The Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate markets again posted significant gains over last years numbers, bucking national trends and leading the state of Florida for the entire year. Single family home sales in Cape Coral and Fort Myers were up 78% in October. Statewide home sales were 15% and median prices were down 24%. Median prices in Fort Myers and Cape Coral were down 42%, and this is the reason buyers are back in the SW Florida real estate market.
I speak with top agents from all over the country and many times they tell me sales are way down, but prices have held steady. The reality is buyers no longer want or are able to afford the prices, so while sellers may not be selling for less, buyers aren’t buying, and that’s why their sales are way down. It’s true in just about every market where sales decline. Fort Myers and Cape Coral has led the state in reacting, perhaps because we had to with such a large inventory of brand new homes that were on the market, and this is the major reason Fort Myers and Cape Coral is leading the state back out of this. Our prices are compelling, not just attractive.
In the first half of 2008 we noticed a lot of first time home buyers entering the market, which was a good sign going forward because it signaled affordability was back in the market, and buyers again had confidence going forward that 2008 was a good time to buy. In the second half of 2008 we noticed a tremendous influx of long-term investors coming back into the market. This is another good sign as investors have realized this market is priced so far below replacement cost that when this whole thing settles down they’ll be buying at tremendous savings. Fort Myers and Cape Coral truly is having a 1/2 off sale and it won’t last forever.
Investors know that you make money on the Buy, not the Sell. Interest rates look like they’re falling again, and season is just about here, so 2009 could get a little interesting. Foreclosures have paused temporarily as lenders have suspended many filings. Inventory has not increased all year in the MLS even with all the foreclosures we’ve had. This is a very good sign as the market is absorbing all new inventory, because it is priced to sell. The banks losses have become new homeowners and investors gains.
Not surprisingly Cape Coral and Fort Myers leads the states in condo sales gains as well. Condo sales in Fort Myers and Cape Coral were up 48% while the median price was down 5%. Statewide condo sales were only up 5% and prices were down 23% from last year. Areas like Tallahassee were down 95%, Lakeland Winter Haven 64%, Ocala 75%, and Sarasota-Bradenton 47%. As you can see, Fort Myers real estate and Cape Coral real estate is doing very well and leading the state.