People are talking and wondering what effect the Coronavirus will have if it comes to the US.  We should prepare for and expect that it will as it is spreading across the globe, and we are not immune no matter how hard we try.  Today we’d like to focus on a potential Coronavirus impact on real estate.

Let’s talk about what we know first.  From a health standpoint, the death rate appears to be about 2%.  Most people experience cold and flu like symptoms which might persist a bit longer than a cold.  The flu death rate was about .1%.  In 2018 61,200 people died from the flu, while about 42.9 million people were infected.

While Coronavirus appears to be very serious, it’s not something to freak out about.  We can try to slow it down, but if it reaches pandemic status it will come. The young and the old are most at risk, like many illnesses.

What Will be CoronaVirus Impact on Real Estate Nationwide?

If it comes, what will be Coronavirus impact on real estate?  Several things could happen.  First, the economy will slow down.  The virus is already affecting business worldwide.  We are seeing oil prices drop, in addition to interest rates.  A slowing economy lowers the demand for oil.

Coronavirus Impact on Real Estate

Home buyers can take advantage of lower rates.  Yesterday at our meeting a lender was quoting under 3.5% conventional and under 3% for government backed loans.  It’s a good day to be a buyer right now, and if you’re in the market, you should act now.

Rates are 1% lower than they were this time last year.  This adds 11% purchasing power to a buyer.  In January the median home price was up 2.1% over last year while the average was up 13.8% At the median level, buyers just gained about 8-9% purchasing power on interest rates alone, which adds fuel to the market.

The Coronavirus could impact travel plans for international visitors and Americans alike.  Tourism could drop and vacation rentals could be hit from foreigners.  However, we could see a boom from Americans who may become afraid to travel abroad and decide to stay in the US.  We could see people decide not to take cruises and vacation in Florida instead.

Florida May Fare Better Than Others

While airline and cruise stocks may be hit hard, the impact on Florida may not be as severe as people can drive here.  Luxury markets could be hit as we may have less foreign buyers here this year due to the virus.  California comes to mind as Chinese buyers are not traveling and spending money here right now.  Right now the virus is spreading across Europe, so expect to see more US luxury markets affected going forward.

Amazon has admitted it expect lower sales on its big sales day coming up.  A lot of product will not come from China, so global sales will suffer.  Short-term we could see an economic pull-back.  Some people could lose their job over the virus.  The only silver lining to all this was it’s happening at a time our economy was doing well, so at least it didn’t happen in a downturn.

While the economy could suffer a bit if we have a full-blown outbreak, there will be opportunity due to lower rates.  From a human standpoint we hope they contain this thing and get it under control soon.  The cat might already be out of the bag.  If it is, we’ll deal with it as best we can.  It may become a big inconvenience.  Meetings may get cancelled.  Schools and major events might have some choices to make.

Buyers and sellers have choices too.  Our suggestion would be, if a move is something you’re considering, do it now.  Rates are in your favor.

Best Way to Search For Properties On The Go

If you’d like the best search option available, check out www.mobilesearchapp.com It’s simply the best mobile search app on the planet.  It allows you to search at the neighborhood level anywhere in the US.  This is a great way to beat the crowds and see what’s available.

If you have questions feel free to call us 239-489-4042 Ext 4 Ask for Sande or Brett

Good luck, and wash those hands every chance you get!

See last week’s article “Interest Rates and Housing Inventory Levels Shape Direction of Market

Check Out Lee County’s Best Real Estate Values

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Two things we study closely are interest rates and housing inventory levels.  These two indicators help us get a sense of the forward motion of the local real estate market.  Currently, interest rates are around 3.5% which is even lower than the chart.

Interest Rates and Housing Inventory

Housing affordability numbers show the US market at 16 in 2019, which is less than 17 we had in 2018.  In other words, consumers could afford more home in 2019 than 2018.  Housing affordability is a function of price of home combined with how much it costs to finance it, and incomes.

Home prices were up 4.8% nationally in 2019.  Wages were up, and rates were down.  After calculating these 3 factors, it turns out we could afford more home in 2019 than previous year.  This also means we have opportunity in 2020.

Buyers are having a difficult time right now.  Not because rates are low, or credit is hard to get.  On the contrary, credit standards are OK right now and rates are indeed low.  The issue is inventory levels are low.  Nationally we’re down to a 3.9 months’ supply of inventory, which is historically low.

If we revert to the top of the article, the two things we’re monitoring now are interest rates and housing inventory levels.  Both are down, which is putting pressure on buyers.  Our team is working with several buyers right now, and it feels like a race to find the best listings first.  Many times, there are several buyers interested and sellers are receiving multiple offers.

Every home isn’t receiving multiple offers, it just feels that way when you’re working with buyers.  A good agent working with a buyer searches for the best homes that meet their client’s needs.  The best homes are typically the next home to go, because they offer value for the size, location, and amenities that home offers.  It’s no coincidence that several agents zero in on the same few homes, because that home is clearly the best value, and one of the next homes to sell.

Buyers do the same thing online.  They search for the best home and best value for them.  Sellers often look at the competition, but they often do so through rose colored glasses.  Sellers tend to value their home more favorably than buyers because they live in it and it’s their home.  It’s like watching your child perform at the school talent contest.  You see more talent in your child than anyone else, and you’re proud of them.  It’s difficult for a seller to step back and take an impartial look at their home like a buyer would.

Ellis Team Nationwide MLS Search App
Ellis Team nationwide MLS search app

Thankfully we’ve got an app for both buyers and sellers that should help you.  It’s the first nationwide MLS search for both buyers and sellers, and it includes some features no other site offers.  You can download the app at www.swfloridaopenhouse.com  Next week we’ll present more things you can do with this app.  We’d appreciate your feedback as well.  It’s something we’ve been working on for a few years and we think it’s a major improvement over anything else out there.  If it asks for a Realtor choose Brett Ellis. We’ll let you be the judge, and we welcome your feedback.  Email me at Brett@topagent.com and let me know how you like it, and if there’s anything we can improve.

For the first time you’ll be able to search at the neighborhood level, not just the zip code level.  There’s a handy guide that guides you through the process, and a dynamic map where you can choose exactly what streets you want to look at.

You can always call us at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  If you’re thinking of selling your home, ask for Brett or Sande Ellis.  We also have buyer specialists ready to serve you.

Good luck and enjoy the new App!

See Last Week’s Article “Real Estate Total Dollar Volume Up in Lee County in 2019

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!

New economic data just released shows US new home construction up 16.9% in December, and it’s not enough to balance a backlog of demand.  A separate report shows that from 2012 to 2019 builders built 5.9 million new single-family homes.  In that same time frame, 9.8 million new households were formed in the US.  That is a shortage of 3.9 million homes.

New Home Construction Up 16.9% in December and It’s Not Enough

In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis we saw households forming and little to no new inventory being built because of the credit crisis.  Sure, one of the reasons we had the crisis in the first place was because flippers built homes without end users in mind, so we had perhaps an over-supply.  They were just flipping to another flipper. That crisis lasted several years with little home building.

New Home Construction Up 16.9% in December

Since then builders have been cautious about building anything on spec.  Fast forward to today.  We have a booming economy, low interest rates, and households still forming.  In other words, nationally we have a shortage that needs to be made up.

States like Florida are seeing an influx of buyers moving here because of our tax structure.  Let’s face it, Florida is attractive on several levels, not the least of which is great weather and sunshine.  What’s new are the tax advantages.  While Florida has always enjoyed tax advantages due to no state income tax, new tax laws have brought to light just how out of balance some states are.

For instance, high tax states like New York, New Jersey, California, and Connecticut are bleeding residents, and tax revenue as they leave.  They are leaving in droves to lower tax states like Florida and Texas.  One report suggests lower tax states gained $32 Billion in adjusted gross income.  The booming economy has helped states collect about 6% more revenue overall, but states with lower taxes are doing better than the ones with higher taxes.

In the south, construction was only up 9.3% versus much higher in other regions.  This tells us Florida has more need for building construction, and this could be putting upward pressure on home prices.  Of course, higher prices do not work unless you have rising incomes to support it, and a booming economy.

Despite political turmoil, financial markets seem to shrug off impeachment hearings as not serious.  If impeachment allegations were serious, the markets would not be stable like they are today, and the financial markets and housing markets would swing into chaos.  The markets are betting all signs are pointing to status quo and no real changes coming to Washington.

Interest rates remain low, and oil prices have been steady despite regional tensions.  With an influx of new residents to Florida, we see a need for new construction in Florida.  Many homeowners in SW Florida would sell their home if they had a place to move to that meets their needs.

The Ellis Team has noticed an uptick in buyer inquiries into new construction opportunities.  Some buyers only want to look at new construction.  Many others don’t want to wait and focus on resales, while others look at both because they are flexible and searching for the best opportunity.

It’s important to work with a Realtor when buying new construction.  The commission is built-in, so you don’t save it if you buy on your own.  You also don’t get the expertise of an experienced Realtor who can guide you on options, locations, and designs that will maximize resale value when you go to sell.  Making good decisions upfront can save you thousands later.

Lastly, builders won’t always tell you about incentives.  For them you are just one sale.  A good Realtor can bring them many sales, so they hear about the incentives offered. Just this past month alone our team has helped several buyers save thousands and helped them make great decisions that will help them years down the road when selling their home.

If you have a home to sell, Always Call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  If you’re looking to buy, our team of buyer specialists can guide you, whether it’s a new home or resale.  Visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to see all the homes on the market in real-time.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

See Last Week’s Article “Ellis Team Luxury Division of Fine Homes and Estates

We are proud to announce the formal opening of the Ellis Team luxury division of fine homes and estates.  While we’ve had a separate luxury division in the past, recently we’ve marketed luxury homes under the Ellis Team brand to great success.  We’ve been able to do this because our vast local marketing and our online presence which also has a global reach.

Ellis Team Luxury Division of Fine Homes and Estates

We’ve sold luxury homes without focusing on it.  What if we thought bigger?  What if we were intentional about it?  We work with a company that sells billions of dollars each year by its luxury agents and we haven’t tapped into that power, until now.  In fact, KW luxury agents sell $71 Million dollars of real estate each day.  That’s a lot of real estate, and that’s only 2,400 luxury agents worldwide producing that volume.

You must qualify to become a Keller Williams luxury agent by having multiple home sales in the top 5% of your market area.  We’ve been approached over the years to join this powerful group.  Sande and I both qualified, so we decided to investigate it further.  Our business has been growing steadily and we’ve been selling luxury listings through our own efforts.

Upon further investigation it became clear there were additional benefits we could offer our clients.  Luxury agents refer clients to other luxury agents.  By joining KW Luxury International, we now have access to the top agents in the world.  When they refer their high-end clients, they want to know they’re working with an agent on the other end that has experience and can handle high-end clientele. We are part of an online community that talks everyday about luxury issues.

If you’re going to market luxury property, it’s best to market globally.  We now have access to list luxury homes in the international MLS, so agents across the world will now see our luxury listings.

Additionally, we partnered with some of the premiere publications throughout the world.  Ellis Team luxury listings will now appear in these publications that reach affluent buyers.  Our listings are translated into 28 languages and appear in more than 80 countries.  The average income and net worth of these readers is astounding.  We’ll be happy to sit down with you and show you where your home would appear and what that could do for you.

We now have two separate brands online to market from.  This does not mean we are abandoning our traditional sales.  We’ve been growing as a team and we look forward to selling more properties this year than ever.  We are expanding our luxury reach by creating this separate division.

These two divisions work well together because some luxury buyers open businesses here locally and employ local workers.  This helps us all.  Other luxury buyers purchase 2nd or 3rd homes for vacation, which helps our tax base without adding to services required by the county.

You may not see all our luxury listings in all of our local ads, just as not all of our local listings qualify for the international ad campaigns.  Many of these publications set minimum price standards to appear in their publications.

The luxury division helps our traditional sales as it exposes us to more affluent buyers worldwide.  Many of these buyers purchase upscale luxury listings.  Some prefer value and purchase here in SW Florida because of that value.  The additional exposure to this clientele opens up SW Florida to more sales opportunities, both in the upscale market and the traditional market.  There is no better way to reach luxury buyers than the partnership we just formed with KW Luxury International.

If you have a home to sell, please call or email Brett or Sande Ellis directly.  We can expose your home to more buyers than other agents and get you Top Dollar for your home.  Please call 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Ask for Sande or Brett, or email us at Sande@topagent.com or Brett@topagent.com, and we’ll see you at the top!

See last week’s article “Ellis Team sales Smash Records Again in 2019”

Feel free to search luxury listings at our SW Florida Real Estate search site.

Find out what your luxury home is worth instantly

Ellis Team sales smash records again in 2019. Our marketing is working.  In 2018 Board of Realtors sales were down 8.5% for the year.  In 2018 Ellis Team sales were up 53.73%.  2019 official numbers aren’t out yet, but we do have YTD numbers through November.  The Board of Realtors are down 1.2% for the year while the Ellis Team sales are up 18.82% That’s on top of the 53.73% sales gains from last year.

Ellis Team Sales Smash Records

Ellis Team Sales Smash Records Again in 2019

What’s our secret?  It’s a combination of things some would say is the secret sauce.  First off, we believe in marketing.  The Ellis Team survived back in the foreclosure crisis when a lot of other Realtors went out of business because we never stopped marketing.  Sure, times were tough, but we made it, and we sold a lot of homes.  In fact, the National Credit Union Association and Bank of America met with us and hired us because of our marketing and track record of getting homes sold, even the tough ones.

Thankfully, those days are long gone.  Marketing works in good times and bad.  When the market shifts, most agents hunker down and cut costs.  Sales go down when they cut marketing and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It’s wise to constantly evaluate what works and adapt to new methods and advertising channels.  We’ve done that, and today we reach more buyers through our advertising than ever before.  Our clients thank us because our listings sell.  In fact, Ellis Team listings sell faster and for more money than the average sale in MLS, and one reason is the extra exposure we can give our listings.

Ellis Team Luxury Division

The Ellis Team just opened our luxury division.  We can now offer additional marketing to luxury listings that increases our local and global reach. Talk to Brett or Sande Ellis if you have a luxury listing you’re thinking of selling.

Sande and Brett have a lot of experience selling in SW Florida and we’ve developed some proprietary systems that help our team stand out.

There’s much more, but the final point we’ll make today is our people.  We only hire the best.  Agents and Ellis Team managers go through a lengthy and exhaustive interview process to be on our team.  We look for people with drive, a willingness to learn, and values that match our own.  We don’t settle, and neither should you.

Best in Real Estate Fort Myers

Perhaps that’s why the Ellis Team has been voted the Best in Real Estate 4 years in a row in the News Press Readers’ poll.  Real estate is all about relationships.  We’re not here just to sell more homes.  We’re here to make a positive impact on each of our client’s lives.  Some buy or sell for happy reasons, and some for sad reasons.  Whatever your reason, we listen and care.  We devise solutions based on your needs, and your time frame.

The market is heating up.  Our phone is ringing, and the sales are coming. We understand that some agents’ business is down, so their perception is the market must be down. For agents that have a plan and are executing that plan, business is good.  As a seller, you want an agent that’s using the latest technology and marketing to reach more buyers for your home.

Marketing is the Key

The real estate industry is changing.  Generating leads has become more costly and time intensive.  Agents try to buy leads from providers because they don’t want to spend money on marketing or time lead generating.  We call that hitting the “Easy Button”.  When you do that, you’re always susceptible to the provider changing the terms and diluting the leads by selling same lead to many agents.  This is why agents are struggling.  There is a better way. Do your own marketing and own lead generating.  Yes, it takes time, skill, and courage.  In the end, it works, and sellers will hire you for it.

Call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and we’ll be happy to discuss ways we can help you.  Even if you just have a simple real estate question, we’re here to help.  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for a Free instant online home price evaluation.

See Last Week’s Article “Home Sale Price Gains a Trend in SW Florida?

Could home sale price gains become a trend in SW Florida?  It could, and here’s why.  SW Florida hasn’t seen true price gains the last few years for whatever reason. And that’s OK with us.  We always felt if there was a recession and price correction, SW Florida would be somewhat insulated as we didn’t participate in price run-ups like other counties in the state.  Now that the economy is taking off and interest rates are low, all signs seem go for the Florida real estate market.

Home Sale Price Gains a Trend in SW Florida

This creates an opportunity for SW Florida.  While all of Florida is benefiting from the booming economy, low rates, and low taxes, SW Florida may have more room to grow than other counties that have already experienced price gains.  Just as certain stock industries appreciate at various rates, so can local real estate markets.

High tax states like New York and New Jersey sometimes flock to the East coast of Florida, while Midwestern states like Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio, Iowa, etc. tend to migrate to the West coast.  Even that is changing though.  Part-time and full-time residents from East coast of Florida are coming over to West coast as well.  People want value and quality of life when deciding where to live, and SW Florida offers both, and it’s beginning to get noticed.  Our values are great, and traffic is so much better than the big cities.

Home Sale Price Gains a Trend in SW Florida?

Median home prices are up 5% this November vs. last November and average prices are up 1.6% Year to date median home prices are up 2.4% while average price are down 2.2%  We’ll be watching the next few months numbers to see if a price trend emerges.  The last few weeks we’ve written extensively on how the SW Florida real estate market is changing.  All these indicators point to a strengthening real estate market, and we love the potential of this market.

Stock pickers frequently look for the undervalued stocks in an industry, or the diamond in the rough.  SW Florida was forgotten about for whatever reason, and we think that’s about to change.  Will we see double digit growth?  Doubtful and we’re not looking for that.  We love steady, sustainable growth with quality of life.  SW Florida doesn’t want to become Miami West.  We have our own laid-back character and charm, and most want to keep it that way.  You can’t stop growth, but you can be smart about it.  Proper planning for roads, bridges, water quality, wildlife, shopping, etc. makes a big difference.

Near the end of January, we’ll have final 2019 numbers, and when final numbers are in, we believe 2019 will be a great year.  Home sales should eclipse the past 4 years, prices should be up, and inventory should be down.  If this holds true, we’ll have a better idea of how 2020 will shape up.  History only tells us where we’ve been.  It doesn’t always tell us where we’re going.  To know that, we either have to read the tea leaves or pull out our crystal ball.

It is hard to read the tea leaves if you don’t know exactly where you’ve been, where you are today, and what factors are influencing the market currently.  We have a pretty good handle on all three, and final 2019 numbers combined with January preliminary sales data will go a long way to telling us how season will go.

If you have a home to sell, always call Brett or Sande Ellis at the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042 Ext 4  or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get an instant free analysis of your home.

We hope the holidays were kind to you and we look forward to serving you another year in real estate.  Please let us know how we can help you.

Good luck and Happy Home Selling!

See Last Week’s Article “November Closed Home Sales up 6.6%

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!