Ellis Team to Appear on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Regarding Fort Myers Housing Affordability

Ellis Team to Appear on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Regarding Fort Myers Housing Affordability

Brett Ellis of The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group will appear this week on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.  The focus will be on buyer affordability in the Fort Myers and Cape Coral housing market, and how buyers have begun purchasing in 2008 as affordability has come back to the market.  Home sales in July were up 80% over last year, and up 32% in August over last year.

This should be a positive story about the SW Florida real estate market.  The show will air Wednesday October 8, 2008 at 6:30 PM ET

To search for your home, click here to search the entire MLS.

NBC Today Show Interviews Ellis Team in Fort Myers

 

NBC Today Show Interviews Ellis Team in Fort Myers

The Ellis Team was featured on the NBC Today Show regarding the presidential election.  Florida has been identified as a battleground state, and the housing market will play a vital role in how people select the next president.  The Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Lehigh Acres area have been identified as the epicenter of what happened in Florida, and NBC wanted to come here and report on what is happening today.

Click here to watch the viddeo.  The good news is that home sales were up 80% over July 2007 numbers and up 41% over August 2007 numbers, so even though prices are lower, buyers are back in the market scooping up properties because they are affordable.

Foreclosures have been highest in Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres where speculators built many homes in hopes of flipping to other investors or end users, but the speculators overbuilt for the current demand.  Fort Myers has been hit with some foreclosures, but nothing like the Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres area.  For detailed statistics on the SW Florida housing market, visit our housing statistics page.

 

NBC Today Show from Fort Myers Florida real estate market

NBC News called and asked if the Ellis Team could appear on the Today Show Tuesday September 23.  The show will feature Brett Ellis talking about the SW Florida real estate market.  NBC noted that Lee County Florida, particularly Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres has led the nation in foreclosures and is ground zero for the hosuing crisis.  Florida is a battleground state for this year’s presidential election.  The Today Show was in Pennsylvania on Monday and will be live from Tampa and Fort Myers  on Tuesday, specifically from Lehigh Acres.

Also scheduled to appear on the show is  one of the Presidential candidates, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Tampa Bay Star Ronde Barber, and the show will unveil a new NBC News poll focusing on Florida issues.

The Florida segment from Fort Myers should occur in the 7:00-7:30 time slot ET. Brett Ellis is an agent with The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers Florida.

 

The latest Fort Myers Cape Coral SW Florida real estate Current Market Index has been released today and the overall Fort Myers Cape Coral housing index numbers fell to 7.75, from 7.88 the month prior.  Cape Coral again led the way as Cape’s index fell to 6.38 while Fort Myers stands at 13.76.  The lower the number the more favorable it is for sellers, and the higher the number the more favorable for buyers.

Current Market Index for Fort Myers Cape Coral Area

 

Fort Myers Cape Coral SW Florida real estate current market index chart

Lee County listing inventory for single family homes remained steady at 15,530 up a mere 7 homes from last month, and pending sales increased to 1,617, up from 1,546 in August.  The overall Lee County Florida Current Market Index is at 9.60 in September, down from 10.04 in August.  The September condo index stands at 20.21, up from 19.27 in August.

These numbers tell us the overall market is basically holding steady to slightly improving since August, and should bode well for closings in future months.  It also tells us that so far the market has been absorbing the influx of foreclosures and selling them as they are not adding to inventory supply.  This is another positive sign as the local SW Florida real estate market would be in trouble if the foreclosure activity added to inventory supplies.  The large number of foreclosures is however keeping the supply where it is and preventing it from declining.

Foreclosures, short sales, and entry level homes are dominating the Southwest Florida real estate market with most of the sales coming from Cape Coral.  When we look at the Percent of April’s closings under $200,000 chart, we can clearly see that closings under $200,000 dominate the Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, and Lee County real estate markets in general.  If you are priced above $200,000 in Lehigh Acres, you’ve got a slim chance of selling as that is not where the buyers are at in Lehigh.  Over 95% of Lehigh’s closings was at $200,000 or less.

We need not look any further than the Months Supply of Inventory Priced Less Than $200,000 chart.  As you can see, Lehigh Acres has over a 2 year supply of homes on the market right now, while Cape Coral and Lee County overall are less than 1 year.

Another interesting chart is the Percent of Homes Listed as Short Sales graph

Over 52% of homes listed in Lehigh Acres are short sales compared to 38.70 Percent for Lee County overall.  If we examine the shear number of short sales listed in Lee County priced less than $200,000 we can gain a little perspective.  Cape Coral has approximately half of the short sales listed in the entire county, and over half of the sales.  This tells us that when affordability meets opportunity, buyers jump off the fence and purchase.

Lastly, let’s look at the Percent of Homes on the Market is SW Florida Priced Less Than $200,000.  So it looks like Cape Coral is where the action is right now, and Cape Coral is probably closer to recovery than Lehigh Acres is, but you can see how fast a market can turn once transactions start occurring in a market segment.

We are also seeing the market being driven by the low end, but also a bleed-up effect which translates to more sales and more offers now in the $300,000-$500,000 range as well.  We expect May to be another good month for sales numbers once they’re posted at the end of the month.

Entry level homes are driving the demand for single family homes in Lehigh Acres and Cape Coral Florida real estate.  Several lending institutuions asked us to do some analysis on the foreclosure market here in SW Florida, and by far Cape Coral leads the way in the county for transactions.  In fact, it can be said that Cape Coral is the hottest market in Lee County.  Lehigh Acres is much more soft.  We’ve uncovered some interesting facts exploring this data.

Here is a graph of all SW Florida real estate homes on the market.  This data was pulled from the Greater  Fort Myers and the Beaches MLS.  As you can tell, Cape Coral has the most listings on the market, and Lehigh Acres is home to some of the most affordable homes in Lee County.  As you can see from the April 2008 closings graph, 371 of Lee County’s 677 transactions were in Cape Coral.  This means that over half of SW Florida’s closings occured in Cape Coral Florida.  Another startling graph is the SW Florida real estate months supply of inventory graph for homes under $200,000.  As you can tell, Lee County is down to 9.69 months of supply and Cape Coral is even better at only 7.74 months of supply for homes priced under $200,000.

What this is telling us is that buyers are definitely off the fence and buying now, and most of these buyers are end users.  It’s also telling us that they prefer to buy in Cape Coral over Lehigh Acres.  In the Boom market, Lehigh did very well because Cape Coral was priced about $85,000 higher for the same house.  The difference was in the land prices.  Now that price differential has come down to about $15,000, and buyers are saying to themselves, for only $15,000 difference they’ll choose Cape Coral.  For $85,000 difference Lehigh Acres looked affordable and attractive.

This also tells us that either prices will go up in Cape Coral, or prices must come down further in Lehigh Acres, or a combination of both until we hit equilibrium.

Feel free to check our SW Florida real estate housing statistics webpage for lots of other charts and graphs.

This article is the first in a series utilizing this new data, so check back often for more updates to the entry level home pricing market in SW Florida, or subscribe to receive e-mail updates to this Blog.

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group is hosting another free SW Florida real estate short sale seminar on Monday, November 26, 2007 at 7 PM  We will teach buyers how to effectively purchase properties in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and all of Southwest Florida at or below fair market value.

Registration is FREE, and you must call our office at 239-489-4042 as seating is limited.

SW Florida real estate market numbers released today by the Florida Association of Realtors show a continuing decline in the real estate market, which comes as no surprise as we posted our Ellis Team CMI Index numbers back on October 16 that suggested this would be the case.

Single family home sales fell to 327 in September, down from 520 in August, and 693 last September.  Single family home prices fell to $231,600 this September, and was down 7.7 percent from August’s $250,800 and down 11% from last September’s $261,400.

Single family home sales were the good news.  Condo sales fared worse, also predictable due to the CMI Index numbers released a few weeks ago.  Condo sales were 102 this September 2007, up from 96 in August, but down from 168 last year.  Prices for condos were up to $224,000, up from $218,800 in August, and down from $231,600.  The bad news for condos isn’t the prices or sales levels, it is the sales levels as compared to the level of inventory on the market.

Even with the poor numbers, they can partially be explained by seasonality, and partially by overall weakness.  See SW Florida single family home sales graph 2005-2007. To view sales prices , see SW Florida single family home price graph 2005-2007.

The Outlook going forward actually is brighter than the numbers indicate.  For the first time in a long while buyers are getting excited again, and are venturing out looking at homes.  For some, it is simply becuase home prices are back in their affordability range.  For others, it’s the sense that now may be the time to buy as prices have come down so much, and they’re feeling confident again going forward.

 

SW Florida Building Permits Slowed From Record Levels in 2005. Permit activity in the SW Florida real estate market was off compared to record 2005 levels. Builders are less likely to pull permits for speculation construction with the amount of resale inventory on the market, and investors looking to flip for a quick buck have dried up.  That leaves builders with the normal buyer contracts, and even that has slowed from 2005 levels.

In 2005 buyers bought new construction at record levels for a few reasons.  First, because there was a severe shortage of homes on the market, and new construction was Plan B and served as backup inventory.  Secondly, investors liked buying at pre-construction prices, and the building process gave them time to find a buyer for that home so they could make a nice profit without hopefully ever having to own the home.  Investors serve as financiers so to speak and helped speed up supply.

Demand from end users never changed very much.  We had artificial demand which the investors created, which made the market appear much better than it really was.  While we had artificial demand, we now have Real Supply.  When you mix Real supply with Normal demand, you have a Buyers Market.

Buyers are in the driver’s seat, no question.  The only question is the speed at which they are driving, and how long it will last.  We are starting to see signs of increased buyer activity.  This is welcomed news for many.  Many buyers were sitting on the sideline waiting for somebody to give the “All Clear, it’s OK to buy now signal.”

Many buyers have heard the signal and are stepping back in.  The market may not be All Clear in all segments; however we are seeing very nice activity in certain segments.

Mixed Messages:  Many buyers think when they hear the words “Buyer’s Market” that they own the road.  Buyers still need to be aware that many properties are pried very well.  Those sellers are successful at selling in this market.  It’s not like we don’t have any buyers, we certainly do.  We have normal buyer activity just like we’ve always had.  Because the best properties always sell, buyers are not in competition with the seller for those properties.  Buyers are in competition with other buyers who will scoop up the property and steal it from them.

So, if you’re a buyer and see a property you like and is priced well, don’t sit too long.  The best values are selling, and you’ll be on your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th choice before you know it.  The only good news is that if you can live with your 2nd -4th choice, they are there for you this year.  Last year you didn’t have a 4th choice.

Single family home sales in the Fort Myers Cape Coral real estate market dropped 36% from 2005 levels in September, down from 1,075 sales last year to 693 sales this year. SW Florida Real Estate Market Report shows median prices dropped 9% since last year from $288,700 down to $261,400

Sales actually increased since August 2006 from 691 to 693 sales.  Prices remained relatively steady since August 2006.  September prices came in at $261,400, down from $264,100 in August.

Single family home sales and prices in Lee County seem to have leveled off, and this could be a silver lining.  Many national experts predicted sales prices would fall in SW Florida about 18% from it’s all-time high.  We’ve already seen a 15-20% price drop, so then end may be near.  Inventory is still rising, and pending sales have dropped slightly, not encouraging news.

What is encouraging is the rate of homes coming on the market is dropping, and the decrease in pending activity is dropping as well, signaling a leveling off may occur sometime in the future.  Showings have also actually increased, which could lead to an increase in pending sales down the road.

Additionally, pending sales are picking up in other parts of the country, which may affect home buyers looking to purchase here.  We still have a lot of inventory, but there are some really great buys out there now awaiting home buyers, and we think now is the time for buyers to pounce.  We won’t know exactly when the market has hit bottom and starts to go back up.  What we can say is that there are definite signs a leveling off maybe close at hand.  Until that leveling off actually occurs and we start eating into existing inventory levels, we can’t officially say we’re at the bottom.  Stay tuned.

Condo sales in Lee County were off 52% from 126 sales in September 2005 to 61 in 2006.  Sales prices of condos in Lee County were down 3% from $314,800 in September 2005 to $305,600 in 2006

Collier County single family home sales were down 37% from 377 in September 2005 to 236 in September 2006.  Sale prices were down 8% from $487,500 last year to $446,900.  Naples condo sales were down 62% from 456 condo sales last year to 173 this year.  Sale prices were actually up 4% from $365,700 last year to $378,600

We think this is partly the reason sales in Naples are down because sellers haven’t reacted as quickly to changing prices as sellers have in Lee County.  We believe sales are much closer to leveling off in Lee County than they are in Collier County because of this fact.  Affordability and price are a much larger issue in today’s market.  It’s total cost of ownership, not just the price.  As homeowners insurance goes up, property taxes goes up, interest rates, gas, etc it eventually weighs down on buyers.  There is too much price disparity right now between Naples and Fort Myers.  Soon you will see another rush of buyers purchasing in Lee County because Collier County is just so expensive.

Naples is a beautiful place to live, as is Fort Myers,  The address won’t matter as much going forward as price will.  Collier County is poised to lose buyers to Lee County, just as Lee County will lose some buyers to Charlotte County for the same reasons.  Housing affordability.