People always ask each year what Season will bring in terms of home buying activity in SW Florida.  The past few years Season has been slow compared to historical standards, with good reason.  The past few years buyers have been fearful prices could slip lower, and the economy seemed to be showing signs of slowing down and consumer confidence was eroding.  Some have even argued we’ve been in recession or at least heading toward recession.

So why would 2009 Season be any different, as the economy doesn’t look any better than it has the past several years?  There are many reasons this year could be different.

1.  Prices are down.  Not just a little down, but way down.  They’re down so far that builders wouldn’t dare build right now because sales prices are much lower than replacement cost.  This phenomenon can only last so long, and once inventory levels start coming down, prices will go back up.  We’ve witnessed a large number of foreclosures work their way through the system and come to the market.  As soon as they hit the market, they’re sold because they’re affordable.  Affordability is back in this market, and that is new.

2. Retirees aren’t getting younger.  A Retiree has been able to sit on the sidelines and wait for prices to come down, and they have come down significantly.  The demographics for Florida are still fantastic as Baby Boomers haven’t even peaked yet.  Retirees have wisely waited, but they can’t wait forever.  A retiree only has so many good years and opportunities left, and if they wait too long they’ll miss out on living their dream in Sunny SW Florida forever, not because the market won’t be good, but because they only have so many good years left.  Retirees are so much healthier when they move to the sunshine because their outlook improves, and they can be physically active 365 days per year due to the weather.  They also enjoy conversations with other people in the neighborhood close to their same age and with similar interests.  This isn’t always the case in rural areas up North with bad weather.

3. It’s always wise to Buy when everyone else is selling and Sell when everyone else is buying.  Look back to 2005 and you’ll recognize many were buying.  Those that sold did very well.  Now that prices are abnormally low and below replacement costs, those that buy now when banks and sellers are selling at bargain prices will fare much better than those that purchased only 3 short years ago.

4. Interest Rates have remained low.  Because of the global crisis, the World Bank has coordinated interest rates cuts among many nations, so the US was free to cut again without fear of the dollar being de-valued if we were the only one’s cutting rates.

5.  Inflation may come back long term.  If so, buying assets today at low prices and financing them with low rates allows people to pay back a rapidly appreciating asset due to inflation at today’s low prices and with cheap money.  It’s the same reason people have bought gold, only a house is something you can live in, Vs.  gold or a stock.

6. When real estate was down, people flocked to stocks.  People are running from stocks right now, and because prices are so low in real estate, you could see a charge back into real estate in the next year or so.

The bottom line is nobody knows for sure the future.  All we do know is that our streets are getting busier with our friends from the North visiting, and people are watching to see if this is the year many of these snowbirds start opening up their wallets now that Florida is on sale.  Everyone loves a good sale, and we’re having a blowout sale as we speak.  The next few months could get interesting.

Click here to Search the entire MLS for your bargain property today.  Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres has had a number of bank foreclosures.  Fort Myers has had a few, but not near as many, but there are bargains galore.  Sales in Lee County Flroida have been up tremendously versus other areas of the state because our prices in SW Florida real estate have come down much faster than other areas.  The areas throughout the country seeing the greatest sales gains are those where the sellers have reacted first and brought value back into the market.  While it’s been painful, SW Florida home sellers have reacted.

 

Galerie Du Soleil Art Gallery in Naples, with the help of local restaurants Handsome Harry’s, Campiello’s, RIdgeways and Tommy Bahama, as well as local band Moony Mann is hosting a charity event to grant the wish of a special child with the Make a Wish Foundation.  The event is Saturday October 25 from 6-9PM at Galerie du Soleil, 393 Broad Avenue South, Naples, Florida 34102.  For more information, check out Wish to your Arts Desire or visit the online Flyer.

Tickets are only $45/person, and the night will be filled with good food, great wine, cool tunes, and of course fantastic intentions for a good cause.  Please come out, enjoy yourself, and help a worthwhile charity make children’s wishes come true.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southern Florida grants wishes to children 2 ½ to 18 years old with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich their lives with hope, strength and joy. Twenty years of magic and more than 6,500 wishes later, the Foundation continues its mission to share the power of a wish® with ailing children. For more information or to find out how you can help call 239-992-9474 or visit www.slfa.wish.org.

To order tickets,  call 239.417.3450 or e-mail  Deanne@GalerieduSoleil.com

Sponsors include Naples Packing and Shipping, Bellasera Hotel, Bentley Motors of Naples, Architects Unlimited and Robb & Stucky. Other generous donors include: Amanda Jaron Jewelry, Naples Illustrated, RE/MAX Ellis Team, The Bob Harden Show, Evelyn and Arthur Boutique, Mac Furniture, Olde Naples Chocolate, Vergina on Fifth Avenue, Naples Princess, Lely Resort, Pazzo! Italian Cafe, Trilogy of Naples, Cafe Luna, Femmes Je Vous Aime, Seraphim Boutique, Julie’s of Naples, Ava’s Flowers, Chop’s, Yabba Island Grill and Blue Water Bistro.

The October 2008 Ellis Team Current Market Index shows slight continued improvement in the SW Florida real estate housing market.  The index went down to 7.27, down from 7.75 the month prior.  The lower the number the better it is for sellers, and the higher the number the better for buyers.

Ellis Team SW Florida Real Estate Current Market Index Fort Myers Real Estate

Cape Coral real estate led the way with a market index of only 5.93, down from 6.38 in September.  Fort Myers real estate stands at 13.13, down from 13.76 in September.  There is currently 15,570 single family home listings in Lee County, up from 15,530 in September, so listing inventory is remaining relatively steady.  Pending sales in SW Florida rose to 1700, which is a very good sign going forward.

It’s important to keep in mind that many of these sales are a result of foreclosures hitting the market at affordable prices.  These listings are replacing short sales that were not sellable, and once they become sellable and affordable, the market gobbles them up.

It is still a tough environment for agents though as marketing costs remain high, gas prices remain high, and sale prices are half what they used to be.  Add in financing troubles and many times the agent has to sell the home more than once to get that one sale.  So bottom line is margins are tight, workload has doubled which adds administrative costs, and prices are down.  This is perhaps why there is a flight to quality by home sellers to top agents capable of selling in a tough market.  The same is true with mortgage professionals and title professionals, as only the strongest have survived in this market.

 We are noticing seasonal vistirs again, and may are inquiring about buying this year as prices are much more to their liking.  They’ve held off in past years waiting for the bargains, snd this year will be the year of bargains for our northern friends.

We beleive there may be pent-up demand from northern buyers as we are still receiving calls from our NBC Nightly News  with Brian Williams report we did last week showing affordability is back in the market, as well as The NBC Today Show we did a few weeks ago.  We also did a piece this past week for ABC-7 News on Sales up and Home Prices Down.

 

 

Brett Ellis on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams SW FLorida real estate affordability

 

Busy Week in the News For The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers Florida

NBC News featured SW Florida’s real estate market and the Ellis Team at RE/MAX in a story which concentrated on housing affordability.  Lower prices are attracting buyers back into the market, and home sales statistics bear this out.  Home sales have been up dramatically over last year each month this year.  NBC News decided to come to the epicenter of where the housing crisis turned bad, and noticed there may be a turn around in the works, which could be a positive sign for other parts of the country in the coming years. Click here to watch The Flip Side of Foreclosures: Affordable Homes  MSNBC also has a Blog article up about this story Mortgages Are Out There . And So Are Bargains which also features the Ellis Team in the Blog.

NBC Today Show from Fort Myers Florida featuring Brett Ellis of RE/MAX Realty Group

The NBC Today Show visited Fort Myers on September 23 and reported on foreclosures in the SW Florida real estate market, particularly on Lehigh Acres and Cape Coral Florida.  NBC came to The Ellis Team for answers.  Click here to watch Florida’s Foreclosure Hot Zone.

 

Last night Brett Ellis was also on the ABC News about home sales increasing while prices have been declining.  Click here to watch this story.

 

This past week Brett Ellis was featured on WINK News regarding Governor Sarah Palin’s speech in Fort Myers, and Mike Ellis was seen live on WINK News as a local business leader and his reaction to the presidential debate.  We’ll try to get video uploaded on these two stories later on.

The O’Reilly Factor called and asked Brett Ellis to be on The O’Reilly Factor this past Tuesday.  Unfortunately the taping time with Bill O’Reilly conflicted with Brett’s son’s baseball game that night, so we had to pass on that interview.

Governor Sarah Palin visited SW Florida today and talked about truth in campaigns and presented the Republican version.  Governor Palin told how Barack Obama is proposing $1 Trillion dollars in new spending at the same time he is promising tax cuts for 95% of the public.  Obviously unfunded spending will not allow for tax cuts, so in her opinion Barack Obama isn’t being truthful with the American people.

Before Governor Palin took the stage several candidates took the stage, including Sherriff Mike Scott and state Senator Nick Thompson. Brett Ellis met with Sheriff Mike Scott and Senator Nick Thompson before Governor Palin took the stage.

Brett Ellis Sheriff Scott Florida State Senator Nick Thompson Sarah Palin Rally

 

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.

 

The Florida Association of Realtors released official home and condo sales numbers for the month of August.  Median sale prices were down 41% for single family homes in the Fort Myers Cape Coral area from last year.  See SW Florida Real Estate Sale Prices 2005-2008 and were down 5.16% from July’s numbers.  See Month Over Month % Price Change Chart Fort Myers Cape Coral Florida.

Median home sale prices in Cape Coral and Fort Myers have fallen 30.84% in three short months, from a median price of $212,400 in May to a median price of $146,900 in August.  Home sales were up 31% over last year with 684 sales this year Vs. 520 last year, but home sales were down 11% from July 2008 numbers.  Financing has become increasingly difficult for many homebuyers.  Even though affordability is back in the market, many good credit homebuyers cannot qualify due to changing underwriting standards and amidst a capital crunch on Wall Street.

It’s also important to note that foreclosures are driving the median home sales price down more so in areas with higher concentration of foreclosures, like Lehigh Acres and Cape Coral.  Fort Myers has not see the concentrated number of foreclosures like the previous two areas, and home prices have not suffered as much in many areas in Fort Myers because of that.

Anywhere we saw rampant speculation building; we saw rampant cases of investors/speculators walking away from their investment.  Most of these homes were built in 2005 and 2006 with no end user in mind.  The speculators were convinced they’d buy as many houses as the banks would lend money on and flip them to a buyer or another speculator for large profits.  This strategy worked until we ran out of bigger fools, and the whole strategy came crashing down, taking lenders with them, as well as legitimate end users who bought in that time frame.

Now banks and Wall Street are in trouble and asking the taxpayer for a bailout.  Most people are strongly against this idea, and yet the government is probably going to have to get involved in some capacity whether we like it or not to protect a domino effect of financial institutions from crumbling under their past poor decisions.

It’s not right, but it is where we’re at today, and unfortunately we may all have to pay for the sins of others.

 

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.

 

This week’s special guest on The Future of Real Estate will be Kristan Cole, a top agent in North America from Wasilla Alaska and lifelong friend of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

  Kristan Cole Lifelong frien of Governor Sarah Palin RE/MAX agent Wasilla Alaska

The show can be heard on WINK Am 1240 in Fort Myers and WINK AM 1270 in Naples and Marco Island Saturdays at 11:00 AM.  It is also broadcast Live over the Internet at Wink’s website, and can be heard over he Internet on our Topagent website.

We’ll ask Kristan what the Governor is really like in person, and ask her to clear up some questions that have arisen since the Governor has been named vice presidential candidate.  We’ll ask how effective she’s been in Alaska, and what Alaskan’s think about drilling for oil, and more.  It will be an hour packed information gathering show.  Kristan is the former Miss Alaska and competed with Sarah in pageants, as well as growing up with her in grade school.  Kristan also has 5 children, and shares that common bond with the Governor.

The Future of Real Estate is brought to you each week by The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group, SW Florida’s top agents.