One of the ways we measure health of the real estate market is to measure the real estate total dollar volume of sales.  We get this by multiplying the number of sales by the average sales prices.  The reason this figure is important is because it quickly tells us so much.  We know that Lee County Florida real estate total dollar volume was up again in 2019, beating all the past 5 previous years.

Real Estate Total Dollar Volume Up in Lee County

Real Estate Total Dollar Volume Up

The average sales price was down 1.7% for the year while the median sales price was up 3.0% The reason the real estate total dollar volume is up is because sales climbed 3.4% for the year.  Even though the average price fell, we made up for it by increased sales.

We started to see sales prices rising at the end of 2019, so the 1.7% drop in average price is the average for the entire year.  Inventory fell 16.5% in 2019. Combining lower inventory with lower interest rates, we’ve got a recipe for potential price increases.  It’s a classic supply vs. demand with a little bit of affordability mixed in the formula which equals rising price potential.

Mortgage applications rose this past week as well, which is a sign that consumers are jumping on these low rates.  Many are new purchase applications, and some are refinance applications.  We’re seeing more people in SW Florida considering their options.  They’ve been locked in their homes for quite awhile and they’re wondering if now might be the time to make a move.  They’ve finally gained enough equity, either through paying own their mortgage or rising home values, or both.

The trickiest part is finding the next home to move into while there are low inventory levels.  That’s where we can help.  We’ve helped people find new construction they weren’t aware of, which is sort of like invisible inventory.  The other thing we have is a new App that is making the home search process more fun.

New Consumer Experience App

You’ll be hearing more about this new app very soon.  We believe it will make shopping for real estate fun and be the best consumer experience you’ve seen.  It will reshape the industry.  To do that, it must be a game changer.  This weekend I’m out in Dallas at our national convention where we expect it’ll be released.  If you’d like a VIP invite to check it out, send me an email to Brett@topagent.com with message line Consumer App.  I’m going to make sure News Press readers and our Blog readers get first access to this cool new technology.  The best part is, it works nationwide too, so if you’re visiting here from somewhere else, you can use it for back home too.

2020 will be an interesting year to watch.  Sometimes election years can be funky as consumer confidence is held in the balance, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this year.  Americans seem confident in the direction of the economy.  The job outlook is bright, interest rates are low, and people’s retirement plans are doing well.  The stock market is on fire.  All systems seem to be go.  Trade deals are going our way which sets up well for the economy of the future.

Prices are almost back to where they were in 2005.  The difference is we have end users for our homes.  Back then we had speculation and flippers without end users.  The inventory was built for future demand.  Today we don’t have enough inventory, so it’s a totally different market, and the risks that were present back in 2005 are not here today.

2020 is All About the Consumer

We feel good about the local real estate market and its direction.  We feel good about the consumer experience we’re bringing to the market.  2020 will be an exciting year on many levels, both for the consumer and for agents that disrupt the status quo.  The Ellis Team looks forward to disrupting the status quo.  Email us if you’d like a first access to our new consumer experience.  If you have a home to sell, call Sande or Brett Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

See Last Week’s Article “Lee County Home Prices Almost Back to Record Prices

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Reflection Lakes Fort Myers Market Update

Whiskey Creek Market Update

We’re almost back baby!  We mean this in a good way.  Lee County home prices are almost back to 2005 levels, and this is good news. Some might take this to mean home prices are approaching record territory and it’s time to worry.  We say not in the least, and for several reasons.

Lee County Home Prices Almost Back to Record Prices

In a growing economy, home prices were always going to rise.  The difference is, back in 2005 we had pre-built inventory that exceeded demand.  It was false demand.  You can’t keep selling the same home to flipper to flipper without an end user in mind without future repercussions.  Our market was playing musical chairs.  When the music ran out, we had more homes than end users, and we had a glut.

We would eventually need all those homes, just not right then.  Of course, the downturn came and hit our area hard.  Builders quit building.  Eventually our workforce grew again, and our economy picked up.  Except the home building didn’t, and what seemed like a glut back in 2005 was now the floor.  We needed more construction.

Fast forward to today.  Our economy is fantastic.  We’re looking at some of the best numbers in our nation’s history.  Because we’re now in a global environment, we have global competition.  The U.S. is tearing it up, and we don’t see much inflation.  This allows interest rates to stay low.  In the old days, a heating economy meant rising rates, and that’s just not the case right now.

Lee County Home Prices

We have more room for price gains because it’s really all about the affordability.  People are making more money and borrowing costs haven’t risen.  This makes housing affordable for more people.  And SW Florida is growing, which adds demand for more housing.

Therefore, we’re seeing inventory levels falling and prices rising.  We have end users, which is something we didn’t have back in 2005.  Trade deals favorable to us have been struck with Mexico, Canada, and China.  These deals will greatly help farmers, manufacturing jobs in the US, and more.  The very people it will help may eventually move to places like Florida.

We expect to see the Fort Myers/Cape Coral area and points north like Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte take off.  It may not be sudden, but 10 years from now we’ll look up and marvel at all the new growth we’ve seen.

With that being said, there are still sellers that manage to overprice their home and fail to sell.  Proper pricing and maximum marketing are what sells homes.  You don’t want to under price your home and give equity away to the buyer, and you don’t want to overprice it and watch your neighbors sell while your home sits on the market.

Great Agents Make the Difference

Hiring the best agent is the key.  Hiring the wrong agent can cost you thousands.  It can cost you the sale.  If you’re thinking of selling, please call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-489-4042 ext. 4 for some expert advice.

Buyers, you need expert advice too.  There is a lot to consider.  What is the total cost of ownership?  You’re competing against other buyers, so you need to know what the price and payments will be.  What are the HOA and condo fees?  How much will insurance be?  Are the planned special assessments?

A seasoned agent can help you get all this information.  Buying a home or condo is much more than just looking at pictures and prices.  A lot of study goes into it, and a true professional can speed up that information gathering and analysis for you.  Analyzing information quickly is key here, because low inventory levels are forcing buyers to act faster than years past.  Our team can help you do that.  Buyers can search the MLS like a pro at www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It is updated in real-time, and you can reach us quickly if you need us.  Sellers can get their home value instantly at www.SWFLhomevalues.com  Quality and speed are the keys in 2020, and we can help you with both.

Let us know how we can help you.  Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

See Last Week’s Article “Lee County Real Estate market Finishes 2019 Strong

For the past few months we’ve been saying the 2019 Lee County real estate market stood an excellent chance of surpassing the previous 4 years closed sales numbers.  More recently we predicted it was going to happen because the pending sales were higher going into December and we only needed about 700 or so closings to break the recent records.  Sales came in as expected, and we can now report 2019 was a good year for home sales.

Lee County Real Estate Market Finishes 2019 Strong

We’ve got so much to report now that we have final year sales statistics, so we’ll do so over the next several weeks.  The Board of Realtors saw a 3.39% rise in number of Lee County real estate market homes closed in 2019 over 2018.  December helped as the Board of Realtors sales were down 1.2% year to date going into December.

Ellis Team sales were up 18.82% in 2019 versus the board at 3.39%, so we feel pretty good about our sales numbers too.  This means we took market share from somebody.  We’ll have some major news releases coming up in a few weeks as to changes arriving in the real estate industry, so stay tuned for that.  These changes will significantly impact consumers and how they receive real estate information.

Some agent’s sales numbers are up, and some are down.  This tells us we have a shifting market and some agents are prepared for what’s going on and some are left wondering what is happening.  When we say shifting market, we don’t mean going from good to bad.  In this case the shift is in the way buyers find homes and select their agent.   This shift is going to accelerate in 2020 and we’re going to see big changes coming.

The agent you choose to work with better be on top of their game.  If they don’t understand the changes that have begun, they won’t be prepared for the changes that are coming.  The cycle has started, and we’re seeing a shift in agent’s and brokerage’s numbers.

Some brokerages are laying off staff.  Agents are watching profit vanish as lead generation costs are skyrocketing.  They don’t know what to do or where to turn.  They were told change would come in 2019 but they didn’t believe it, because it hadn’t happened yet, and they’ve heard all this talk before.  Except this time, it was true, and there is more to come.

You would think with rising sales numbers, agents would be happy.  A rising tide lifts all boats.  The tide hasn’t risen for all agents.  In fact, the tide has gone out for many agents and that has created opportunity for agents that are making the change.

The consumer should not worry.  These changes won’t affect the real estate market.  The market itself will still ebb and flow as it always does.  It will affect how consumers receive information, and it will improve the consumer experience.  Consumers will be happy and will be more educated.  They will feel more involved and will have more information available than ever before.  Exciting things are coming that will shake-up the industry and improve the consumer experience.

If you’re a consumer with an interest in real estate and you’re wondering what the heck we’re talking about, send me an email to Brett@topagent.com with subject line Consumer Experience.  In a few weeks I’ll send you information that will change everything.  Imagine travel before Expedia, Orbitz, and Trivago.  Imagine watching movies before Redbox, Netflix and streaming TV.

In each case the way you received information and the experience you gained from it changed your life forever, for the better.  Some people still remember ordering tickets from the airline and waiting for them to arrive in the mail.  Others remember going to the store to pick out a DVD for the night.  Today it happens at the speed of now, and in a format you can see and digest quickly.  The same is about to happen in real estate.  Sure, you can search real estate online now, so you’re probably wondering what we’re talking about.  You’ll have to trust me that soon your real estate experience is about to change.  Until then, www.LeeCountyOnline.com is the best place to search for SW Florida real estate.

See last week’s article “New Home Construction Up 16.9% in December and It’s Not Enough

Good luck and Happy Selling!