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.

Inflation

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!

While analyzing current market statistics we see September inventory levels rise slightly in select price ranges.  Six out of nine price ranges saw an increase in the month’s supply of inventory while five of nine saw an increase in the raw number of listings.

September Inventory Levels Rise Slightly

September Inventory Levels Rise

 

Four out of nine price ranges saw an increase in the number of sales.  In a hot market, you can only sell what you have.  As prices increased, some homes graduated to the next price level which increased their inventory, and increased chances of a sale in that price range.

With multiple offers, sometimes we would see a listing in one price range result in a sale in a higher price range because it sold over asking price.  For this reason, we must be careful about analyzing the numbers and interpreting what they really mean.

Inventory Still Historically Low

The overall market still stands at less than 1 month supply, which is low.  A buyer can assume any listing in any of the price ranges could be receiving multiple offers if they were priced correctly coming to the market.  There are some overpriced listings, and no matter how hot the market is, may never sell.

As more listings enter the market, buyers have slightly more choices.  The good ones still get swallowed up fast.  It is important for buyers to have their ducks in a row before they go shopping.

We monitor the monthly numbers, and we are studying the weekly numbers.  We saw a 9-home decrease in the weekly numbers which means more homes came off the market than went on in the last week.  Because this market is so hot, we expect volatility in those weekly numbers.  It could also be sellers were waiting until after Labor Day to place their home on the market while buyers did not wait.

Interest rates rose slightly in the past week.  Rising rates increase the cost of borrowing for buyers.  Initially rising rates adds motivation to buyers to purchase before rates go higher.  This assumes buyers were sitting on the fence.  In our current market it is more likely buyers could not find a home as the winning bid, so they settled for a rental for another year.

Rents are sky high currently. As tenants come off lease we expect them to look to purchase if they can find a home.  As the eviction moratorium abates, we expect rent prices could come down.

Eventually rising rates will hurt home buyers.  The wildcard will be if home buyers soften due to rising borrowing costs, how does northern buyers relocating here compensate for that?  This past year financed buyers were not winning many bids anyway so rising rates would have made no difference.  If buyers continue their march to Florida, rising rates might not matter.  We will keep our eye on migration patterns.

Is Now a Good Time to Sell?

Many homeowners are contemplating if now might be the time to sell.  Prices have risen a good amount, and some are surprised at how much their property is worth.  Homeowners also realize we are not likely to see price gains like this going forward.  Nobody knows the future and where prices will go. We think it is safe to say prices will not rise 36% in one year again anytime soon.

If you have been wondering if now might be the time to sell, call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-310-6500 We will be happy to speak with you and discuss your options.  Some sellers appreciate our Free and easy home valuation tool where you can see your home’s value online instantly.  The system will also email you updates every month so you can track your home’s value going forward.  This is great for people who do not want to sell now but are interested in their home’s value.

Good luck and Happy Home Buying and Selling!

See last week’s article “Local Home Sales Highest on Record

Recent statistics show local home sales highest on record.  Keller Williams Realty International predicts 2021 will be the 5th best year in real estate sales nationally just behind 2020 levels.

Local Home Sales Highest on Recrod

Locally we are seeing a slowdown in the number of homes closed.  The tail end of this year could bring fewer transactions, but will the slowdown be enough to place us behind 2020 numbers?  Through July home sales are up 38.33%. We only need 4,328 sales from August through December to match 2020 levels.  That is approximately 866 homes per month.  Our lowest month of the year was January at 1,221 homes sold, so it is likely 2021 will set another record.

Local Home Sales Highest on Record

The frenzied pace of home sales has eased a bit, but many homes are still receiving multiple offers, especially if they are in good condition.  As companies return to work Florida may not be the work from home darling it once was.  However, it remains to be seen what effect the Delta variant will have on companies work from home policies going forward.

We are hearing cases in Florida have leveled off and cases up North may be increasing.  If this continues, Florida may become the work from home darling location again.

This is good news for home buyers.  Buyers will have more choices and less price increases to contend with.  Rising interest rates are like a hidden price increase because it increases the cost of ownership.  We would suggest buyers take advantage of any home they like because even if prices level off that home may cost them more in the future.

Sellers Beware

Sellers should beware.  If the SW Florida real estate market is properly valued, rising rates will have a negative effect on buyers.  For years we felt Florida real estate was undervalued.  With recent price increases, Florida has come more in line with the rest of the country.  Who is to say if we are properly valued or not?  The point is, it feels like values may bounce around where they are now, but who knows.  Rising rates will put pressure on buyers who need to finance.

This past year sellers have been blessed by cash buyers from up North.  We will be tracking cash sales going forward as that will be an indicator of how much fuel there is for rising prices going forward.

Covid Declining in Florida

The good news for Florida is that Covid cases have begun declining.  They are much too high right now, so we are glad to see a plateau.  As the weather turns and Floridians go outside in the Fall, northerners will head inside more in the Fall and Winter.  We may see a decline in cases in Florida and a rise in cases up North.  If this scenario plays out, we could repeat this past year’s process all over again and Florida could become the darling.

As regular readers know, there are several wildcards we look for.  I feel like this year we are tracking new wildcards.  I don’t know of anybody who can say with any certainty what the future of real estate is for SW Florida.  We will continue to report what we do know with facts.  We make assumptions and educated guesses from these facts and we hope you appreciate our attempt to explain what we are seeing in the trenches.

Our guesses may turn out to be 100% correct, or 100% false, or somewhere in between.  Perhaps we are looking at the wrong indicators.

Real Estate Questions?

If you have real estate questions, or would simply like to talk about your situation, call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-310-6500  You can also visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get your home’s online value.  Not only is it fairly accurate, but it will also keep you updated as to your home’s price direction.  In other words, even if you disagree with the computer’s price estimate, you will be able to track the direction of your home’s value monthly.  Sellers really like this feature.

Brett or Sande can get you a more accurate price for your home when we meet.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

See last week’s article “Lee County Sales Prices Hit Pause in July

Lee County sales prices hit pause in July, backing down from June’s numbers.  The median sales price in Lee County was $360,000 in July, down from $365,000 in June.  The average sales price was $469,072 in July, down from $505,976 in June.

Sales Prices Hit Pause in July

Sales prices are up year over year.  Median sales price is up 27.2% in July and the average sales price is up 23%.  We saw big price increases start last September and October, so we expect to see large double-digit year over year numbers for several months to come.  Once December and January roll around, we do not expect those numbers to be as large unless prices continue escalating.

We are still experiencing multiple offers on many properties, and many properties are going well over asking price.  Since school started, we are not seeing the hyperactivity we were though.  There are too many headwinds that should prevent the market from double digit gains we have seen in the past.

It appears overall sales prices hit pause recently.  This does not mean all homes have hit pause.  The market rarely speaks in unison, although this past year it pretty much did.

When interest rates rise, and they inevitably will, it will put pressure on upward movement of prices.  Once prices hit full market value rising rates could lead to a decline in home prices.  The question is, what is full market value?

I don’t know who has the answer, but my suspicion is we are somewhere in the neighborhood.  Full market value is relative.  We seem so high priced compared to where we were, but then again, I always felt we were undervalued locally.  We are still a bargain compared to other parts of the country.  For what SW Florida offers, we may still be a bargain.

It is natural that markets take a breather and assess the situation.  Stock markets do it all the time, and so do real estate markets.  Most agents I know wouldn’t complain if this market took a breather.  Agents have never worked harder, and many could use a vacation.

If prices do take a breather, it can be a wonderful thing.  Prices are at all-time highs, so sellers get the benefit of that.  They also get the benefit of low inventory, although it has been rising slightly in recent months.  It is always more fun to sell in a low inventory environment when prices are high.

If prices do level out for a bit, sellers will need to be more accommodative to buyers.  Right now, sellers hold all the cards, but one day the buyers will hold some cards too.  Buyers may not have to give delayed possession or their first-born son like they do now.  The playing field would be more level.

Then again, maybe our market will continue climbing.  We may hit a soft-landing spot for us all to look around, take a breath, and decide to go higher.  Or, after careful assessment, the market could top out and drift a bit lower.

Nobody knows what the market will do.  Whatever the market does, we will report it to you fairly and honestly.

Sellers, if you were waiting for the perfect moment to sell but holding out for more, now may be the time to act.  You might get more in the future, but then again you might now.  Most sellers wait too long and regret not selling sooner.  If you have a property you do not love or need, give Brett or Sande Ellis a call 239-310-6500.

We have a website that gives instant online estimates of your home. www.SWFLHomevalues.com  The best part it, it will show you the direction of your home price every month.  Even if it is off slightly on your value, you can use it to track the direction of your home price.

Good luck, and Happy Home Selling!

Ever since Covid-19 hit people have been speculating we would see another wave of foreclosures hitting the market.  Experts talked about how many homes were utilizing mortgage assistance and how this would impact the market in the future.  We see distressed sales practically non-existent in 2021 and going forward, and we’ll explain why.

Distressed Sales Practically Non-Existent in 2021

In June, we had 0 short sales and 3 foreclosure sales out of 1,748.  That’s about 1/10th of 1% distressed sales.

Those reported numbers of consumers in forbearance were overblown.  We did not see those kinds of numbers.  For those that did use forbearance, many have caught back up with their mortgage servicer.  Furthermore, some people filed for forbearance as an additional tool for mortgage relief not knowing what Covid-19 was going to do to the economy.

Cash Sales

Next, the media speculated that as people lost their jobs, those caught paying high prices would be susceptible to a real estate correction.  This simply is not true either. Closed sales in June were up 40.6% while cash sales were up 149%.  More people are paying cash or putting substantial down.  Unlike 2006, people have equity in their homes regardless of what the market does.

High Demand

Secondly, we have end users for every home.  Back in 2006 we had flippers who built homes to flip to the next person without an end user in sight.  Today, you can hardly find a resale or rental.  Not only do homeowners have more equity today, but demand has also never been higher.

Changing Landscape

Covid has changed the way people think about their living and work choices.  More people have decided to exit the city life and move to the rural and less densely populated areas.  People have decided they can work from home, and they rather enjoy it.  Florida has become a popular destination for the work from home crowd.  If you are going to pack up and move, why not move to a low-tax state with beautiful weather?

When the market shifts, and eventually it will because all markets shift, we do not believe this market will be in trouble.  Most people vision real estate markets going up a cliff then straight down a cliff.  The reality may be our market heads up for a period, then levels off when it reaches an affordability point.  What happens after there is anybody’s guess. The market could stay level, generally rise slowly along a bumpy road, or decline slowly along a bumpy or uneven road.  Supply, demand, and affordability will one day drive the market.

Right now, demand outweighs supply.  We still have more people that wish to move here than leave.  Interest rates are low, and even for many locals the market is still affordable.  For out of state buyers, Florida seems like a bargain compared to where they are coming from.

Real estate values are all about perspective.  To a buyer that looked 2 years ago and did not pull the trigger, we look high priced.  To a new buyer shopping from out of state, we look like a bargain.

Eviction Moratorium

We do look for the end of the eviction moratorium soonWe believe this has placed an undue burden of renters as it has taken supply out of the market.  Once landlords can evict tenants not paying rent. More rentals will come back on the market and open opportunities for other renters.

Property to Sell?

Do you have a property to sell?  Are you wondering if now might be the optimal time to sell?  Talk to Sande or Brett Ellis at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500 We can discuss your options. Our marketing reaches out of state buyers willing to pay Top Dollar for your home. We have a website www.SWFLhomevalues.com that will give you an instant price estimate of your home. Our system will email you every month your new price so you can keep track of your equity position the market’s direction.

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

We have been tracking inventory levels for years now and we have spotted an interesting trend.  In the past week, local listing inventory grew 3.41% in Lee County Florida.

Local Listing Inventory Grew in past week

A few weeks ago we showed a graph we will repeat again this week.  It showed inventory bottomed out in March at 1,510 homes and rose each month in April, May, and June.  Since these official numbers were released, we decided to track daily numbers to see if the trend continues.

Local Listing Inventory Grew Last Week

On August 4th, inventory stood at 1,379 homes.  Keep in mind, these are not official numbers and there can be other listings from agents who are members in a different MLS.  So, when you see these numbers and wonder why they are less than the 1,510 I mentioned was the bottom, you’ll know why.  Using the same criteria, listings have risen to 1,426 by Aug 11th.  This is the 3.41% rise.

We still have a very hot market.  What this is telling us is that some properties may have had 20 offers and now may only receive 5.  New listings and back on market listings are outpacing the closings, hence the number is growing.

We have noticed some buyer fatigue at these prices.  It could also be that many buyers were shut out of the process and were forced to rent.  Rent prices have shot through the roof.  When the eviction moratorium finally ends, rent prices may come back down.  The end of the moratorium could lead to more listings as well.  Some owners wish to sell at today’s prices but have not been able to get a non-paying tenant out.

As we mentioned earlier, we still have a strong market.  So far, all the cards have been in the seller’s favor, and that may change.  At some point we may enter a more balanced market.  Listings are still too low, and it is a seller’s market.  As more listings enter the market, it could shift to a more neutral market.  When that happens, prices may not increase like they have.

In fact, we can almost predict prices will not increase like they have.  Statistically, we cannot have prices rising 36% year over year forever.  At some point buyers turn off and do something else.  Lately, cash buyers forced financed buyers out of the game.  When these markets shift, inevitably we see financed buyers start winning deals again.

Time to Sell?

We always tell sellers; it is more fun to sell when there is less competition.  Right now, there is not enough competition, but we can see it growing slowly.  If this trend continues, buyers will have more choices.  This is not to say prices cannot keep climbing.  They absolutely can.  Will they, who knows?  Whatever prices do, do not expect 36% increases going forward.  Rising interest rates will also eat into buyers purchasing power.

Florida Is/Was the Place to Be 

During the pandemic, Florida absolutely was the darling of work from home workers tired of lockdowns and high taxes in Northern states.  Today, we still enjoy low taxes and no lockdowns, but our Covid numbers are high.  How will that influence buyers going forward?  When will our numbers settle down?

Employers have begun calling employees back to work or paying them less if they work from home.  As the Delta variant spreads, employers have had to back off the return to workplace.  When normalcy returns, will the return to workspace affect the work from home demand Florida has enjoyed?  How would this affect sellers?

With rising inventory, buyer fatigue, and potential return to work situations, it might be time to think about selling a home you no longer love.  Competition from other sellers is low and even though market is great, this might be a great time to capitalize.

The Ellis Team tracks the market daily, so our clients always receive up to the minute data that can affect decisions.  If you are tracking a hurricane, you want the latest data to make best decisions.  The same is true in the real estate market.  The Ellis Team has the data.  Call Sande or Brett Ellis 239-310-6500 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get a quick estimate of your home’s value.

See last week’s article “Have Real Estate Prices Leveled Off?