The Ellis Team SW Florida Real Estate Current Market Index for June 2009 shows another slight improvement, down from 3.99 to 3.92  Remember, the lower the Index number, the better for sellers, and if you’ve followed this index for any length of time you’ll discover that it’s been very accurate forecasting the foreward movement of the Fort Myers real estate market and the Cape Coral real estate market.

Ellis Team SW Florida Real Estate Current Market Index June 2009
Ellis Team SW Florida Real Estate Current Market Index June 2009

 

Inventory fell from 12,579 last month to under 12,000 for the first time in a long time.  Inventory levels have been falling for awhile and pending sales have remained relatively stable, helping to draw down inventory levels.  Cape Coral inventory levels are very low, but so is Lehigh Acres copared to the pending sales.  Lehigh Acres has traditionally followed Cape Coral, and as the Cape’s prices have gone up in the entry level home market, Lehigh Acres demand has increased, just like in the run-up of the roaring 2000’s.

The Ellis Team are Top agents at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers Florida and study the SW Florida real estate market in great detail.

We’re conducting a social media experiment.  We’re seeking to add 100 users to our Fan Pages in the next several days.  If you are a Facebook user, simply go to the following pages and select Become a Fan.  Once we’re at 100 users we’ll announce the Facebook URL assigned to us.

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We’ll repport back and let everyone know how long it took to reach this goal, and the effects of viral marketing online via Social Networking.  Thanks for particpating Facebook users.

SW Florida real estate sales in Fort Myers and Cape Coral Florida set new records again in May with single family home sales in Cape Coral and Fort Myers totalling 1,417 sales, eclipsing the May 2005 sales record of 1,309.  See SW Florida Real Estate Homes Closed 2005-2009 chart illustrating home sales by month since 2005.  Median sales prices for single family homes in Cape Coral and Fort Myers was up 3.51% from April median home prices, up to $88,500.  For a complete look at median single family home sale prices in Fort Myers Cape Coral since 2005, see the SW Florida Real Estate Sales Prices 2005-2009 graph.

Prices are still falling in the mid to upper levels of the SW Florida real estate market, while prices seemed to have stabilized in the entry level market.  First time home buyers are buying as fast as they can as they compete with investors for the best bargains.  Short sales are picking up as banks cut through the red tape of approving short sales, although time frames are still long.  Canadians are buying properties in SW Florida due to the favorable exchange rate, and the fact that Florida is on sale.

Fort Myers Cape Coral Real Estate Sales Soared

Condo sales for May in Cape Coral and Fort Myers were up 41% Vs. the State of Florida which was up 21%.  Median sales prices for condos in SW Florida were down 35% year over year, as opposed to the statewide average of down 38%.  See the Florida Sales Report May 2009 Existing Condos graph.

It looks like the 2nd Qtr is shaping up to be another record setting quarter for home sales.  The 1st Qtr home sales in Lee County Florida sure was.  We won’t know for another month when June sales are officially released.

Shortly we’ll be releasing the latest Current Market Index for Fort Myers and Cape Coral for June which should explain where our market is headed.

Be sure to tune in this week on AM 1240 in SW Florida, and AM 1270 in Collier County, The Future of Real Estate presented by The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers, Florida.  The show is also re-broadcast on our Radio Show page

 

This week’s topics include:

  • Property Tax Lawsuit Against Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson
  • State Farm Insurance Possibly Staying or Leaving Florida
  • Hot Properties
  • 4 Amendments on Florida’s 2010 Ballot
  • Florida’s Recently Released Housing Statistics
  • Buying Opportunities in Real Estate Due to Market Conditions
  • Interest Rate Update

Listen in, and if there is something you’d like discussed, leave us a comment.

Lee County single family home sales sold at a record pace for the 1st quarter of 2009, eclipsing the 1st Qtr of 2005.  This follows the 4th Qtr of 2008 which was the second highest quarter on record, taking a backseat to you guessed it, 2005.

Lee County Single Family Home Sales by Quarter
Lee County Single Family Home Sales by Quarter

For Larger Version, click here.

The bubble burst of years past has actually helped make homes affordable again, and combining that with a $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit in effect until Dec 1, 2009 and low interest rates, and median prices as low as 1997 prices, you’ve got a perfect storm again for dramatically increased home sales.  We believe 2nd Qtr home sales in Lee County will again be very strong, however home sales could slow later in 2009, but not for the reasons you might imagine.

Yes, interest rates have been climbing almost as fast as the price of oil, and both can negatively impact home sales.  The real reason home sales may decline in the 2nd half of 2009 may be that inventory is drying up.  In the coming weeks we’ll present some inventory graphs that will illustrate exactly what is happening with inventory. You would think that as inventory declines, prices would go up, and that is typical in a real estate cycle.  I think this cycle could be different.  For years, buyers have been conditioned that prices are going down and to wait for the bargains.  Buyers are just now getting the word that the bargains are disappearing and many are fighting with other home buyers to get the few bargains available.  Some buyers however, haven’t gotten the memo, and are still making offers at or below asking price, and they wonder why they’re missing out on house after house.  They’re not properly educated on what is actually happening in real time.

Jobs are not growing yet in SW Florida.  Right now we have investors coming in and scooping up the bargains and competing with home buyers because sales prices are so far below replacement cost builders can’t afford to build.  These prices are an anomaly and will not stay at these low prices forever.  This all leads me back to why I believe home sales could stagnate in the 2nd half if lenders don’t keep the foreclosure pipeline streaming.

There are two schools of thought on where prices are headed.  First is the old Supply Vs. Demand theory, that as inventory levels drop and buyers feverishly buy, prices automatically will go up.  In fact, we are seeing evidence of this occurring in certain segments, particularly waterfront and entry level Cape Coral homes.  Prices have bounced off the bottom and have been on their way up since last year.

The other school, and this theory is just my own and not economically tested, is that prices are so far below replacement cost, buyers have become conditioned to buy so long as it’s a bargain.  What happens when the bargains are gone and prices begin rising?  Will buyers buy in fear of prices tomorrow being higher than prices today?  Something tells me sellers will be staring down the buyers with a “gotcha” type mentality because sellers have taken it on the chin for so long.  Buyers may look at the sellers and say “You don’t have me, I’ll just sit back and do nothing now that it’s no longer a Deal.”  And hence the stare down begins, and the question becomes, who blinks and how long does it take?  We saw some evidence of this after Hurricane Andrew on the East coast.  Transactions slowed as buyers faced with diminished inventory couldn’t accept right away the new pricing the market brought to bear, and the stare down game began.

We do have some foreclosures backlogged in the system, and we’re going to need them to be released.  They all have to sell anyway, and the longer they sit vacant the more the properties deteriorate from lack of maintenance, storms, water damage, vandalism, etc. Nothing good can happen with a vacant foreclosed home in a neighborhood, so the process of foreclosure and getting a new end user in actually helps the healing process of the market, and until we complete this process our market will not be healed.

Ultimately the wild cards are how many foreclosures will come to the market, and when will employment in SW Florida rise.  Pricing will most likely follow both events, and to some extent interest rates.  Interest rate increases cut into the buying power of buyers, and many first time home buyers are tight.  The other factor will probably be public perception of the overall economy and how people feel about their job and their overall financial situation.  The market’s ability to assess and discern what is truly happening in the real estate market, without all the fluff, will go a long way to determining when prices will start rising again and how quickly.

So the SW Florida real estate market is currently setting sales records.  In the coming weeks we’ll do our best to break down by segment exactly what is happening in our market and what it could mean going forward.

The Ellis Team is looking for  a person or persons with strong people skills and proficient in Internet lead management, e-mail, and database management.  This person will be a good listener and preferrably will be a licensed agent or willing to obtain license.  This candidate will have knowledge of the SW Florida Real Estate market, and is good on the phones.

If a job like this sounds interesting to you, send an e-mail with your resume to coordinator@topagent.com

Home sales in the SW Florida real estate market set an all-time record in April 2009 with 1,468 single family home sales, eclipsing the mark set in March of 1,464.  Sales are literally off the charts as affordability is in the market.  In fact, median home sale prices in the Fort Myers Cape Coral area fell by 3.39% last month down to $85,500, down from $88,500 in March.  For a comparison of monthly home sales in SW Florida from 2005-2009 see the latest Fort Myers Cape Coral home sales chart.

Median prices in SW Florida are down 57% from last year, down from $200,300 to $85,500  Median single family home sale prices have fallen every month this year except for February when they went up 2.74%  See our SW Florida Real Estate Month Over Month Prices chart.  To illustrate just where median home sales prices are today Vs. where they have been every year since 2005, visit our SW Florida Real Estate Sale Prices 2005-2009 chart.

Condo sales in the Fort Myers and Cape Coral area were up 7% over last year, and probably would have been much higher if FNMA hadn’t changed financing rules making it increasingly difficult to finance most condominium associations throughout SW Florida.  It used to be we worried about whether or not the buyer was qualified for a mortgage, and this past year we learned it was much more difficult to get a condo association approved than it is to get the buyer approved.  Banks have over-reacted and will cause further problems in the condo market going forward, which may actually increase delinquencies as existing owners will not be able to refinance or sell to anyone other than a cash buyer. 

Condo median prices in Cape Coral and Fort Myers fell 33% from $195,500 last year to $131,800 this year.

Statewide single family home sales were up 18% and median home sale prices were down 31%, and condo sales were up 21% and median condo prices were down 40%.  As you can see, Fort Myers and Cape Coral are leading the state, as our home sales are up 81% over last year compared to the statewide average of 18%.  SW Florida condo median prices were down 33% compared to the state average of 40%

The Fort Myers News Press interviewed Brett Ellis of the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers about Lee County’s all-time sales record.

Single family home sales in Fort Myers and Cape Coral MSA were up 192% in March 2009 over March 2008.  The Fort Myers and Cape Coral MSA encompasses Lee County Florida. Home sales totalled 1,464 this year as compared to 501 last year.  Statewide sales were up 30% and median prices were down 30% from last year.  Fort Myers and Cape Coral is definitley leading the state in transaction increases.  Miami was next in line with a 101% increase in sales transactions.  For a complete chart of transactions by city and median prices, check out Florida Sales Report March 2009 Existing Single Family Homes. We’ve included a chart that shows home sales from 2005-2009 in SW Florida.

As you can see from our SW Florida Real Estate Sale Prices 2005-2009, sales prices are nothing like what they were in years past.  Prices declined 9.23% last month alone largely due to increased numbers of foreclosures selling in the lower price ranges, as you can see from our Month Over Month Sales Prices Chart.

Condo prices in Fort Myers and Cape Coral were down 36% from last year to a median price of $126,200, down from $196,400 last year.  Sales were up 53% this year as buyers reacted to the tremendous bargains in the market.  Many buyers have sensed the market has or is close to bottom and they better act soon.  See Condo Florida Sales Report.

Buyers have also responded to the $8,000 tax credit that essentially gives first time home buyers, or anyone who has not owned a home that was their primary residence in the last 3 years, a tax credit of 10% of sale price up to a limit of $8,000  Essentially the government is making the down payment for buyers, and buyers who put less than 10% down pocket the difference.  There are some income requirements.  See First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit-What You Need to Know or watch our video explaining the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit.

NBC  Nightly News recently did a report “Is Now the Time To Buy a Home” which can be fouond directly on our webpage.  there are some particularly good deal deals in Fort Myers real estate right now as pointed out in the NBC Report.

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers has long supported baseball in Lee County, and this year baseball has paid back.  Jason Ellis, Brett’s son played for the Junior Twins in South Fort Myers and the Junior Twins took home the County Championship this past week, which is a tremendous achievement.

South Fort Myers Little League County Champions Jason Ellis and Brett Ellis
Jason Ellis and Brett Ellis

South Fort Myers Little League County Champions

Paul Hobby managed the team and did an excellent job as he is a great role model with the kids.  The coaches all put in extra duty this year to get the kids ready for a winning season, and the kids worked hard too.  Brett Ellis and Matt Scott coached the team along with Paul.

Manager Paul Hobby, Coaches Brett Ellis and Matt Scott, and the Twins
Manager Paul Hobby, Coaches Brett Ellis and Matt Scott, and the Twins

South Fort Myers Junior Twins: The team won the Lee County Championship over the South Fort Myers Red Sox 13-3 on Friday. Of the 23 Junior Little League teams in Lee County, the South Fort Myers Little League had all four of its squads in the county semifinals. The Twins captured a 9-8 semifinal victory over the SFM Cardinals. The SFM Red Sox outfought the SFM Mariners for a 4-2 victory in the semifinals. Zach Belcher was the winning pitcher for the SFM Twins in the championship game, pitching five innings.

2009 South Fort Myers Junior Twins Championship Team Photo
2009 South Fort Myers Junior Twins Championship Team Photo

Read News Press coverage of Title Game.

Brett Ellis appeared recently on NBC’s Today Show on April 19, 2009.  The report focused on housing deals in SW Florida and if now is the time to buy.  One Realtor talks about the buying frenzy and the bank foreclosure deals to be had presently in SW Florida, but time is running out.

Additionally, the report focuses on the $8,000 tax credit, and buyers competing with investors for the bargain buys. Brett Ellis of the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers stands in front of a home that is priced 1/5 the price of what it sold for just a few short years ago.  Because of the tremendous buys, many buyers are bidding on properties.  One buyer in the report bid on 14 properties until they were successful.  The best bargain buys go quickly and many receive multiple offers, so you have to act quickly and have your ducks in a row.  This means getting pre-approved for a mortgage through the correct lender, and using all the forms the seller requires and filling them out correctly.

There are tips to being the successful bidder, and experienced agents in the foreclosure business know what these tips are.  Listen to the advice you receive from your agent, and if they tell you there are multiple offers on the property, believe it.  It’s far better to get your 1st or 2nd choice then your 15th.

Contact the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers for bank foreclosure buys in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, and all of SW Florida.

800-860-4042

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