We’ve been talking quite a bit the past several weeks about HAFA (Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives) program and other programs designed to make selling a short sale easier. Going forward, these programs should provide some much needed relief for many sellers, and open up the market for more buyers.
We’ve noticed a trend this past year developing in the Lee County SW Florida real estate market. As we’ve reported, sales numbers hit record levels in 2009, and prices look like they may have stabilized. We’ve noticed that total distressed sales are down significantly since last May. Our definition of a distressed sale in either a bank foreclosure where the banks sells the property on the open market after they’ve foreclosed, or a short sale by a seller hoping to avoid foreclosure and protect their credit.
Fort Myers is showing the most strength with only 47.83% of sales being distressed in March 2010. Compare that to Cape Coral at 62.0% and Lehigh Acres at 74.19% Lehigh Acres is down from the whopping 88.5% set last June, even though they have leveled off about 75% the past 4 months.
Cape Coral has also declined, down from 78% last May to 62% now. This chart explains why prices have stabilized in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and why Lehigh Acres is a little shakier at the moment.
Inventory levels are down in all three segments, and sales are up significantly over February in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and up moderately in Lehigh Acres. Officially sales numbers have not been released at the time this article was written, and we believe going forward we’ll see some median price increases in Lee County, and especially in Fort Myers and Cape Coral.
We’re studying preliminary numbers, and we’re seeing an approximate 28% jump in sales over February numbers for single family homes. There was an increase in distressed sales, but the majority of the increase was regular non-distressed sales, and this is encouraging going forward in 2010.
We’ll be keeping our eye on the market after the home buyer tax credits expire on sales after April 30, and on interest rates which are creeping higher. Nationally consumer confidence is rising, and eventually that should trickle into job growth. SW Florida has been hit hard with high unemployment, and we really want to study these numbers as ultimately employment will be the engine that fuels SW Florida real estate prices in the future.
Always consult a CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert).