Due to a shortage of U.S. manufactured drywall between 2004 and 2007, many builders were forced to buy drywall imported from China. The “Chinese drywall” has been linked to seeping sulfide gases that can corrode electrical wiring and components of air-conditioning and other household appliances. Some residents have been forced to move from their homes, and a few builders in Florida have begun gutting homes and replacing the drywall.

We have found some helpful information put out by the Florida Department of Health that may be help to answer some questions the public may have regarding if Chinese drywall is present in your home and what the health implications may be, as well as where to turn for help.

See Frequently Asked Questions:  Here is a sample question.

How do I know if I have “Chinese drywall”?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. The most definitive method to date is finding a “made in China” marking on the back of sheet of drywall. DOH observed some drywall in several homes with no discernable markings. The origin of the unmarked drywall is unknown. DOH observed that homes with marked Chinese drywall also contained drywall marked as made in USA. Remember that we do not know how many sheets of the suspect drywall can cause problems. DOH did observe at least one home with marked Chinese drywall with none of the associated corrosion or odor problems. The bottom line is we think the question should really be “Does my house have corrosion problems?”

How to File a Consumer Complaint: Useful information on who to contact if you’d like to file a complaint.

Case Definition and Pictures (Does My home fit the investigation criteria?)

We will continue to provide additional information and resources as they become available.  You can also listen to The Future of Real Estate each week as we bring you important information and news regarding real estate in SW Florida.

 

 
 

 

Industry experts Brett Ellis of the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers Florida and Adrian Jacobs from Countrywide Home Loans in Fort Myers Florida outlines successful strategies in identifying short sale candidates, structuring your offer so the bank can accept it, and compiling the short sale package the way the banks want to see it.  We also go into qualifying the seller, getting pre-qualified, and talk about lien searches and why they’re important.

Brett is a CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) and has helped dozens of homeowners sale their properties in SW Florida.  Working with a CDPE is a good idea and Brett encourages agents to obtain the accredidation.  The more agents with this knowledge the more it helps the entire market.  Both the listing and selling agent must have detailed knowledge about the process to make a short sale work.  Making mistakes can cost the buyer several months, kill the deal, and the buyer has lost out on many other properties they could have purchased during the time they waited for the failed short sale.  The seller faces likely foreclosure in a failed short sale, so the results are tragic on both buyers and sellers.  Working with a CDPE helps improve the success rate by only focusing on qualified short sale opportunities and putting together a package that works for the banks.

Watch Tips on Short Sales.  We also talk about buying bank foreclosures in SW Florida, Fort Myers, and Cape Coral as well.

SW Florida Real Estate Current Market Index April 2009
SW Florida Real Estate Current Market Index April 2009

 

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group released the April 2009 SW Florida Real Estate Current market Index which accurately predicts the local real estate market’s future direction, and once again the index improved. Fort Myers and Cape Coral recorded their lowest numbers since October 2005.  In October 2005 the number stood at 3.44, and the index today stands at 3.72  The lowest on record was July 2005 when the index stood at 1.07.  The lower the number the better the market is for sellers and the higher the number the better the market is for buyers.  The lower numbers are a result of higher transaction volume combined with declining inventory levels.

 

Lee County Florida index numbers for single family homes stands at 4.26, down from 5.07 in March.  We’re seeing tremendous sales numbers for a variety of reasons. Not only do we have home affordability back in the market, but also the perception that we’ve seen drastic price cuts and the end in price declines may be near.  Buyers do not want to miss out on the possible buying opportunity of a lifetime.   Along with attractive pricing is record low interest rates, declining property taxes, and a decent but dwindling supply of homes to choose from.  Lastly, the government passed a 1st time home buyer tax credit that gives buyers up to $8,000 tax credit to buy a home and if the home is kept for three years does not have to be repaid to the government.

 

Rarely do all the stars align for a perfect buying opportunity, but that’s just exactly what we have right now.  The SW Florida real estate market has been heating up for some time, and in 2009 we’re seeing some dramatic results on the transaction volume side.  Pricing is a lagging indicator and will follow once inventory is depleted further.  We’ve already seen a 2.74% rise in prices in March over February 2009 numbers.  Total single family home inventory in Lee County fell to 12,356 in April, down from 13,019 in March.

 

Cape Coral is again leading the way as the CMI index numbers for the Cape stands at 2.88.  Fort Myers CMI numbers stand at 7.26 Inventory is dropping in both Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and pending sales are increasing.  We believe when official sales numbers are released later this month we’ll see record sales for March, and sales activity going forward for April and May looks to be very strong.  Current home prices are so far below replacement cost that builders are not even attempting to build yet.  Once this inventory is depleted prices may begin to rise on a gradual path towards replacement cost, and when that occurs builders will again start building.  We believe we are still some time off from that point; however we are amazed at how quickly homes are selling and how the SW Florida real estate market has heated up.  Once the overall economy improves and businesses start hiring again in force, we believe prices could rise at a quicker pace and approach replacement prices.  Until then, home sales will be great as long as the price is attractive, and we may enter No-Man’s land once we deplete existing inventory and the market absorbs what to do once the bargains are all gone.  The economy and employment will eventually drive home sale prices, and home sales may help drive the economy back to health.

 

Stay tuned as the market is definitely heating up, and the Current market Index points to more good times ahead.

This week’s SW Florida real estate video update presented by The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group focuses on SE Fort Myers Florida.  SE Fort Myers consists of zip codes 33912, 33913, 33966, and 33967 and covers Gateway, Fort Myers South around the Daniel’s Parkway Corridor over to US 41 down tthrough San Carlos Park.

SE Fort Myers Florida Real Estate Video Update

View this week’s SE Fort Myers Florida Real Estate Video Update  Average prices were down about 22% in SE Fort Myers, however sales were up significantly.

Follow The Ellis Team on Twitter, so you can keep up to date on Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate news and information, including information on the entire Southwest Florida real estate market.  Our latest post on Twitter includes our Cape Coral real estate video update.  Check our our Ellis team SW Florida Top Agents page on Twitter.

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers released the Annual SW Florida State of the Market Report in February.  Local TV stations covered the release and here are some of the stories.

WINK News 6PM Coverage of State of the Market Report 

WINK News 10 PM Coverage-Home Prices Back to 1999 Prices

WINK News 11 PM-Housing Prices and New Construction

FOX 4 News Coverage of State of market Report Release

Download the State of the Market Report  In this report we detail the Fort Myers real estate market, along with updates on the Cape Coral real estate market, Lehigh Acres home sales, Bonita Springs and Estero real estate updates, Sanibel and Captiva, Fort Myers Beach, Pine Island, and all of Lee County Florida.

We also detailed bank foreclosure information, and short sales statistics, distressed property information, and we talked about the CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) designation to help owners keep their homes or sell their homes to protect their credit

We’ll be uploading more video in the coming days, so stay tuned.

Fort Myers and Cape Coral Real Estate Current Market Index
Fort Myers and Cape Coral Real Estate Current Market Index

 

The January 2009 Ellis Team SW Florida real estate current market index covering Fort Myers real estate, Cape Coral real estate, and Estero leveled off this past month and currently stands at 6.74, up slightly from 6.65 the previous month.  The index still shows signs of strong buying activity and overall market absorbtion.

Single family inventory for Lee County dropped below 14,000 this month to 13,740, while pendings remained relatively the same.  The Current Market Index for the entore county actually fell from 7.99 to 7.89, but we are reporting numbers in the graph for just Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate single family homes.  Single family home inventory has been falling nicely as the market has been absorbing homes to the market all throughout 2008.  Other agents are just now starting to pick up on this trend and report it, instead of the gloom and doom some have been reporting all year.

Next month we’ll be releasing our annual SW Florida State of the Market Report, which will be much more comprehensive this year.  We’ve been hard at work analysing the data and identifying emerging trends.  As usual, there will be some surprises.  We’ve spent extra time eliminating duplicate entries in various MLS systems, so we feel quite confident this new set of numbers will be the Most realistic picture of what is actually happening in SW Florida real estate.

We’ll be drilling down much deeper so you can see what’s been happening in various neighborhoods.  Stay tuned for official announcement for the release date for this very special report.

OK, who knew the video updates would be so popular?  This week’s video updates are in, and instead of doing our traditional in office video update, we decided to post some of the news stories we did last week on the local news.  This idea started out last year as a fun experiment, and what we’ve discovered is people like it and expect it.  This past week we received several e-mails and comments asking where the video updates are.

On January 6, 2009 we did an interview on WINK News 6 PM regarding Hank Fishkind’s recently released report and how he expects the SW Florida real estate market to go in the next 3 years.  We talked about affordability being back in the Fort Myers real estate market and how northern buyers are here this season and buying due to the low prices.

We also did an interview for WINK News at 5 PM and we talked again about Hank Fishkind’s stagnant growth prediction, northern buyers, and making money in real estate on the Buy Vs. the sell.  We disagreed with Hank Fishkind’s report to some extent on the SW Florida condo market.

You can let us know whether you like the TV News format better, or the simple video update like we did on September 15 in our office.  Just leave your comments to this post.

We also did news stories on NBC Today Show last September and also NBC NIghtly News with Brian Williams on October 8, 2008.

If you’d like to search for your bank owned bargain, or foreclosures in Fort Myers and Cape Coral Florida, visit out Free Search MLS website.

November 2008 real estate numbers for Fort Myers and Cape Coral were released recently and single family home sales in Cape Coral and Fort Myers were up 64% over last year, a trend we’ve seen repeated throughout 2008.  Median sales prices for Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate fell 53% from last year, down from $228,100 to $106,100.  Statewide home sales were up only 4%, so again SW Florida real estate has been leading the state in home sales.

Condo sales in Fort Myers and Cape Coral were down 21% from last year, while statewide they were only down 8%.  Statewide sales prices for condo were down 30% and condos in Cape Coral and Fort Myers were only down 20%, perhaps a reason why our sales were down.  The better the pricing the more sales we are seeing in any particular market segment.

Fort Myers Cape Coral Real Estate Current Market Index
Fort Myers Cape Coral Real Estate Current Market Index

 

The December 2008 Ellis Team SW Florida Real Estate Current Market Index again showed improvement from last month’s index.  The Current Market Index now stands at 6.65, down from 6.89 in November.  The lower the number the better the market is for sellers.  Transactions in the Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate markets were up again significantly over last year as our index predicted it would be.  Single family home sales in Fort Myers and Cape Coral were up 78% over last year’s numbers in October.

Single family inventory is down 12.42% from last year’s numbers.  In December 2007 we had over 16,000 single family homes for sale in Lee County and now that number is down to slightly over 14,000.  With sales up around 80% over last year’s numbers and inventory declining, many would say that 2008 has been a year of recovery for the SW Florida real estate market, but we cannot do so until prices stabilize.  Median prices have continued to head lower all year and this is why Fort Myers and Cape Coral has bucked the state and national trends, because value and affordability are back in the market.

In fact, prices are so far below replacement costs that first time home buyers and investors alike are scooping these properties up as fast as they come on the market.  While more foreclosures are scheduled to hit the market in 2009, many are condominiums and vacant land.  We are doing a study right now along with the SW Florida Real Estate Investment Association to determine how many Lis Pen dens filings are actual home foreclosures.  Keep in mind, a property may have multiple Lis Pen dens filings which may skew the numbers, so we may not see as many foreclosures in 2009 as some are quoting.

Local mortgage companies are reporting fixed rates in the 4.5% range today with 1 point.  Loan amounts are also on the rise, which could signal an up tick in future home buying in higher price ranges.  We don’t look for drastic upward changes to median home prices, however we do like to look at mortgage applications to get a reading on potential future purchasing activity.

We see regular negative articles and news stories about the real estate market, but the numbers tell another side of the story.  Sellers do not like today’s prices, and nobody knows where tomorrow’s prices will be for sure, however we can report there is a market at the right price and this market has been posting large gains all year.  We think many buyers and investors have figured out there are tremendous buying opportunities available now and they’re not listening to the Downers in the market.

If you really want to know how a market is doing, follow the money.  Buyers are back in this market because the prices are Right.  It’s a lot like the BCS polls.  Don’t follow what the polls say; follow the Vegas odds, because that’s where the money is.  It’s amazing how much better the money does in picking games than the experts do.  The numbers always tell a story.  The real wisdom is deciding not which expert to listen to, but which numbers you should follow.  In the SW Florida real estate market you can look at falling median prices, or increased sales.  Both tell a story, and we’ll leave it to the market to decide what the numbers mean.  We just thought we’d present another side you may not be seeing in the media or hearing from other experts and let you decide.