A recent survey by Realtor.com revealed there are more sellers ready to list their home in 2022 than 2021.  Many sellers were waiting out the pandemic.

Sellers Ready to List Their Home in 2022

Of the sellers ready to make a move in 2022, 65% plan to do so in the next 6 months. Sellers have noticed price gains have slowed which may be prompting the timing in the next 6 months.  More than 1/3 have already researched the value of their home. One of the best places to research the value of your home online is www.SWFLhomevalues.com.  It is not a substitute for an experienced real estate agent or appraisal, but it is one of the best places to start online for Free.

Many Sellers Want Different Features

Many sellers spent more time in the home due to Covid. Last spring, 15% wanted different features in their home. Now that they’ve spent more time in their home, that number has increased to 33%.

Of the sellers planning to list, 42% plan to list for more than they think property is worth. 29% will want a quick closing, so future sellers will have different motivations. Ultimately the market will determine the value, but the seller will set the price.

This was a national survey, and we all know real estate is local. While this may be an indication of how sellers are feeling, what happens in SW Florida may be different.

Best Time Ever to Sell?

We believe now is the best time it has ever been to be a seller. Technically 3 months ago might have been better, but some prices have still drifted upward, and sellers today are no worse off by waiting. 3 to 4 months ago we had more offers per listing, and that drove the price up. You don’t need 25 offers per property today because the price has already been driven up and is not falling. The bidding wars in the past did the dirty work for sellers. Sellers just need enough buyers to maintain what was achieved months ago, and so far, that is the case.

Increasing Demand

Going forward, we see increasing demand. This increased demand may outpace increased supply from sellers which could further drive our market. Many businesses have made the decision to relocate to Florida. Some of these decisions were made in the last few years, and some are being made today.  These relocations take time and do not happen overnight. Someday the rest of the country’s real estate market could cool down while Florida remains hot.

We are astounded at how many buyers are coming in from other states. These are not retirement buyers; they are buyers moving here permanently and working here. They are moving their family here and deciding Florida is not only a nice place to work but also a nice place to live.

Registrations on www.LeeCountyOnline.com have increased. These are people looking for homes. Some are here renting or living with relatives and others are flying here to buy a home to relocate. Having one of the most popular real estate websites in SW Florida allows us to see buyer activity in real-time and witness trends. These national surveys are interesting, and we love to report on them, but they just confirm what we are seeing online.

Sellers Ready to List Their Home

If you own a property in SW Florida and want to know the latest trends in the market, schedule a call with Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-310-6500 We can discuss what we are seeing and how this affects you and your home value.

If you are a buyer, call our home buyer hotline at 239-489-4042 to be connected with a buyer specialist who can help you purchase a property. Our agents are experienced, and experience counts. Unfortunately, we see buyers losing out to other buyers because the agent representing them didn’t have the experience to counsel their buyer on what it takes to write a winning offer. It is not always the highest price offer that wins. Relationships matter too. The Realtor you hire matters now more than ever.

We are here to answer your real estate questions. Good luck, and Happy Selling!

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Is it just me or does it seem like everybody is asking about future home price appreciation rates for SW Florida? Maybe it’s because we are in real estate, but it does seem to be a topic discussed more often.

Future Home Price Appreciation Rates for SW Florida

It is dangerous to predict where the market will go. It tends to go where it wants to regardless of where you want it to or think it should. Zillow recently admitted it cannot predict future home price appreciation rates. If a big company cannot do it, why would anyone think they can?

The truth is nobody can. And yet, all of us have a lot more knowledge than Zillow and could probably do a better job. They tried to analyze home values and future prices on a national scale, and we all know real estate is local. There are some factors in play we have never seen before, so some of the traditional economic truths may not apply 100%.

Positive Factors

The truth is, Florida is desirable to many people across America, like never before. We have always been desirable in terms of sunshine, weather, and no state income tax. Today, it is much more than that.

We are not taking any political stand. All we can do is report what we hear buyers saying.  Buyers moving to Florida feel Governor DeSantis is a rock star and they appreciate the way Florida has handled lockdowns, mandates, and taxes.  I am sure we do not hear from some buyers who would never move here because they disagree, however the net migration into the state speaks for itself.  Going forward, we do not see this changing, and this is a plus for Florida’s housing market.

Florida is open for business and businesses are choosing to move here. We are seeing businesses and work from home families moving to Florida, and this trend should continue as well.

Interest rates are still low. Low rates are good for real estate markets.

Negative Factors

Rates are expected to rise. Rising rates cost the buyer purchasing power, so in a balanced market that eventually effects sellers. We are not in a balanced market or even close to it now.

Vaccine mandates are causing people to lose their jobs.  If the mandates stick in the courts, this could eventually trim the buyer pool as they must live off savings.  Already we are hearing about US savings accounts ballooning $4 Billion during the lockdown and that number is back to even now that stimulus has ended for unemployed in the lockdown.  This should force more to go back to work, and we saw signs of that in the latest jobs report.  If new mandates kick in January 4th, it could change the savings rates.

Inflation is like a hidden tax on consumers.  Many are seeing a rise in paychecks. Those gains are being eaten up by rising gas, food, shipping, housing, automobile, and virtually any other expense you can think of. Inflation is outpacing income.  As companies are forced to raise wages, it increases inflation even more. It is a never-ending cycle that must end, or it will not help the real estate market.

Predicting the Future

As you can see, predicting future home price appreciation rates was never easy, and with new forces in effect it is virtually impossible now.

We see interest rates rising in 2022 so that should be a motivating factor for buyers. We see good things for Florida for the next several years. The jury is still out for the rest of the country. We suspect many markets will do very well while some may lag. If buyers are waiting for home prices to fall off a cliff, they might be sorely disappointed. If sellers are waiting for another year of 20-30% price gains, they might be disappointed too.

When you are ready to buy or sell, Always Call Sande or Brett Ellis at the Elis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to find your home’s value, or www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search the MLS like a pro.

Good luck, and Happy buying and selling!

Zillow iBuyer program shutting down due to many factors announced by the company.  The most glaring is they lost $422 million in the 3rd quarter of this year with expected future losses of $240-265 million in losses just from 4th quarter purchases.

Zillow iBuyer Program Shutting

It turns out scaling an iBuying business isn’t easy as easy as they predicted, and mistakes were made.  2/3 of homes listed by Zillow are listed at prices below what they paid for the homes they bought.  That is not a sustainable business model.  Realtors have complained that the Zillow Zestimate was not always a good judge of value, and it certainly wasn’t a good judge of future values.

Zillow announced it is laying off 25% of its workforce as a result.  Rich Barton CEO of Zillow commented that an unintended consequence of buying homes directly from buyers was the fact that 90% of buyers turned them down.  It wasn’t a pleasant experience angering customers, and that wasn’t the reason they went into this business.

So, what does Zillow leaving the iBuyer space mean to the rest of the market?  We have seen other companies attempt to duplicate Zillow and go on buying sprees.  With Zillow ending this program, will other iBuyers follow suit?

Locally we have worked with iBuyer companies, and not all of them performed by the contract.  Some have forfeited escrow deposits because they did not comply and refused to close.  As a seller, it is scary to think you go to contract and expect the buyer to perform, only to find out the buyer no longer wants the property because their analytics have changed.

Some sellers were willing to sacrifice price for certainty, and now that certainty is gone, how many sellers will be willing to sell at a reduced price?

Top Dollar Realtors

We always encouraged sellers to check with us before accepting an offer.  The Ellis Team is known as the Top Dollar Realtors, so if you are contemplating a sale with an investor or institutional buyer you want to know how much you are giving up for a quick sale.  The problem was for many sellers, they would go to contract at a certain price.  Investor would come back and change the price due to inspection items.  That signed contract no longer seemed like a good deal anymore.

We believe it is important to talk to us no matter who the buyer is.  Some agents are known for fast sales, but not necessarily Top Dollar.  In this market, you can have both, but you must be a skilled negotiator and smart about it.  Accepting an offer the same day may make some sense in certain situations, and not in others.

Each seller has different needs and objections.  Some want or need a fast sale while other want or need Top Dollar.  Like we said, in this market, both are possible, but it is a constant balancing act in some situations.

The Ellis Team Works Differently Than Most Realtors

Brett and Sande work differently than moist Realtors.  We take a counseling approach.  We seek to understand our clients needs and ask questions.  After learning what is most important to our clients, we can offer suggestions based on what we see happening in the streets.

This approach is not used by all, and certainly not in the iBuyer world.  In the iBuyer world, the buyer is your foe.  They want what you have at the least price they can get it for.  The less they pay the more profit when they flip.

Sande and Brett can guide you through the maze of options and discuss what is best for you.  Additionally, new real estate sales contracts went into effect November 1st, and there are some big changes. Working with a full-time Realtor is important, not only for getting Top Dollar, but for all the changes too.

Zillow made drastic changes to their business model, and they are a multi-billion-dollar company.  Don’t you think you need experts looking out for you in changing times?  Always Call the Ellis team 239-310-6500 to get your home sold fast and for Top Dollar, or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com  for the most accurate only price estimates.

Good luck, and Happy Selling!

Southwest Florida home sales prices stabilized in the 3rd quarter. Statistically, homes prices were neither increasing nor decreasing to end the quarter.

Home Sales Prices Stabilized

If you look at the graph, Southwest Florida is subject to seasonality in prices, and we are entering a time when home prices traditionally start climbing again. Covid threw a monkey wrench into the term seasonality.  For the past year and a half, it was hard to tell what season is anymore.

Borders Opening Up

Canadians are finally being allowed back in the country starting in November. While we have seen this announced before it has never really happened like they said. More buyers are flocking to Florida from other higher tax states, so it will be interesting to see how this affects demand going forward.

We are also watching inflation, interest rates, and supply chain issues. Home builders may find it difficult going forward to find components to build homes. Nationwide, we have a shortage of homes and Covid did not help builders build enough homes.  Now that we are seeing worsening supply chain issues, you must wonder what affect this will have on new home prices.

Of course, interest rates have been rising and are expected to rise in to 4% in 2022 by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Rates were about 2.75% not long ago. A 1% rise in rates robs a buyer about 11% purchasing power. When buyers can afford less, they don’t have as much money to bid on homes.

We have an influx of buyers flush with cash and large down payments moving to Florida. This is squeezing out some homebuyers from the process, but not necessarily all buyers and sellers are still getting their price. Instead of having 20-50 buyers bidding on each home we may only have 3-10.

Demand Outpaces Inventory Supply

The graph agrees with what we are seeing on the streets.  Many buyers feel like prices went up so much and they feel a correction is right around the corner.  Home buyers may be disappointed because demand is still stronger than supply. Yes, prices may have moderated and stabilized, but it does not mean prices must come down. In fact, Southwest Florida was undervalued for years and may not be more accurately valued.

The real question becomes, how does the national economy play out in the next year? The other important question is, how does Florida look business wise compared to other states? We cannot answer the first question, but we can tell you home buyers are voting with their pocketbooks.  The vote is in, and Florida is attractive enough to pack up everything and move here. We do not see this trend changing. If anything, it may be picking up steam.

Why Buy Now

As you can see, we have some wildcards in play, and if anyone can tell you how things will play out for certain, they are smarter than we are. What we can say is buyers should buy sooner rather than later, because waiting can cost you. We can also say prices may not come down. They could, but they could also increase due to higher costs and not enough supply.

Why Buy Real Estate Now

This truly is one of those rare moments in time where it can cost both buyer and seller to wait. If you’ve been thinking about making a move, now might be your ideal time. Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-310-6500 and we can talk about your situation.

Or, visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to find out what your home is worth.  To search the MLS like a professional does, check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com Our site is updated every few minutes, so you are looking at the best data.


Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Recent flood insurance changes affect homeowners and buyers and sellers.  Changes went into effect October 1st and already we are seeing some fallout.  Please read this article carefully.  You may be affected, and we have some advice on how to lessen the pain of these changes, especially if you are in a transaction or contemplating one.

Insurance Changes Affect Homeowners and Transactions


Do Not Cancel Your Policy if it Goes Up

Whatever you do, do not cancel your policy because your insurance is going up.  Most will not see their rate increase until their renewal comes due.  If you live in an x zone where insurance is not required, do not cancel either.

Buyers can assume your policy.  Insurance agents have told me some policies have gone from about $1,600 to over $8,000.  The good news is for existing policies, rates can only increase 18% per year, and the buyer can assume.  If you cancel, buyer has to get a new policy, and this may make your home less desirable financially in a buyer’s eyes.

Elevation certificates are pretty much out the window.  If you have one, save it because it could possibly save you a little.  The difference is the National Flood Insurance Program has gone to satellite topography for risk ratings, much like the private insurance has.  They no longer use the elevation certificate to determine risk.

Gone are the days when everyone on the block pays about the same rate.  Newer homes that are built up higher will most likely pay less than the house next door that sits lower.

Your Sale Could be at Risk

Current transactions could be at risk.  Let’s say a buyer qualifies for a home at the top end at $500,000.  This includes interest, taxes, insurance, HOA fees, etc.  If the buyer qualified at their top end at $500k with flood insurance quoted last month at $1,000 and today the new quote is $4,000, the buyer may no longer qualify.

The good news is we work with insurance agents that have access to private flood companies in addition to NFIP.  Some agents don’t like to sell private insurance because they make less money than the national program, so we seek out insurance agents that will.  This service is valuable to our customers.

Even if a buyer assumes a policy and saves money today, eventually that property will see increases over time to adjust for the risk.  We can delay the rise, but over time it will occur.  At 18%, policies will double in price every 4 years until they reach their cap.

Insurance Figures Into Total Cost of Ownership

Much like buyers look at annual costs to join a golf course, buyers will now look at flood and homeowners’ insurance when determining total cost of ownership.  If the buyer is considering 4 homes and one of those homes is significantly less to insure, that may sway the buyer’s decision.  These costs are not a one-time event, they will go on forever.

When the Ellis Team is working with a buyer, we will call an insurance agent to get quotes on each home.  This will be critical to make sure the buyer qualifies for the loan.  If the buyer is paying cash, they still want to know what the property will cost them to insure.

Homeowner’s insurance companies have tightened up on what they will insure and what the rates will be. The main components insurance companies are looking at right now is age of roof, plumbing, electrical wiring and panels, water heater, and HVAC system.  If your home has a shingle roof over 10 years old, be prepared for rate adjustments or cancellations.  Your insurance agent may have other carriers that will insure shingle roof up to 15-20 years, but the rates may be higher.  We are seeing homeowners receive cancellation letters.

It Pays to Work wit a Professional

Buying and selling a home is a complex process.  It pays to work with professionals who know what they are doing.  Hiring a friendly Realtor you met at the ballgame might not be your best choice.

If you are a potential seller, call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-310-6500 We can guide you to your best decision.  Our buyer hotline is 239-489-4042  Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get your home’s value instantly.

Good luck and be sure to or check with your insurance agent or call us for updates on what is happening.  We can recommend a good insurance agent if you need one.

The Ellis Team has landed some new home buyer financing programs that should benefit self employed people, investors, and those with an isolated credit event. We have a lender that can qualify a borrower off bank statements and does not need their tax return. Many self-employed borrowers write-off a lot of expenses which makes it difficult to qualify for a loan.  Banks typically go off net income, not gross income.

New Home Buyer Financing Programs Will Benefit Self Employed Borrowers

New Home Buyer Financing Programs

Now the lender can calculate what you make to repay the loan by what you have in the bank, not what the tax return says. This is big news for some businesses that do well but don’t show a large net profit from the business. Of course, there are restrictions like minimum credit scores, at least 10% down, and a letter from a CPA may be required. We can even use this program on second homes if the buyer puts 20% down. Rates are higher than conventional loans but still pretty good. This program sure beats renting because the business always has write-offs.

We have a new investor program too that lets an investor buy with 20% down and a minimum credit score of 680. This lender can do condos and non-warrantable condos as well. Duplex buyers can buy with as little as a 640-credit score.

Many people have been shutout of the home buying process and programs like these will help bring more people to the table. Of course, if a buyer has income from an employer and meets guidelines, we can get those loans approved through (DU) desktop underwriter which is an automated loan approval.  These loans are fast and easy, and a buyer is good to go shopping.

In a frantic paced market like today it is always best to get pre-approved before you go shopping. A seller will require it anyway. Buyers will lose properties to other buyers without getting their financing in order prior making an offer.

Counseling Approach

The Ellis Team is a little different than most Realtors. We offer a counseling approach. Our buyers find it most helpful for them if we start the process of searching for a home by having a counseling session in our office so we can help them better and faster find their dream home.  Financing is just one step in the process.

Today things are changing at a rapid rate. On October 1st the flood insurance program made some big changes that will affect buyers and sellers. Homeowners insurance is changing quickly too. Throw in big changes to lending guidelines and changing interest rates, and you can see it takes a full-time expert to keep up. Working with an experienced team that understands these changes will help buyers better compete against other buyers. Our knowledge will also help sellers when making financial decisions.

The agent you work with matters. The reputation of the agent you work with and the relationships they have can make the difference whether you win your dream home or lose it to another better prepared buyer.

Better Preparation

Ellis Team buyers and sellers are better prepared and know what to expect in advance. Therefore, we offer the counseling session. It helps to hire the best Realtor you can, but none of that matters if it doesn’t get communicated back with the customer. We wish all our buyers and sellers to be the most informed. A better-informed client results in better financial decisions and success.

You have probably heard horror stories of buyers who cannot land a home. They believe there is too much competition. Maybe so, but often buyers fail to win homes because their offer was not written correctly, or they were not prepared.

Sellers complain that they sold quickly but left money on the table.  Hiring the right Realtor matters more than ever.

Always call the Ellis Team 239-489-4042 for buying or 239-310-6500 for selling.  Or visit our website, www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search all listings or www.SWFLHomevalues.com to find out what your property is worth.

Good luck, and let us know if we can help!

SW Florida August home prices stabilize ending a three month decline in average home prices. Median home prices peaked in May and only slightly declined in July.  Median home prices held steady for August.

August Home Prices Stabilize

We are watching daily inventory counts to see if there is any movement. If anything, inventory has declined since August numbers.  We do not see building inventory and many properties are still receiving multiple offers.

Interest Rates

Today as I write this article the 10-year note stands at 1.529% That number will fluctuate throughout the day.  It has trended up the past month.  For instance, it was about 1.289% a little over a month ago.  The reason we track this financial instrument is because 30-year mortgages are pegged to the 10-year note.  My unofficial formula is adding about 1.6% to whatever the 10-year note is, and it will get you close to current mortgage rates.

That would put us close to 3.125% to 3.25% interest rate, which is about where rates are at with no points.  Rising rates can motivate buyers to buy now, but it also cuts into purchasing power.  Rising rates may not make a difference now as we have more buyers than sellers, but someday it could if the market slows down.


We are also watching the price of oil.  Rising oil is a clue to rising inflation and a barometer of pressures on bond yields which influence interest rates.  As of today, West Texas intermediate crude oil is at $79.  This is up significantly and could lead to more inflation.

If congress passes more unfunded spending in the wake of rising inflation, it could spark interest rates rising faster.  If that happens, all eyes will be on stock markets and real estate markets.  The United States is at a precarious time with our debt to GDP ratio, and any moves could trigger interest rate swings.

If financial markets do swing, the next question is what effect will that have on consumer behavior?  Where will people want to live if they leave their job?  We are also at a critical time with jobs and vaccinations.  The federal government is mandating all health care employees be vaccinated or health care providers will lose their Medicare funding.  No hospital or large provider can afford to do that.  The question is. How many people will quit or be let go from their jobs in health care?

It is not just healthcare either.  Many teachers are facing the same dilemma.  In New York alone, we have heard reports of 150,000 teachers at risk of losing their job.

Vaccine Mandates Effect on Real Estate

If the mandates stick, will these people stay where they are or make a move?  Florida has been a popular destination.  With so much uncertainty, it will be fascinating to watch how these factors play out.  In any such transitions, there are always winners and losers.  What effect this will have on Florida and our real estate market remains to be seen.

Rising rates tend to temper the market.  Changing demographics can further exacerbate a declining situation or moderate losses, depending on where you live.

For anyone to tell you they can predict the future right now would be absurd.  All we can do is open a window into our thinking and show you some of the factors we are looking at.  We have a list of 7 key indicators we will be tracking.

One thing is for sure.  Ellis Team clients will always have the latest information on what we are seeing.  We feel it is our duty to buyers and sellers to have our latest research.  It is part of why people hire us.  We do not mind sharing some of this research with News Press readers as we feel the public should be informed.

If you are interested in selling, always call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-310-6500.  We can discuss what we are seeing and how this will affect your property value.  For a free online instant property valuation, visit www.SWFLHomevalues.com Our system will update you every month the value of your home.

The Ellis Team looks forward to speaking with You!

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Home sales fall behind 2020 levels in August for the first time this year.  Is this a sign of a slowing real estate market, or simply lack of inventory?

Home Sales Fall Behind 2020 Levels For First Time

Home Sales Fall Behind 2020 Levels

Last week we reported inventory increased for the fifth straight month.  In February, listing inventory stood at 1.916 homes.  In January listing inventory was 2203.  August listings were on its way up at 1,764.  Perhaps we need inventory levels closer to 2,000 or more to sustain the blistering pace we have seen this past year.

It could also be that inventory is rising, sales are slowing, and buyers have cooled off.  Home prices peaked in April and May and saw a decline.  Funny thing though, median home prices stabilized in June and July while average prices went up slightly in August.

If the market was declining, we would expect to see the trifecta of rising listing inventory, declining sales, and declining prices.  Right now, we have two out of the three, and it is quite possible sales will pick up as inventory increases.

It is also possible rising interest rates will deter some home buyers.  October 1st will bring in flood insurance changes which will raise rates on some.  Rising insurance costs can affect home affordability.

Florida is still a state where people are attracted to.  Some northern states markets have begun to cool a bit while others have not.  It is safe to assume, Florida is an attractive option for many up North which adds to our demand.  As listing inventory increases, we may very well have excess demand to make up for the inventory.

In any market, many homes sell, and some fail to sell because they were overpriced.  When a market begins to shift, you do not want to overprice.  I am not saying our market has shifted or will shift anytime soon.  All markets shift eventually. Proper pricing becomes critical when they do.  To be honest, proper pricing is always critical.  Would you believe that in this great market, some sellers have failed to sell?  It is true, and it happens in all markets, up down, and sideways.

Hire the Right Agent

Hiring the right agent is critical now.  Marketing and negotiating matters more than ever.  Some mistakenly believe they can throw a home on the market, and it will sell.  The truth is it might sell.  The question is, did it sell for as much as it should have or did seller leave money on the table?  There is an art and science to getting what your home is worth.  It takes knowledge, experience, skills, and marketing.  If you thought it was expensive hiring the best agent, just see what it costs you hiring the wrong one.

As we study the market, we will be looking at several key indicators.  Of course, we will watch home prices. We will also watch inventory levels, sales velocity, dollar volume, and bring back and track our current market index which helps predict forward motion of the market.  If you do not know what the Current Market Index is, search for it on our Blog https://blog.topagent.com

If you are interested in selling, call Sande Ellis or Brett Ellis at 239-310-6500 or visit www.SWFLHomevalues.com to find out what your home could be worth.

The market goes up, the market goes down, and sometimes it just goes sideways.  Do not let the market dictate your decisions.  Talk to the Best and get your questions answered.

The Ellis Team has been voted the Best in Real Estate for 7 straight years in the News Press Readers poll.  We thank all our past and future customers.  We look forward to helping you buy or sell your next SW Florida property.

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Lee County listing inventory increased fifth straight month which has led to a leveling off in home prices.  We are seeing September daily listing inventory counts drop slightly so we will keep an eye on official numbers when they are released next month.

Listing Inventory Increased Fifth Straight Month

As you can see by the chart, listing inventory is still very low comparatively speaking.  We look at actual numbers and the trends.  The actual numbers tell us where we are at a point in time, and trends can give clues about the future.  Once a trend emerges it does not mean it will stay, so we must be careful predicting the future based upon a small trend in data.

Median home prices peaked in May and June and slipped a bit in July, however they held steady in August.  Average home prices peaked in April and slipped in May, June, and July.  Average home prices rose slightly in August, confirming the trend that home prices have leveled for now.

Seller’s Market

With 1.1 months of official inventory, we are in a seller’s market.  August saw a rise in new listings of 3.6% and a drop in new pending sales of 10.2%.  The daily inventory numbers are telling as well, and we may see the SW Florida real estate market pick back up again.  Rentals are very expensive, and in many cases, it is cheaper for a buyer to purchase than rent.

The number of homes closed fell again for the second straight month.  Nationally mortgage applications are picking up again.  With Covid cases decreasing dramatically in Florida and the return of Fall, we may see the market heat up once again.

What is unknown is when and how fast interest rates will climb.  The expectation is the Fed will taper asset purchases which have helped keep rates low.  We expect the Fed to announce the start of tapering in November which means rates could rise by the end of the year.

Increased borrowing costs will cut into buyers purchasing power.  Eventually decreased purchasing power helps cap price increases.  The fascinating thing to watch is that the US has been short building units to the tune of 5 million plus.  This has caused a shortage in supply.  Housing demand is strong.  These two forces are at odds with each other, and whichever wins out will hold the key to the direction in home prices.

It is quite possible they will temper each other.  If this happens, we will return to normal price swings and a leveling off, which is a good thing.

Time for Seller’s to Sell

The takeaway for sellers is now may be the time to sell.  The takeaway for buyers is now may be the time to buy. If you are a seller looking to purchase a home with a mortgage, this is especially true for you.

You might ask, how can it be a good time for buyers and sellers to make a move?  The answer is, it may cost both groups to wait.  Most people think of buyers and sellers as dueling warriors, and one must win to the other’s detriment.  The reality is, in this market, both can win now, and both can lose in the future by waiting.

We live in interesting times.  So many factors are affecting our economy, from supply side shortages, to rising rates, to rising inflation.  The Delta variant changed things for Floridians for a few months.  Assuming no new major variants, between the vaccinated and those with natural immunity, Florida is shaping up to be in good shape going forward.  This Fall and Winter will be interesting to watch.

Always Call Brett or Sande with your real estate questions 239-310-6500 or visit www.SWFLHomevalues.com to get an instant value on your home.

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty is here to help you with your questions.  Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!

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We are studying preliminary sales numbers for August from MLS. The numbers suggest a soft landing for sales prices in SW Florida.

Soft Landing For Sales Prices
Soft landing for Sales in SW Florida Real Estate Market

Golf courses in Florida are mostly flat because much of Florida’s terrain is flat. Up North, many golf courses have elevated greens and greens that are downhill.  This past year our local real estate market felt like buyers were having to hit elevated shots to an elevated green to get their offer accepted.

Golfers know that for every elevated green there may be future shots to a downhill green.  Buyers have the same assumptions as golfers.  They believe what goes up must come down.

Soft Landing for Sales Prices

The reality is, the elevated green is the new level playing field.  While we will still have multiple offers on properties due to low inventory, we don’t believe the overall market is going to climb like it did this past year.  In fact, we are already seeing in the numbers a leveling off.  This is a trend that has been happening for about 3 months, but because it doesn’t feel like a flattening market, sellers and agents have not recognized it.

If you speak with real estate agents lately, they will tell you the market has cooled in the last few weeks.  The market has not cooled, it has leveled. When sellers bring a property to market correctly priced, there are many buyers.  When a property enters the market overpriced, we don’t have 50 buyers jumping at opportunity to bid on it.

Diminishing Price Increases

We saw 36% price increases year over year, but as we enter future months those will begin to diminish as prices have stopped rising.  We will still see year over year gains until one of two things happen.  As prices are stagnant, we will either run out of months and stats will show a leveling or the market will move once again.

If the market does not make a move, you will see prices staying the same.  We are already seeing this in the month over month prices.  Unofficial numbers for August show an average sales price of $466,281 and a median sales price of $365,000.  July 2021 official numbers showed an average sales price of $469,072 and a median sales price of $360,000.  In essence, the average price went down about $3,000 and median price went up about $5,000.  Keep in mind, these are still unofficial numbers.  There could be more sales reported from MLS participants from other boards throughout the state.

These numbers are believable though because we have been seeing this trend. Prices since April and May have leveled off.  Some is seasonal, and some is buyers have maxed out.

Sellers Should Sell Now

Listing inventory has leveled.  It’s not going up or down.  We are telling sellers now may be the time to sell. There is not much advantage in waiting now. We have low inventory.  Prices have stalled.  Interest rates are expected to climb when the Fed ends tapering.  This will put pressure on buyers and further cap future gains.  It just feels like this market is now fully valued unless something changes.

For years we said Florida was undervalued.  Today, it might be fairly valued.  We are not expecting prices to vary wildly.  We believe we are in a trading range.

Buyers should take advantage before rates rise and sellers should take advantage of the new normal in pricing.  Both sides can do well if they do not get greedy.  Waiting for a better opportunity tomorrow just doesn’t sound like the best plan.

If you’d like to talk about the market, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-310-6500 or visit www.SWFLHomevalues.com to track your home’s value monthly.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty.  We are here to help!