes sense for you.

See last week’s article “Total Dollar Sales Volume Rises Again in October

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

One of the ways we investigate the health of the Southwest Florida real estate market is to look at the total dollar sales volume.  The SW Florida real estate market is growing right now as the total dollar sales volume grew by $416 million in October.

Total Dollar Sales Volume Rises in October

Total dollar sales volume is calculated by adding up all the sales in Lee County in a given month. If you have both rising prices and rising number of sales, you’re going to have a positive number.  If you have one rising variable and one going down, you could still have a positive number depending on the calculation.  In this case, both are rising.

In 2019 we’ve had 5 months rising total dollar sales volume and 5 months declining.  The trend has been mostly on the rise since May.  For the year the Lee County Florida YTD total sales volume is down 1.9%.  It was down 9.28% back in May, so we’re making incredible process.  By the year end we could see a net gain in total dollar sales volume over 2018.

We think we will, because while 2018 was an excellent year, the market was hit with sales losses due to rising rates.  If you’ll recall, rates rose about 1% very quickly last year when the Fed abruptly changed its monetary policy.  This hurt the real estate market a bit, and sales fell.  When the Fed changed its tune, buyers listened and reacted in 2019.

In October, pending inventory rose 18% over last year.  We know end of the year sales should be strong. New pending sales rose 15.2% in October.  It’s a good time to have your home on the market right now.  At the Ellis Team, we’re seeing buyers looking to purchase and close by the end of the year.  Some want to establish domicile in Florida this year as they are leaving high tax states.

We’ve written extensive articles on the reasons why people are migrating to Florida.  Suffice it to say, we live in an awesome place with lots of advantages, so it’s no wonder people are choosing to move here.

Buyers are smart though.  They’re looking over their options.  If they’re leaving a high tax state, they don’t want to overpay down here.  They also look at total cost of ownership.  That is the price of home, plus yearly taxes, assessments, CDD’s, HOA and condo dues, and any other mandatory fees associated with the property.

This is where the help of a professional comes in.  Consumers get confused while on these national portal sites because they don’t show all that.  One of the features I love about our site www.LeeCountyOnline.com is that it shows the Total Annual Recurring Fees.  It adds up the various HOA fees and totals the together, even if there is more than one.  Simply add that to the property tax amount and you’ve got a good idea of the total fees.  The only thing we like to verify are any assessments as not all agents put those in MLS.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, now is a good time to talk.  Simply call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and we’ll be happy to talk to you about your options.  Some people like to check out their home value online first to see if it even makes sense.  We’ve got a website for that too.  Go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get an instant idea of your home’s value.

We’re starting our Customer Club back up.  Members of our customer club will receive videos and emails from us about changes in the market.  If you’re interested in what’s going on in the market, you’ll definitely want to sign up for that.  For now, simply send me an email to Brett@Topagent.com Put “Customer Club” in the subject line and we’ll get you on the list.  We’ll publish a website with a form soon to make it easy for people to sign up.

See last week’s article “Top Dollar Agent Interview Questions for Sellers

Always call the Ellis Team with your real estate questions.  We hope you enjoyed turkey day and Black Friday.  We’re here to help you with all your real estate needs.