Everyone seems to ask how the market is doing.  Usually the answer depends on where you live, price range, and several factors.  It’s not always as cut and dried because within the overall market we have several sub-markets that fluctuate independently of each other.  Here are Southwest Florida October Housing Statistics by City.

We decided to release some numbers we look at each month.  One of these metrics is the breakdown by city.  Before we discuss the numbers, we must first be careful not to read too much into one-month data.  If a city has a low number of sales each month, the data can fluctuate wildly any given month.  Secondly, in 2017 we were impacted by Hurricane Irma.  In some cases, it hurt sales last year, and in others it increased sales last October because they were delayed from September.

Southwest Florida October Housing Statistics by City

Southwest Florida October Housing Statistics by City

Since all that is out of the way, here we go.  Bonita Springs led the way with a 43.9% increase in closed sales, but again, it’s a small data set.  Sanibel/Captiva slowed the most followed by Estero, again with small data sets.

Moving over to price changes, Sanibel/Captiva led the way with a 59.7% increase in median price.  This might explain why fewer sales, although we think it has more to do with the mix that sold that month.  Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach, and Pine Island saw price decreases while the rest of Lee County saw mild to moderate increases.  Fort Myers and Cape Coral did particularly well given that each has a large data set, and both scored gains in closed sales and pricing.  Lehigh Acres and North Fort Myers were the only two areas besides Fort Myers and Cape Coral to record gains in pricing and sales activity.

A lot of people made a big deal about water quality and how it affected home sales.  By the numbers, it didn’t seem to harm Fort Myers, Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, or Lehigh Acres.  Did it hurt Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel/Captiva, Pine Island or Bonita Springs?  Possibly, but the numbers are mixed, and again it’s only one-month data.

Search Homes by City

We have a section on our website www.LeeCountyOnline.com where you can search for homes by city, neighborhood, or even get neighborhood market reports.  We have several neighborhoods setup and saved, and you can create your own as well if you don’t see your neighborhood listed.

The neighborhood market reports are nice because they show you active listings, pending sales, and sold listings along with data and photos of each.  You can signup to have these reports emailed to you monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly.  These are different than neighborhood saved searches in that they contain much more data.  Saved neighborhood searches can be emailed to you daily.  Market reports can only be emailed weekly or greater because of all the extra detail.

We provide more data than any other website we know of, and yet there is no substitute for speaking with us if you’re considering making a move.  The data we provide is Free to use. We hope it helps you in making the best decision for your family.  Sometimes it’s the experience, wisdom, and marketing behind the data that matters.

These homes don’t sell themselves.  Even when people think a home sells itself, there was still marketing involved to expose the buyer, negotiating the contract, inspections, etc.  A lot goes into making a transaction come together.  Most people don’t realize only 4% of prospective buyers can buy.  They need help, perhaps selling another property, getting financed, etc.  This is where agents come in, and experience matters.

If you’re looking to purchase, sell, or both, you should call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty. 239-489-4042.  We don’t sell anything.  We listen, educate, and help you achieve your goals.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday Dec 8th 1-3 PM

2008 Bolado Pkwy Cape Coral, FL 33990

Open House Sunday December 9  12-3 PM

908 SE 21st PL Cape Coral, FL 33990

What a difference a year makes. As you can see from the 2010-2012 Single Family Median Price Comparison chart, January 2012 prices are up 30.86% over last year’s numbers.

Lee County Florida Single Family Price Comparison Chart
SW Florida Single Family Median Price Comparison Chart

We’ve been reporting that prices have been on the rise for months and that we thought we could be in for a strong selling season and the numbers are bearing witness to those sentiments.

Inventory levels are down which is affecting sales.  There are fewer transactions because there is less to sell, which is causing prices to go up.  Word is spreading up North too, as snowbirds and baby boomers are looking to buy now before prices go higher.

Don’t worry; it’s still a very healthy market.  We still have buyers offering $10,000 less on bank owned properties even though there are more than 10 offers on the property and the bank is countering at highest and best.  Some buyers just have to try even though their Realtor is advising and educating them on the market.  I always get a kick out of buyers that call me because they’re disgusted with their Realtor.  Upon asking a few questions inevitably the buyer tells me they’ve made offers on several properties but they never win any of the bids.

Usually the buyer isn’t following the advice of their Realtor.  If they are, perhaps the buyer just isn’t strong enough to compete with other buyers in that price range.  If the buyer feels they’re strong, ie. Writing cash offers, decent money in escrow, few contingencies, and offering above asking price and still not getting the properties, perhaps they need an experienced agent who knows how to structure offer to compete.  We’ve written many articles in the past that may help your agent understand what a seller considers when looking at multiple offers.  Check out our Blog archives at http://blog.topagent.com

Lee County Homes Sold by Price Points
SW Florida Homes Sold by Price Points

Look at the price point’s chart. Foreclosure sales are down across the board as foreclosure inventory is down significantly. Conventional sales are up as prices have risen since 2009.  Many more sellers can afford to sell today than 3 years ago.

You’ll also notice more sales in the higher price ranges.  This is because there is less inventory to sell in the under $100,000 range, so those sales are off.  That’s pushing buyers into higher price ranges.  Additionally, the economy is faring just a little better in some places.  Buyer sentiment is stronger, and buyers in the higher price ranges realize if they want an investment or place to eventually retire, buying sooner rather than later may be their least expensive option.  These higher priced homes seem like such a bargain compared to 6 years ago, and who doesn’t enjoy a good bargain, even if you’re rich?

We look forward to reviewing the February numbers once they’re out.  We think February will be another strong month, and already March has been super busy.  It should be, as March is the height of season.  It’s also the month of St Paddy’s day, so with a little luck of the Irish, our market might just end the season in fine shape.


The Florida Association of Realtors released official sales numbers this week and the numbers came in just about where we expected.  Last week wrote that by our calculations November sales were relatively flat versus October sales, and the official numbers bear that out.

Officially we had 6 more single family home sales in SW Florida in November than October.  October had 1,016 sales and November had 1,022.  Single family home prices were flat too.  Median prices were $90,000 in October and $89,800 in November.

SW Florida Real Estate Single Family Home Prices
SW Florida Median Sale Prices Single Family Homes

We are seeing a rise in pending sales as banks and title companies are struggling to get these files closed.  Closings are becoming trickier as homeowners associations are trying to collect as much or more than the law will allow and this delays closings.  Municipalities are trying the same thing with code violations, lot mowing fees, utilities, etc.  These tactics are really delaying closings.  With cash strapped governments it’s no wonder they’re trying to squeeze every dollar they can as tax revenues have declined.  They sell it as cleaning up the neighborhood and neighborhood stabilization, but money is the root and certain municipalities are much worse than others, and everyone in the industry knows exactly who they are.

These tactics do collect more revenues for government, but they also cause deals to fall through and properties to sit on market months longer, and we don’t believe this helps stabilize a neighborhood.  One of these days we’ll have to have the News Press do an expose on these tactics.

Statewide median sale prices of single family homes were down 5% and sales were down 15% versus last year.  Lee County sales were down 33% from last year, and prices were down 6%, so our price declines from last year are in line with the state, but our sales have been affected more radically.  This can be because our area is harder hit than others with foreclosures, and because of delays in the process by HOA’s and municipalities we discussed earlier.

We’re really going to be on the lookout in the 1st quarter of 2011 for what the banks do with inventory.  Evictions are due to start up again January 3rd with several of the large banks and Fannie Mae properties. Many of the large banks are resuming foreclosures again too, and the real test is going to be just how many are actually left to foreclose upon.

Our suspicion is we’re definitely in the second half of this crisis, and the worst is behind us, at least in SW Florida.  The rest of the country has more to go as we’ve already weeded out many of the investors from the boom, and the mortgage rests will affect other states more than us.  The real question is how many people are barely hanging on, and can they hold on long enough for the economy to recover.  This is the wildcard that will affect how many future foreclosures we see.  The sooner we clear out the foreclosures the quicker our real estate market can respond.  This, along with an economic recovery will do wonders to fixing a lot of ails.

Have you noticed that the weather has been dreadful this year up North?  A lot of northerners have, and SW Florida is looking pretty good in December.  Our prices are low, our weather is much better, and in a blizzard visions of sunshine, warm weather, beaches, and all the good stuff we enjoy seems worth looking into.  What used to be a dream can turn into a plan quickly, and we’re already seeing it.

Our market may be down, but it won’t be forever.  We just have too much good going for us to stay down for long, and this flat market could take off.  We’re just one blizzard away from several plane loads of buyers, so buckle up and let’s see what Santa and 2011 brings us.

Last week we focused on the overall State of the Lee County real estate market, and this week we’ll continue with that theme, but zero in a little bit on how certain price ranges are doing. 

Much of our inventory has decreased in the last year as buyers have been scooping up properties faster than the system can bring them to the market. This is the reason inventory levels in certain price ranges have shifted to a seller’s market.  Last year at this time inventory level in the 0-$100k range was 20.26 months.  Today that number is down to 4.23 months.  Last year we talked about market equilibrium being somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-9 months.  6 Months seems about right to us.  As you can see, this price range has fallen from nearly 2 years to less than 6 months illustrating it has swung from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market. 


Home Inventory by Price Range 2009
Home Inventory by Price Range 2009

Buyers many times read national headlines and don’t realize they’re competing with other buyers for the best properties, and most of these properties are on the market only a few short days.  Practically any property in the 0-$100k range will have multiple offers and sell at or above asking price.  In fact, last year 8,051 single family homes sold at or above asking price.  That’s simply an amazing statistic. 

The next hot price range is of course $100-200k. Last year we had 12.06 months supply of inventory.  This was the hottest price range last year, and it’s still hot this year.  Today it stands at 6.23 months, almost half of last year.  As you can see, the 0-$200k range is on fire.  Last year we had a lot of Canadians coming down and buying properties in SW Florida.  In the 2nd half of 2009 we noticed more interest from Americans from up north, and this season we’re already seeing many baby boomers arriving and seeking out their piece of paradise.  Combining that with the brutal winter our northern friends are experiencing and we think this season stands a chance to eat into the $200k+ price ranges going forward. 

Last year the $200-300k range stood at 15.33 months, and this year it’s down to 10.03 months.  The $300-400k range last year stood at 18.05 and this year it’s at 15.65, so its better, but the changes aren’t improving as much the higher we go.  The $400-500k range improved by 3 months, down from 24.17 last year to 21.3 this year. 

What’s interesting to look at in this hot market is the $500-1 Million price range, and the $1million+ range.  Inventory levels actually went up in both ranges, and up dramatically in the $1 million price range.  This suggests to us a few things.  Sellers in the higher ends of the market have held out longer than most as the affluent have had the means to ride out a poor economy longer.  However, the drag on the economy may be catching up even to the highest of income earners.  Secondly, there are fewer buyers in the higher ranges, with lots of inventory to choose from. 

To put this in perspective, in the 0-$100k range, there are 3,530 active listings on the market, but there were 10,021 sales last year in that range.  In the $1 Million+ range there are 697 active listings, but only 124 sales all last year. 

Top end sellers may “Need” more out of their home, but as we’ve seen with the foreclosure crisis, what a seller needs is irrelevant to what buyers will pay.  Higher end sellers may not qualify for a short sale because they have other assets, so they may not be motivated to take losses and are testing the market.  Oh, they surely may wish to sell, but not motivated to sell where the buyers are.  Affluent sellers may have the ability to wait the market out longer, even if a property is draining them financially. 

So, $500k+ buyers are in the driver’s seat and can buy the best value properties, and buyers in the lower price ranges are competing against each other to snap up today’s lower prices.  Prices across the county have begun to rise, and buyers are responding by studying the market and moving off the fence.  2010 should be an exciting year to watch.  Download the entire 2010 State of the Market Report free at http://www.topagent.com/

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.