Like clockwork Lee County summer real estate sales are heating up.  So why aren’t Lee County home sellers jumping for joy?  Many home sellers are happy, because their home was on the market all season and now it’s selling.  Others are happy because their home just sold while their neighbor’s home sits on the market.

This past season we saw many sellers priced at one point while the buyer’s perception of value was at another.  In many cases, the seller’s perception exceeded the buyer’s perception by 10% or more.  Sellers didn’t want to accept this reality, so homes sat on the market.  You’ll always have some sellers that refuse to accept today’s market prices, but when you have many, it causes the market to take note and listen.

The market always speaks to us.  It’s up to us if we’re ready to listen.  We’re humans, and we don’t always want to accept change.  For those that accept change and react quicker, the opportunity is the greatest.

Lee County Summer Real Estate Sales Are Heating Up 7 Day Market Watch

Right now, home sales are brisk $300,000 and below.  This makes sense because that’s where the bulk of the buyers are.  That’s what more people can afford. We just pulled up the 7-day market watch from MLS, and we notice there more pending sales (379) than new listings (365).  You’ll notice too there were more price reductions (385) than either.  These price reductions are leading to more pending sales as sellers get their home down to where the buyers are.

Selling a home is kind of like fishing.  If you place your bait 20 ft above where the fish are, you get nothing.  Lowering the bait 10 ft above where the fish are still yields nothing.  Fish tend to swim in schools.  You’ve got to place the bait where the fish are, not where you want them to be.  Pricing a home is the same.

If you price your home above where the buyers are, they don’t even look at it.  Typically, you should expect an offer with every 4-5 showings.  If you’re not getting offers, your home is probably still overpriced.  Sellers say, “We just reduced our price $10,000” so that can’t be it.  It can.  If you were $30,000 overpriced, that $10,000 reduction still places you 20 ft above the fish.  Until you get down where the fish are, you’ll attract few showings and little to no offers.

Lee County Summer Real Estate Sales 7 Day Market AveragesAre Heating Up

Of the 379 new pending sales, the median price was $249,000.  The average price was $335,540.  This confirms the $300,000 range and below as being the sought-after part of the market.  If you have a home $400,000 or more on the market right now, you’re probably still fishing for the correct asking price.  You may be wondering why buyers just are not accepting your price.  Your neighbor’s home may be sitting on the market too.  Occasionally one will sell, and you’ll be wondering what they did to attract that buyer.

It takes aggressive marketing.  Aggressive marketing alone won’t work.  Together with your agent, you’ll need to adjust that bait until you find where the fish are.  When you do, it will sell.  The SW Florida real estate market isn’t suffering from a lack of buyers.  The buyers are not aligned with some sellers’ asking prices.  When the seller gets down to where the buyers are, the buyers are biting.  This past week or so the Ellis Team has placed 7 properties under contract.  Some agents believe the summer is the slow time, but that’s a bad assumption.  We have buyers in all price ranges.  We just closed a property over $1 Million.

The agents out there hustling are selling homes.  It’s a great time to sell, so long as you’re willing to price your home at the market. Isn’t that always the case though?  Together with your agent you should ask yourself, “Am I willing to price my home at a price that will cause it to sell?”  If the answer is no, then why are you putting it on the market?

If you’d like to talk to Sande or Brett Ellis about selling your home, call us at 239-489-4042 Ext 4.  Next week we hope to share some exciting news that may make your home stand out and sell faster. Find out what your home is worth online.

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Think back to when cable TV was first introduced.  It changed the television viewing habits of millions of Americans, however the big 3 networks were still king in ratings.  Then came along a 4th network.  Today there are hundreds of channels, and while the Big 4 networks still maintain good ratings on certain shows, there is much competition for the eyeballs of viewers.

Content Isn’t King Trust is King

Just a few decades ago a great real estate marketing campaign consisted of postcard mail outs, newspaper ads, and maybe some image advertising like a bus bench or car wrap.  Today image advertising has its place, but it’s not going to be the single thing that attracts buyers like it did in the past.

Buyers search for credibility and content.  Listing sites like www.LeeCountyOnline.com have all the listings and updates every 5 minutes.  Others like Realtor.com, Homefinder.com, HGTV, Zillow, Trulia, and others also compete in the online space.  These are sources buyers search for content

Others like Realtor.com, Homefinder.com, HGTV, Zillow, Trulia, and others also compete in the online space.  These are sources buyers search for content.

Content is what gets people interested, but it’s not necessarily what makes them purchase.  Some people believe that Content is King, but we believe Trust is King.  Trust is the difference between having general interest and actually pulling the trigger.

Imagine you had a son or daughter going off to college in a large town clear across the country.  Campus housing is full, so you must find her an apartment.  Parents are typically concerned about costs, convenience, safety, and terms.

Can she walk to classes or must she drive?  If she must drive, is there parking available.  How much will apartments cost?  What are the terms?  How long is the lease?  If she goes to school 9 months she may not need a 1 year lease.  Is it a safe neighborhood?

Searching for a home or 2nd home is not much different.  Buyers ask similar questions.  They want to know the neighborhood, it’s proximity to shopping and things to do, and if it’s a good investment.  They want to know average prices, historical changes, and if the area is likely to improve.  They want to know what the job market looks like and if the area is likely to go up in value or decline.  People want to make a sound investment.

All these questions go to trust.  You have to trust the person you’re dealing with.  All the computers in the world can’t answer the simple fundamental question.  What does your gut tell you?

People search for content, but they buy with trust.  This is why these portals can create interest, but it’s the person behind the portal who answers the emails or answers the phone that makes the difference.  If people don’t have a good feel for the area or trust their gut instinct, they won’t buy no matter how good of a deal it may seem.

Yes, our team participates and pays big dollars for our website and the big portals.  We appreciate the interest these sites create.  We spend a lot more money that most to create that interest, both online and in print.  By the way, print is not dead.  You’re reading this now in the newspaper.

The point is our team takes great care to forge a bond of trust with each customer.  We don’t care what you buy so long as it matches what’s right for you.  Maybe you’re not ready to buy, and that’s OK too.  We seek to listen to you so we can find out you’re your needs are.  We can educate you on our market, but if we fail to listen properly we won’t get to that gut feeling you need.

There’s an old saying that goes “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  We care to get it right, and what’s right is whatever is best for you.  Each customer is different and has different wants and needs.

Let our team help you achieve your dream!  Call us at 239-489-4042 or search online at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

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Reflection Lakes Market Report

We’re also adding Single Property Websites to each of our listings.  Check back as we’ll be adding a lot more.

Check out our newest search for Fort Myers Waterfront Homes With Gulf Access

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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Each year we announce the official SW Florida real estate year end prices which are basically an average for the year of the median sales prices for residential homes in Lee County Florida.  It isn’t the December year end sales figure as sales in any given month can be seasonal and can vary from month to month depending on what closes in any given month.

Year End Prices Rise 86% From Their Lows

Official numbers haven’t been released yet so we calculated the weighted average median price each month and performed the calculation.  I would expect our number to closely resemble the official number if/when it is released.  Sometimes the Board goes back and revises numbers in the past and we didn’t do that.  We also noticed that the monthly official sales total 12,060 sales while the January 2014 release shows there were 12,144 closed sales for the year, so perhaps they’re revising past numbers again.

In future years we’ll just track sales directly from MLS as we’re now on one system.  Back in 2008 we described the year end chart as something like a shark’s fin.  It still looks that way but at least we’re coming out of the downturn nicely.  You can see we clearly have a ways to go before reaching the highs back in 2005, but 2013 sure looks a lot better than the low in 2009.

In fact, we’re 86.09% better than we were at the lows in 2009.  Each week we provide data and graphs on the inventory levels, monthly price gains, market absorption, and much more, and only once per year do we get to break it down like this.

In a rising market it sure is a lot more fun to look at this graph.  Back in 2007 and 2008 people were wondering when the market was going to bottom, and in 2009 we had our answer.  We saw it on a monthly basis and it’s very easy to see looking at in on a yearly basis.

Many sellers are calling us and pleasantly surprised that they’re now able to sell their home due to the price increases.  Unfortunately there are some sellers that refinanced or bought at the top of the market and didn’t put much money down and they’re still upside down and can’t sell yet.  Each passing month adds more potential sellers who can afford to sell if they wish to.

Each year prices have gone up combined with their mortgage going down which has allowed more to become free from their home.  So many felt trapped in their home while they were upside down, so they just waited for the market to respond.

If you’re a seller, the time might be right for you to sell now.  Inventory is still low and we have buyers actively looking for the right home to come on the market.  Interest rates are still low so moving to your next home is affordable now.  It may not be as affordable in the future.  Plus, the future home you hope to buy when your home sells may be going up in value too.

Keep in mind this is a market snapshot.  Not all homes in all prices appreciate or depreciate at the same rate.  It’s important to speak to a professional who can help you with your situation.  Of course, if you’d just like to snoop around on the MLS you can at www.TopAgent.com.  If you’re considering selling, please give us a call at 239-489-4042.  We’re easy to talk to and we never pressure you.  We’re here to present you with your options and let you choose what’s best for you.

 

Good luck and Happy House Selling!
If you’d like to search the market as either a buyer or seller, visit www.Topagent.com If you need extra help we’re always available to talk to you and help you make better decisions. Our phone number is 239-489-4042 Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

To search the MLS for properties go to www.TopAgent.com or give us a call at 239-489-4042 You can even search for waterfront property in Fort Myers, Cape C oral, or all of SW Florida    Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!

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