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.

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.

Click to search the Fort Myers and Cape Coral MLS

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

The November 2008 Ellis Team SW Florida Real Estate Current Market Index showed continued improvement again in November.  We expect sales numbers to be quite positive when they are released in a few days, even if sale prices are down as has been the trend in 2008.  The index fell to 6.89 for the Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate market which is the lowest we’ve seen in years since December of 2005.

Cape Coral’s inventory declined slightly while pending sales increased again, and the CMI Index number for Cape Coral is down to 5.40  Fort Myers rose slightly to 14.56.  Lee County numbers overall fee to 8.64 from 9.16 in October.  Most of these numbers bode well for future sales activity as this index accurately predicts future closed sales and overall market health.

Condo sales in SW Florida are another story with the CMI Index currently at 22.64, up from 21.86 in October.  With season approaching we’ll see if those numbers improve in the 1st Qtr of 2009.

SW Florida Real Estate Home Sales Statistics

Fort Myers and Cape Coral saw a 128% increase in home sales over last year as reported by the Florida Associatiopn of Realtors.  Statewide sales were up 24%, but locally they were up much greater becuase affrodability is back in the SW Florida real estate market what is not priced into all Florida markets. Median sale price is Fort Myers and Cape Coral dropped to $141,400 from $231,600 last year.

Condo sales in Cape Coral and Fort Myers saw a 50% rise in condo sales over last year, while the median price dropped 17% to $185,000.

Home sale prices declined for the 4th straight month in Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate.  See our month over month prices graph. You can also view a monthly price summary by year for Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate.  We’ve also included a home sales by month for the past several years for Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

We’ve created some videos for you to learn about the SW Florida real estate market better.  Some of these videos were newscasts done on TV, while others were simply us on a video camera talking about the market in our office.  We’ll be adding more videos like the newscast we did for NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams a few weeks ago, so stay tuned.

Thank you for reading our SW Florida Real Estate Home Sales Statistics update this week.  We look forward to bringing you further SW Florida Real Estate Home Sales Statistics.

This week’s guest on “The Future of Real Estate”  will be Lee County Florida property appraiser Ken Wilkinson.  Ken was the Father of Save our Homes Ammendment years ago and served on the Tax and Budget Reform Comittee that meets every 20 years.  Ken was appointed by the Governor to sit on that panel.  This panel came up with several ammendments voters will be voting on this election.  3 ammendments were taken off the ballot by a judge who said the wording was not clear to voters.  Unfortunately by law they are only allowed 74 words to describe the entire ammendment, so it’s very hard to get everything in and make it clear.

Ken will also tell us how property values have done in 2008 and what that could mean for your assessment when it’s analyzed on January 1, 2009.  The Future of Real Estate presented by The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group can be heard Saturdays at 11:00 AM on WINK AM 1240 and 1270 in Collier County.  It is also broadcast over the Internet after the show airs.

Next week we may have on Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp back on our show, so tune in next week as well.

NBC-2 did a report Monday night about how out of state buyers are snatching up bargains in SW Florida.  Buyers have been coming in from all over looking for bargains, some of them foreclosures, in the Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Lehigh Acres area.

The Ellis Team lists a lot of bank owned foreclosures and we are seeing buyers snatch up these properties in hours.  Many of these properties receive multiple offers in just a few days, so it’s important for buyers to know the rules the lender is requiring and to follow them.

Buyers quite often ignore the rules and are disappointed when their offer is not accepted.  Working with an agent who knows the requirements of the offer will increase your chances of acquiring the property, although it cannot guarantee it when multiple offers are invloved.

We will be adding shortly a way to search for foreclosures on our website.  To search the entire SW Florida real estate MLS, including Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, and Cape Coral, visit www.Leecountyonline.com


re MLS


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.