This week we thought it would be neat to focus on a community and tell a bit more about it to readers, and then we thought, why stop at one community?  We’ve highlighted select communities in the past, so we thought we’d focus on a topic of interest we get asked a lot by home buyers.  This week’s article will focus on gated communities in Fort Myers.

Gated Communities in Fort Myers

Fort Myers offers many gated communities.  Buyers enjoy the many benefits of living in a gated community.  Traffic tends to be less in a gated community because access is restricted.  Neighbors who live in the community tend to be more mindful of people walking or kids playing because they live there and know the roads.

Another benefit is increased security.  While gates do not guarantee a crime free neighborhood, it does make it more difficult for thieves to burglarize a home and have a getaway car.  Some thieves will move on as they don’t want to risk having their license plates video taped or recorded by a manned guard.  If a thief really wants in though, a gate is no match.  Banks get robbed and so do jewelry stores with elaborate systems, so a gate cannot guarantee security.

Neighbors tend to have a better handle on who lives in the community though.  If a car or van doesn’t look like it belongs, it stands out and neighbors watch.  In non-gated communities it’s harder to tell which cars belong.

Gated communities add a sense of privacy many home buyers are looking for.  You don’t have the general public driving your streets any hour of the day or night unless they’re invited in.

Many people with Ex’s enjoy gated communities knowing their Ex can’t just pop in unexpectedly.  The same goes for friends up North who just show up when they’re in town.  Restricted access can be a good thing when you’re not in the mood for guests.

One disadvantage of living in a gated community is that people can’t drive around and see what’s for sale, or even what the community offers.  If you want to sell you have to market the home a lot more to find that buyer.

We’ve created an easy way to search for gated communities in Fort Myers, or anywhere else in SW Florida for that matter as well.  Simply go to Topagent.com and click on the Gated Communities page in the Communities section.  Our MLS search site makes it easy to search for things like gated communities, waterfront homes, homes with pools, condos, you name it.

Of course while you’re browsing at your leisure you can also speak with a professional at the Ellis Team to make sure you’re on the right track. 239-489-4042.  We’re here to help you online, over the phone, or in person.  We know that home buying or selling decisions sometimes occur over time.  Many buyers and sellers need to see their options first and see if it even makes sense to contemplate such a move.  Others know they’re ready now and are just waiting for the right property to open up.  Either way you’re covered and we’ll help you no matter where you are in the process.

We’re here for you whether you’re buying today or just thinking about it down the road.  Always call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042. We’ll handle you with care!  Or visit our website at Topagent.com

Search the MLS for Gated Communities in Fort Myers

If you’re thinking about selling your home in SW Florida and would like to find out what your your home is worth we can help.

 

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Check out Bella Casa Condominiums.  We’ll be happy to show you this project in South Fort Myers

By Brett Ellis

RE/MAX Realty Group – Ellis Team

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr

Fort Myers, FL 33907

239-489-4042

Perhaps you’ve wondered what your home is worth in today’s market but you didn’t want to go to all the trouble of hiring an appraiser or interviewing real estate agents to find out.  Now there is an easier way to find out what your home is worth online.Find Out What Your Home is Worth Online

Find Out What Your Home is Worth Online

Simply go to www.swfloridahomevalues.com and enter your property address.  The system will analyze your home and you can verify that it has your square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, and year built correct. If anything is not correct you can make changes.

Once you confirm details it will calculate your home’s value.  Sometimes we find it is low and your home is actually worth more than what the report says.  Others times it’s been high, but in any event we hope it’s a good ball park estimate based upon what’s selling in your neighborhood. Automated Selling Price Analysis SW Florida real estate The system should even update you when more recent home sales hit the market and it’s able to recalculate your price based upon the new sales.  We had a seller who didn’t like the initial price but once some higher priced sales came in they were ready. The system alerted them to those new closed sales.

No online computer system is ever perfect.  This tool is designed for those considering selling to weigh their options to see if the possibility even makes sense.  If you’re struggling to make a decision, or need more information on how the process would work, there is no substitute for having a top professional come out and value your home and talk you through how the process would work.

We know you may want to purchase another property but can’t until you sell your current home.  Many sellers don’t want to move twice so timing is also an issue.  We can present you with some options that might make it easier for you to decide.  Taking advantage of today’s low interest rates might be an advantage for doing this now versus waiting.

Often times sellers will wait for their home to go up in value all the while the next home they want to purchase is also going up in value.  Waiting may be a wash on values, but it could cost you when interest rates increase.

Our new Marketing in High Definition program has been a big hit with sellers.  For more information go to www.HomesInHD.TV  We are now filming homes inside and out using High Definition Video. We also use a drone to film overhead video in High Definition and take amazing aerial photos.  Buyers love the new technology and really study our listings.  Google loves the new format and ranks videos higher than standard virtual tours. We still do standard virtual tours that generate a lot of traffic; we’ve just added the new High Definition Video for even greater visibility and buyers are responding.

Here is an example of a home in Reflection Lakes we produced in High Definition.

Here is a beautiful golf course home in Olde Hickory we produced in High Definition.

Whether you’re ready to list your home today or just get an update on prices, we’re here to help. To get your home listed and marketed in High Definition simply call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042 or email us at Brett@topagent.com or Sande@topagent.com

To search the MLS visit TopAgent.com  To learn more about Hi Def video for your home visit HomesinHD.TV

Visit our Google+ Business Page
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Search For Homes in Reflection Lakes Fort Myers


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Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

Season felt like it was good but statistically the numbers weren’t coming in like they usually do in the Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate market.  February and March sale prices were flat and this is the time of year they usually rise. We reported that was a trend we wanted to keep an eye on.

Cape Coral real estate market homes closed

Other Factors Influencing the Fort Myers and Cape Coral Real Estate Market:

Another trend we were watching was the weather up North. This past winter was frightful in every aspect and many speculated this would be a boom for SW Florida, including us. The numbers weren’t as strong this season as the weather was dreadful, so some were scratching their heads.

At an Ellis Team meeting a few of our buyer specialists were commenting on how many of our buyers were done with living up North, but the weather was so bad they couldn’t leave. They longed for the day for the weather to improve enough so they could plan a trip down to paradise.

Guess what? Many of them did just that and our sales started rising. The last few days of April and the first week of May were particularly strong, and we haven’t slowed down since. Some of these sales were Northern buyers coming down. Others were local buyers making their move.

Fort Myers Sale Prices 2014 Cape Coral

In any event, we’re starting to see the charts move again. It’s too early to tell if this is a trend as closed sales tend to peak in April and May then simmer back down for the rest of the year. The same is true with prices as Northerners snatch up higher priced homes during season.

We are seeing pending sales going up right now on our team.  Countywide inventory is going down, so this may bode well for home sales going into June and July.  Prices may follow suit, and if this holds true, it bolsters the idea that perhaps 2014 is in for a late season.

Years ago summer was the hottest selling months for single family homes.  We might be returning to that model. Of course, years ago the locals freely bought and sold in the summer months when all the tourists went home because they had more time. Many locals work hard during season and things free up a bit when they go home.

For the last 7 years or so locals weren’t able to buy and sell in the summer because they were under water on their home, or their business hadn’t fully recovered yet.  Now more and more are able to sell as they finally have equity due to rising prices and paying down their mortgage. Each year going forward we may see more and more eligible locals in the market.

At the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group we’ve been listing homes and they’ve been selling quickly.  This could be a good sign. We’ve been excited to show off our new Hi Definition marketing program and we’ve been having trouble keeping our new listings long enough to video them. We do have some videos coming to the market you can check out at www.HomesinHd.TV

We are seeing increased activity from online leads as well.  I just went in and searched our online MLS search site and we had 17 new registrations in the past 2 days, so that’s about 8.5 per day.  That’s a healthy number signing up to view homes in MLS so that may be a sign there’s increased interest in the SW Florida real estate market as well. If you’d like to search the MLS, go to Topagent.com

We hope everyone has a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend, and remember Memorial Day is a day to remember US armed forces who died serving our country.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

To search the MLS visit TopAgent.com  To learn more about Hi Def video for your home visit HomesinHD.TV

Visit our Google+ Business Page
Search the MLS

Search For Homes in Reflection Lakes Fort Myers


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Feel free to view our Virtual Tours .

Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

Marketing Homes in Hi Definition in SW Florida

The Ellis Team is proud to announce a new way to market real estate in SW Florida.  We are now Marketing Homes in Hi Definition in SW Florida. Technology has changed the way people view TV shows, movies, and content over the Internet.  Today companies like Netflix stream TV shows and movies direct to people’s homes or mobile devices.  People’s expectations are changing about how they want content delivered.

Marketing Homes in Hi Definition in SW Florida

For the first time the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group is bringing cutting edge technology to SW Florida and combining it with High Definition video and studio production editing.

The Ellis Team already ranks very high on Google.  Video is 53 times more likely to generate 1st page Google ranking over any other form of content.  Video provides a 41% higher click-through rate on universal results pages, and keeps visitors on your websites 6 times longer.

Videos 53 times more likely to generate 1st page Google ranking
Video Adds Higher Click-Through Rate

73% of sellers say they are more likely to list with an agent who uses video.  However, YouTube is filled with videos shot from cell phone cameras and terrible audio.  Consumers expect studio quality video, and when you provide that companies like Netflix flourish.

We think quality is important.  Video also allows us to tell a story about your home.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth?

We’ve added a drone to allow us to take full motion high definition video of your home and community.  The drone adds perspective we just can’t achieve from the ground.  We’re able to show the lake behind your home, the golf course, property boundary lines, and proximity to landmarks.  Buyers love seeing homes from a bird’s eye perspective.  We also take stunning aerial photos from the drone.

We don’t stop there.  We add professional high definition video from inside the home as well.  Lastly, we compile the inside and outside video footage into a well produced video and upload it to various websites and YouTube.

We’re adding a Featured Homes in HD playlist to our YouTube channel which is already one of the most viewed YouTube channels in SW Florida.  To date we’ve received over 200,000 video views and this number will grow quickly with the addition of High Definition Property Videos.

We’re not the first to use a drone.  We’ve been marketing our properties using video for years to great success, so video is nothing new.  What is new is combining cutting edge technology like the drone with professional video inside the home, and professional video editing to create the ultimate viewing experience for a buyer.

We think showcasing homes in High Definition is the Future of Real Estate™.  Our new website explaining the program can be found at www.HomesinHD.TV

Each video takes some time to film and produce, so if you’d like your home featured in HD, call us now so we can get you on the list.  Of course we’ll advertise your home in the newspaper and all the various places we advertise, and we think you’re going to love the new high end video we’re bringing to SW Florida.

To search the MLS visit TopAgent.com  To learn more about Hi Def video for your home visit HomesinHD.TV

Visit our Google+ Business Page
Search the MLS

Search For Homes in Reflection Lakes Fort Myers


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Fort Myers Real Estate Agent

Now Marketing Homes in Hi Definition in SW Florida

SW Florida home sales climbed in March to 1,068 sales for single family homes.  This is down 7.1% from last year but up 37% from February’s home sales figures.  We would say this is good news for the local real estate market as sales are holding up nicely.  We think they could have been higher if there were more listings on the market ready to compete for buyers.

Cape Coral real estate sales prices Fort Myers real estate

In speaking with several real estate agents and new home communities it seems that buyers this year watched the huge price increases we’ve seen over the past few years and many decided it was time to consider new construction.  For many years new construction was priced out of the market because existing homes were far less expensive.  Existing homes were undervalued and new home construction basically had to sit on the sidelines or risk building at a loss.

SW Florida Home Sales and New Construction

With the recent run-up in prices builders can compete again.  This will be news for many sellers in SW Florida as they’re not used to competing with new construction in many years, but those days are back.  Our market was undervalued and had to rise. Now that it has, competitive forces come into play and will temper large price increases going forward.  We may be back to a normal market where we’ll be watching indicators that may affect our market like supply and demand, along with inflation, the economy, interest rates, consumer confidence, insurance rates, and others.

All these forces affect the local and national market.  Because we’re no longer undervalued by a wide margin, and because free money is leaving the scene, and flood insurance rates may rise, the market now must react to natural market forces.  We were insulated the past 5 years.

This market wasn’t a lot of fun on the way down, although it was fun on the way up, but now we’re getting close to market equilibrium.  There is still much room for market growth, but it may need to be sustainable growth based on reasonable market factors.  Most agents would agree it’s actually kind of healthy to get back to a stable growing market.

Even in a stable growing market there will be pockets of sub markets that will thrive and some may struggle. Some areas of town will be hotter than others.  Some subdivisions are still fighting off remnants of short sales and foreclosures, or the association is making up deficiencies left by members that didn’t pay.

Some price ranges have less supply and more demand, and vice versa.  You cannot price your home by how the overall market is doing, just as we can’t price SW Florida based upon how the National market is doing.

If you’re considering selling, it pays to consult an agent who understands the market and what is really taking place.  You don’t need an agent that simply reads the headlines and prices your home based upon where they heard the market is heading.  By the time you read about it in the papers or see it on TV, chances are the market has already shifted.  The market rarely stays in one place for long.

Listing inventory is rising again.  In the next few weeks we’ll be introducing a new system that will really shake things up in the SW Florida real estate market.  We’re not ready to release details just yet, but if you’re considering selling your home, now might be a good time to call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042 or stop by our office at 7910 Summerlin Lakes Dr Fort Myers, FL 33907

We’ll make sure you understand the market forces so you can make a good pricing decision, and you’re going to love the new program coming soon!

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!
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When we show up on listing appointments where the seller was previously listed with another broker we often ask them how they arrived at their price.  Inevitably the answer we receive is the broker priced it that way.  When we look at comparable sales sometimes we find that the home was priced correctly and just not marketed effectively.  Other times we find that the home was overpriced and had no chance of selling.

If Your Home Didn't Sell This Season

If the broker recommended a price higher than the market would allow, it’s not your fault.  Some agents honestly don’t know the market..  Keep in mind a small percentage of agents sell 10 or more homes per year.  In fact, many agents didn’t sell a home last year.  Last time I ran numbers the average agent sold less than one single family home in the previous year.  This tells me that a large percentage of the homes are being sold by a small group of producing agents.  It could be something like the top 15% of all agents sell 80% of all the homes.  You get the idea.

Or, perhaps the listing agent needed listings, so taking over priced listings was the only way they could compete.  You see, each listing generates buyer calls.  The agent who receives the buyer call doesn’t actually have to sell that listing to make money.  They can convert those buyer calls into sales on other listings priced at fair market value.

In fact, the longer they keep that over priced listing the more buyer calls it generates, and potentially the more sales the agent can convert.  Your over priced listing becomes an asset to the agent.

Regardless of whether the agent didn’t know better and took an over priced listing, or used the seller to generate other sales, you the seller lost.  It cost you time and money.  And either way, it’s not your fault, unless:

1. You ignored an experienced agent’s advice and selected a price higher than the market.

2. You interviewed several agents and selected the agent who gave the highest price.

3. You priced your home compared to what other sellers in your neighborhood were asking vs. what they were actually selling for.

4. You became emotionally attached to a price. Perhaps you Need a certain amount. The market only cares about what the home is worth, not what a seller needs out of it.

5. You have the nicest home in the neighborhood.  If we could pick it up and move it you’d probably get more money, but the neighborhood you’re in is probably holding you back.

We may have to reposition your home in the marketplace to account for this.  Selling a home in today’s market isn’t easy.  Prices have climbed to a level recently where buyers have turned off if the list price vastly exceeds value.  Many buyers have decided it’s time to buy new now that used home prices have climbed so much.

Your home may be worth more than you think.  Prices have climbed nicely in the past few years.  It is not however a license to over price your home.  Selling a home is a lot like fishing, and when prices reach a certain point the fish stop biting.  If your home is priced where the fish are it will attract some bites.  If your bait is located 20 feet above where the fish are, the fish don’t even know it’s there, because they’re not looking there.  Fish swim in schools, and so do buyers.  If you have a $200,000 home and price it at $250,000, the $200,000 buyers never go see it.  The $250k buyers might look, but quickly realize it’s not what they’re shopping for.  You miss the market both ways.

If your home didn’t sell, it may not be your fault.  But then again, you are the one paying the price.  It pays to find a Top Agent and listen.  The market will speak.  A Top agent will help you understand the market before it’s too late.  If you have a home to sell, or if you tried once already and gave up, perhaps it’s time to call in the professionals.  Always call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX  239-489-4042     www.TopAgent.com

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Some might look at recent SW Florida single family home sales numbers and wonder if the market has peaked as sales have slacked off a bit, but let’s not jump to conclusions just yet. This week we take you inside the numbers and explain what’s happening and what we’re keeping our eyes on.

Are SW Florida Real Estate Sales in Trouble

Homes Sold single family Bonita Springs Estero Florida Fort Myers Cape Coral

As you can see from the Homes Sold graph, sales are down. This is somewhat expected as inventory is down and agents have been selling more new construction to satisfy home buyer’s needs. 2013 sales numbers dipped in January but rebounded nicely going into season leading up to a fantastic May. This could happen again this year.

Should sellers beware? Maybe. While you can definitely see the seasonality of home sales, there is no doubt the rising home sale prices will limit buyers, as will rising interest rates. Rates are expected to rise even more in 2014.

Pending home sales graph Lee County Florida

We also looked at pending sales in December 2013 and January 2014 as this is an indicator of potential future closings in the coming months. Pending sales were down 16.4% year over year in December, and down 6.4% in January. Again, this is a short time frame to look at, and some of this could be attributed to limited inventory, however it could impact reported closings going forward.

We really want to look at how February sales come in which won’t be reported for another 3 weeks or so. Prices will probably be higher and sales could be lower than last year. January thru May sales set the trend for all year, so we’re keeping a close eye on trends these first few months.

Yes, we’ll probably have rising prices. Prices rose again in January to a $180,000 median price and a mean average of $301,035. That’s up roughly 25% or better for both numbers over last year.

Are rising prices limiting sales? Is limited inventory holding back sales? Is new construction competing with existing home sales again? Are rising interest rates limiting sales? Nobody knows the answers yet. We’ve identified some indicators to watch though.

If you’re a seller, you might want to look at how well your home competes against other similar homes on the market. A few weeks ago we posted on our Blog inventory levels by price range. If you have a $ 1 Million+ home there is currently about a 3 yr supply of homes on the market, so you have to look at what you need to do to sell your home versus waiting 3 years. And what if the market falls within 3 years or more listings come to the market? It could take even longer to sell at reduced prices.

If your home is in the $400-600,000 range, there is about a 1 year supply of homes. Again, it pays to know your competition and price accordingly. Our market has been doing well the past few years. 2014 looks to be another good year, but don’t take price gains for granted. There is no law that says prices will rise forever. New construction is now competing against you again for the first time in years. SW Florida may return to a more moderate market, which is probably best anyway.

We’ll keep tracking the trends, and as always, if you need assistance buying or selling in SW Florida, Always Call the Ellis Team. 239-489-4042 or www.TopAgent.com

Good luck and happy buying/selling!


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Last year we did an article about Realtors using video in their business.  Back then about 14% of Realtors were using video.  We suspect today that number has grown a bit as more and more people are watching videos in their travel time and in between moments of their life on their smart phones and tablet devices. Today we’d like to update that story with Realtors Using Video Revisited

 

Realtors Using Video Revisited
Ellis Team YouTube Channel

Last month alone our YouTube channel www.Youtube.com/brettellisfl  viewers watched 11,792 minutes of video.  That’s over 196 hours of video.  Of that traffic, mobile apps and direct traffic accounted for 51% of that activity. Germany was the leading country after the United States to watch our videos.  Brazilians watched for the longest average duration followed by the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Austria.

While it helps to have professional video and audio it isn’t required.  Putting something at least decent up is better than nothing as long as the content is compelling and informative.

One thing you’ll notice about our YouTube channel is that we’ve updated the skin to YouTube’s standards.  This is a recent change Google has adopted.  They want pages to look similar across platforms and devices.  We created the beach graphics that have a similar theme to our Google+ Business Page. You can find a link to our Google+ page from Topagent.com if you’d like to see an example.  They also requested different sizes so they’ll look good on a desktop computer, a tablet or iPad, and a Smartphone.

Google is rewarding those who adopt their standards in local searches.  For instance, if you search Fort Myers Real Estate on Google the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group comes up in their listed map search as well on various pages.  The results in the various pages change all the time, but the map listings have stayed fairly constant.

We believe using video heavily has helped how Google rates websites.  We still do many other things as Google doesn’t rely on any one thing.  However, by doing many things and using video helps raise the bar and in Google’s algorithms separates serious Realtors from less than serious.  Google’s term is authority.  They are trying to identify authority and reward websites that provide authority.

In addition to SW Florida real estate updates published on our YouTube channel, we have a separate YouTube source where we post our property videos.  Video is playing an increasingly larger role in real estate searches.  Some buyers are searching for agents and properties on YouTube and skipping the search engine process altogether.

Look no further than teenagers today.  They don’t search on computers much.  They do search YouTube videos all day long, or do mobile searches on the phone.

Agents today must change they way they market to reach today’s buyers.  If you think teenagers are the only ones searching on mobile devices, just look around and watch people.  Our analytics tell us who is searching, from where, and how long on our websites.  The results will astonish.

Our advice would be, if you want to attract more customers for your listings, step outside the box and try new things.  Ask successful agents where they’re finding buyers today.  Look around and observe people yourself, and if you see a niche, jump on it.  We’re always looking for new ways to reach buyers and sellers, and if the market shifts in the future, (and it will) we’ll be searching for ways to capture that demand.

So get out there and take some video and post it online.  If it has decent audio and video, you’ll be glad you did.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting/Selling!!!!

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Last week we reported that prices were up in March over last year’s numbers and listings were down, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

This article won’t tell the whole story either as no one article could, however we would like to dig a little deeper and explain some factors influencing the market.

Over the years foreclosures and short sales weighed down the market, and in fact prices became artificially too low as homes were selling well below replacement cost. This has impacted builders not being able to build until recently. Prices have risen such that some home builders are able to build again.

Inside the SW Florida Real Estate Market Numbers

 

As you can see from the graph, traditional sales picked up 8.2% while foreclosures fell 34.5% and short sales fell 45.1% This has led to an increase in prices as the artificial factors influencing prices to the down side are drying up. Median sale prices for traditional sales are up 9.5% over March 2012 numbers and foreclosure prices are up 18.9%. Both pale in comparison to the 42.7% increase in the media sale price of a short sale. You can see the downward pricing pressure has abated, and the rising tide is lifting all boats, even distressed sales.

Estero, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers and Cape Coral home sales by price range
Home Sales by Price Range

Inside the SW Florida Real Estate Market Numbers

If we dig deeper and look at closed sales by price range you’ll quickly notice homes priced under $100,000 are down sharply. That’s not because there isn’t demand but rather limited supply as prices have outgrown this category.

You’ll probably notice the biggest winner is the $250,000-$300,000 category as sales jumped 43.7% in this range alone. Sales are down in the $150,000-$200,000 range simply because it’s getting harder to find those homes on the market. Most of these same homes have graduated into the over $200,000 range from last year.

Most all price ranges saw increases except for the over $1 Million category. Even though the overall market is improving, the overall economy remains a drag on expensive luxury homes. There is still a market, but not a market in which to over-price. All price ranges are sensitive, and the $ 1 Million+ market is no exception. We would expect to see some increases in the over $1 Million range going forward.

Typically activity increases the first half of the year and data is only month by month through March. April may turn in some really good numbers too. Many sales occur through Easter and Easter was early this year. Visitors seemed to remain heavy at the beaches and Sanibel and Captiva even after the heavy selling season. This could bode well for tourism dollars and help local residents who run businesses here.

In April, May and June we’ll see the final results of those February and March sales, so stay tuned. Listing calls are picking back up again, at least here at the Ellis Team. Inventory is down so now is a good time to sell even if we don’t have as many visitors here looking today as we did a few months ago. Many may come back in the summer and complete a purchase because their interest was piqued back in season.

If you’ve got a property to sell, please give us a call, we can help. Our marketing works. In some price ranges we literally have difficulty finding more than 2 or 3 properties that match buyer’s criteria. We can be reached at 239-489-4042 or visit our website at Topagent.com

Today the Hertz Corporation announced it is relocating its world headquarters to Lee County Florida which will bring over 700 jobs to SW Florida at an average wage of $102,000.  This will help an already improving real estate market in the Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Estero real estate markets.

Everyone always asks how prices are doing in SW Florida.  The next question is usually along the lines of how are distressed sales such as foreclosures and short sales affecting the market.

Short Sales, Foreclosure Sales, Traditional sales SW Florida
Traditional Sales Vs Distressed Sales

We have new numbers just released that will help answer these two questions.  Sales have been falling the past several months as they usually do this time of year.  This is also influenced by fewer listings on the market.  We have demand but limited supply.  Traditional sales are down as well as short sales and foreclosures.

As you can see from the attached chart, we had 158 foreclosure sales for single family homes in Lee County in August.  This is down from the peak in March of 209 this year.  Short sales are also down from their peak in March.  It seems March was the peak for all three types of sales.

SW Florida is in that no-man’s land we predicted several years ago.  Our prediction was inventory will be less and prices will rise, but not enough to encourage many homeowners who are underwater but hanging on.  Our market is set to take off on the price-wise to the upside, but one thing is holding it back.

In a word, it’s the Economy.  All signs point to upward price pressure.  We have demand and limited supply, but incomes are not rising and we don’t have jobs to support enough full time end users with good enough credit.

SW Florida is littered with people who would like to purchase but have suffered a foreclosure or short sale themselves, so they are precluded from getting a mortgage for awhile.  Even if they have regained full employment it’s difficult to get financing.

Many people are still hurting in SW Florida, and many more moved away perhaps never to return.  When Florida’s economy returns we have the potential for some nice price appreciation.

Mind you, we think inventory will increase as prices rise.  People who are barely underwater may not be with future price increases.  So many are locked into a home that no longer meets their needs, but they can’t sell right now without facing difficult decisions.  As prices rise options will open up for some.  Others are so far underwater it may be some time before they’ll be able to sell.

Florida still has sunshine, the beaches, year round golf, and provides for an active lifestyle year round that is attractive to baby boomers who wish to retire or spend time in a nice climate as a second home.  As the national economy improves more service sector jobs will be required.  Along with those jobs typically comes construction jobs, and with that the cycle develops.  We’ve seen the beginnings of construction jobs here in SW Florida, but they’re peanuts to what they were.

The good news is Florida is a desirable place to spend time or live, and SW Florida is amongst the best places in Florida.  We live in paradise, and the future looks bright.  Our market is still healing while all signs look to positive gains.  The gains are when, not if.  Time will answer how fast the market improves, and we believe the economy will dictate the pace.

If you’re looking for your piece of paradise, you could wait, but why?  Prices are going down.  They will rise, and the investment alternatives in stocks, bonds, and even precious metals are dicey.  Returns are just hard to come by without taking huge risks, and the paltry returns usually aren’t worth the risk. Real estate may be the least risky and offer more to the upside.  At least you can rent out or live in a house.  It’s hard to rent out or live in a commodity.

If you’d like help securing your piece of paradise, feel free to call the Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group 239-489-4042. We present you with your options and help you make a good decision for you.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

We’re testing a New MLS Search Site.  Click to view properties throughout SW Florida and let us know if you like it better than our Leecountyonline.com Search Site.