We have been reporting for weeks that pending sales have been outpacing new listings.  See last week’s article “Housing Inventory Falls in May” We entered 2020 with low inventory and since the Coronavirus outbreak it’s only deepened.  It’s time to issue a warning.  Buyer beware listing inventory disappearing quickly.

Many people watch the news and speculate that homes are not selling.  The truth is homes are outselling new listings by a 2 to 1 margin.  In the last 24 hours we had 84 pending sales and 39 new listings.  It’s a similar story the past 7 days, and the last month for that matter.

Buyer Beware Listing Inventory Disappearing Quickly

Buyer demand is strong.  Realtors are on the front lines, so we hear the stories every day.  Northern buyers are flocking to Florida and buying property.  They are either buying a 2nd home and moving here to escape quarantine, or more predominantly they are escaping what they see as repressive government overreach and leaving their state entirely.

If business owners pull out of those states some of those jobs will never return.  Others are deciding on early retirement and getting out of Dodge.  You can only lockdown people for so long before they feel they need to make a change.  States like Florida and Texas are particularly attractive for a few reasons.

Both states have had far less mortality rates and fewer hospitalizations than other states.  Buyers feel as though states like Florida and a few others have been better managed through the crisis.  Secondly, Florida and Texas offer no state income tax.  Before Coronavirus people were already fleeing high tax states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, etc.  Low tax states like Florida helps seal the deal for business owners and higher end employees seeking relief from high taxes.

The other thing we have learned through this pandemic is people and businesses are re-thinking work models.  More companies have allowed work from home, and employers and employees alike have gotten used to it.  Now that its viable, companies are questioning if they need high lease space commercial properties or if they can get by with less expensive space out of the bigger cities.

Financially it may be an easy choice for employers, and even easier for employees.  Add in the pandemic and there is a propensity to escape densely populated areas to more rural areas.  When you combine financial concerns with health concerns, more employers and employees are choosing to get out of the big city, even if it means quitting a job, or closing a company.

We believe over the next few years companies will start migrating out to flex space in the suburbs, and out of high tax states altogether.  As more people leave those states, it will place a higher financial burden on the fewer remaining to carry a higher tax load, and they will eventually leave too.  It’s like a chain of events that began a few years ago with America’s economic revival and it’s picking up steam today due to Covid-19.

Buyer Beware Listing Inventory Disappearing Quickly

Our advice to buyers is select a property that meets your needs and lock it down.  We are down to about 3.85 months supply of inventory and going lower every day. We were down to 4,440 single family homes on the market in Lee County Mid May, and if this pace keeps up, we’ll be down in the 3,000’s by June.

If you are a seller, there is no better time to sell than right now.  We are seeing properties that did not sell in season suddenly sell because they are the next one up.  If you are a buyer, you need a realtor that knows how to write a winning offer, and that takes experience.

If you are a seller, you need a Realtor with experience dealing with multiple offers, or the wisdom to know when to wait for a better offer that might be just around the corner.

Neither side should wait.  Interest rates are low, and there are compelling reasons for both sides to act quickly.  Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 to discuss your sale, or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to find out what your property is worth instantly.

Buyers, we have a system that will alert you to new listings the minute they hit the market.  We can also tell you about new listings we might be working on.  We’re here to help.

Happy Memorial Day!

SW Florida housing inventory supply falls to 3.85 months, down from 4.20 months supply back in March.  We do not have official April sales numbers, but a quick search of single-family homes in our MLS shows 1,116 closed sales in 2020 versus 1,361 in 2019.  That is a 18% decline in sales in our MLS.  So how did the months of supply go down?

Housing Inventory Supply Falls in May

Housing Inventory Supply Falls in May

Heading into the Coronavirus crisis inventory was light to begin with.  Sales picked up in the $300-$600k category and declined in all others.  Inventory increased in the under $100k category and declined in all others.  Keep in mind, these numbers are from previous 365 days from each point in time.  365-day sales were down 1.96% while 365-day inventory was down 10.16%

We can determine that months supply of inventory is down because there are fewer home sellers.  It is also possible that we have less home sales because there is less inventory, which means there is less opportunity for buyers to choose from.

We have seen more sellers step up and decide to place their home on the market, and yet the listing numbers are still down.  This tells us it is an absolute perfect time to sell because there is less competition from other sellers and buyer demand is still good.

Speaking of buyer demand, we see several key factors in play and right now one is winning out.  Locally, we are seeing layoffs and business closures.  This was to be expected due to shut down. Some businesses just could not survive this.  The other thing locally we have found is many people who still have their job but were renting have decided they want to buy.  They were shut in on quarantine in a place that wasn’t their own, and they did not love.  Many want a larger space and moving forward we’re not sure the virus is going away anytime soon.

Northern Buyers Heading to Florida

Secondly, many people up North do not agree with shutdown orders of their businesses and lifestyle and they are deciding to purchase in Florida.  They may not like the fact they live in a high tax state, and now with onerous restrictions, they have had enough.  Florida is one of the places they want to be now.

At least three factors are in play, and two are winning out favoring real estate sales in Florida.  Our team has been advertising in markets up North and we are generating a lot of buyers looking to relocate to Florida.  Some of them are Now buyers, meaning they are not waiting until they retire.  They want to purchase now, and covid-19 and the reactions to it is the impetus for their immediacy.

If sales declined 18% in April, our team’s sales did not. This suggests some agents are being aggressive  finding buyers for properties while others may be sitting home wondering what they can do.  Brett and Sande have been involved in real estate in SW Florida through many shifts.  The reason for this shift is different, and yet all shifts are alike.  They tend to come suddenly, and how you act and market in a shift matters more then when times are great.

Aggressive Agents Have Strong Sales Right Now

A great market hides a lot of imperfections because sales seem to find the agent.  Not all agents survive in a shift, as many are exposed as order takers instead of marketers.  High tide lifts all boats, and often masks other issues.  Low tide reveals who has the grit, knowledge, and determination to get the job done.  You must survive to thrive.  Surviving means performing, and performing means serving your clients at a high level and educating them.

If you enjoy reading this column and you’re thinking of buying or selling in SW Florida, please reach out to Brett or Sande 239-489-4042 Ext 4 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com  to get an instant value on your home.  You can search homes there too.

Sande and Brett are here to give you advice on if now a good time for you to make a move and talk about how the process would work.  If you’re a buyer and do not have a property to sell, visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com We look forward to helping you!

See last week’s article “If You Could Work From Anywhere Where Would You Want to Be?

Let’s face it, the Coronavirus has changed the way people think about work and home.  More employers are staggering their workforce or allowing employees to work from home.  The Coronavirus may alter the commercial workspace landscape.  So, it begs the question, if you could work from anywhere, where would you want to be?

If You Could Work From Anywhere Where Would You Want to Be

Employers are rethinking their work spaces.  In New York City for instance where the population is very dense, along with work spaces, they are considering options.  One option is to rent space out on Long Island and stagger the workforce where some go to the Long Island space a few days per week and and rotate to the city the other days.  Office space might be less expensive on Long Island, thus requiring less space in the city.

This strategy also allows you to space out your workforce, so they are not congregated in tight work spaces. Some employers are questioning if they must come in at all and can work from home.  In any event, employees are asking themselves questions.  Do I really want to commute into city and work in a tight workspace given health concerns today?  Coronavirus may disrupt people’s attitudes toward city living in general.  If you think taxes are high in the city now, just wait until people start moving out.

Across the US people are questioning living in the big cities.  Customers are flocking out to the suburbs, or out of state altogether.  States like Florida stand to gain because we have excellent weather, wide open spaces, great healthcare, no state income taxes, and we haven’t mentioned the weather yet.

I’m pretty sure the Internet works as well in Florida as anywhere in the country.  Remember the question above. If you could work from anywhere where would you want to be?  One answer seems to be Florida.  Another may be suburbs and rural areas outside the densely populated cities.

SW Florida is well served by a regional airport, university system, and land that is spread out.  Adding in fantastic weather and low taxes makes Florida a winner in a lot of people’s eyes.  Florida was already winning due to tax issues before Covid-19, and very well may afterwards as we look to the future.

Florida’s economy will open up as soon as travel picks back up due to all its fantastic advantages.  If you’re reading this article and live up North you might want to check out www.LeeCountyOnline.com  It has all the home listings and it’s updated in real-time, so the data is good.  It’s no fun to search and see old listings that aren’t really on the market anymore or miss out on hot new ones.

If you’re considering selling, definitely talk to Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 You can also visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com and get an instant value on your property. Buying and selling today is different than it was 2 months ago.  You need a team that can handle all the details and show homes virtually.  Our team sold 10 homes in April virtually so it can be done if you have got the right systems and marketing to do it.

If you’ve got questions, we are quick phone call or Zoom call away.  Getting answers fast means more today than ever.  Whether you’re making a move today or many months down the road, we’re here to answer your questions.  We can even set you up with some handy resources about our area you might enjoy.

If you could work from anywhere, would SW Florida be a place you could see yourself living in?

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

See last week’s article “Pending Sales Outpace New Listings

Closed and pending sales outpace new listings in the SW Florida real estate market once again.  Looking at the latest 7-day Lee County numbers shows 192 new single-family home listings and 349 new pending sales.  There were 222 closed sales.  The closed sales number will only increase because numbers were taken Wednesday April 29th at the time, we are writing this article.  It takes a few days to report out closed sales end of month. As pending sales outpace new listings we’ll have to track and see if there is eventual upward price pressure.

Pending Sales Outpace New Listings

Pending Sales Outpace New Listings

The Lee County Florida real estate market has been busy this past month as new pending sales outpace new listings. Closed sales did as well. The Ellis Team has been busy too this past month.  We hold daily sales huddles and yesterday we counted 10+ pending deals for month of April and we did not have all our agents on call.  That is not bad for s state that is been on stay at home orders.  Keep in mind, real estate is considered an essential business, so we’ve been able to conduct virtual showings and virtual open houses, but the public hasn’t been out shopping models and showings like they used to.  Most all of this has been done virtually with minimal in-person showings.

Our team takes the real estate business seriously.  It’s a full-time profession for us, which means we don’t have other jobs paying our bills.  Because we take it so seriously for our clients, we’ve learned to innovate and adapt to changing conditions.

We know many buyers still want or need to buy.  Many sellers want or need to sell, so it’s up to us to find a way to make that happen for them and find a way we did.

Other agents are switching companies, and some companies are even contemplating closing their doors.  We are fortunate to belong to a national company with no debt and full of ideas.  We share best practices and ways to get the job done for our customers.

New Virtual Programs

If you read this article or subscribe to our blog you know about the programs we’ve introduced the past month.  Programs like www.virtual-listing-appointment.com, or www.virtual-open-houses.com, or www.virtual-showings.com None of these programs existed 30 days ago and they are so critical to what we’re doing today.

It is not the website themselves that makes this a success.  It’s the concept.  For instance, sometimes another Realtor has a buyer and they ask a question about one of our listings.  We have options to show them the home or answer their questions.  We can visit the property and do a live or recorded video.  Our team can schedule a 3D showing online with the customer and their agent, so they can ask any question.  As the listing agent we can answer those questions and even point out a few things the other agent might not have shared.  Nobody has to be at the property because we utilize cutting-edge technology upfront to be able to show the property over and over again with the 3D tour.

The bottom line is successful agents will thrive and adapt no matter what the market throws at them.  I have sold real estate through several recessions, double digit interest rates, and a housing and financial collapse.  Those experiences taught us how important it is to adapt quickly.  What seems like an obstacle to many agents is a simple pivot for us.

The Future of Real Estate

Going forward we can see this may become the future of real estate.  We believe there will be a new normal.  Many agents you see today won’t be here 6 months from now, and next year there will be a new crop of agents eager and ready, but they won’t have the experience of what it takes to survive and thrive in a shift.

The shift can be economic, health, or just mindset.  Let’s face it, few in America look at things the same today as we did 60 days ago.  The world has changed, and so must we, regardless of which industry we are in.

If you have a property to sell, visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com, or call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and we’ll be happy to talk to you about your options.  Yes, we’d love to show you how we’re selling properties with advanced marketing we can put to work for you, and we can do this virtually with you as well.  We look forward to hearing from you.

See last week’s article “Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update April 2020

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New Listing of the Week

5314 Chippendale Cir E  Whiskey Creek