We have updated Florida insurance reform changes information you need to know.  For the second time this year Governor Ron DeSantis called a special session of the legislature to deal with an insurance crisis in Florida.

Florida Insurance Reform Changes

The insurance crisis was so bad insurance companies were pulling out and leaving the state. Many condominium associations were finding a hard time obtaining any insurance at all, and when they did find it, the cost was prohibitive. Homeowners, perhaps to a lesser extent were also frustrated. Of course, Hurricanes Ian and Nicole weren’t going to help. The real estate industry has been impacted greatly.

In December the legislature approved, and Governor DeSantis signed into law SB 2-A. The previous 2022 bill is SB 2-D. Here is a recap of the Florida insurance reform changes made in 2022.

SB 2-A Signed December 2022

 The newer SB 2-A eliminates one-way attorney fees which were meant to shield policyholders from legal bills when they needed to sue an insurer. Many argued that because one-way attorney fees were permitted it led to frivolous lawsuits. Eliminating excessive and predatory lawsuits should help lower costs in the long run.

The Office of Insurance Regulation was beefed up such that they will be able to assess property insurers performance after a hurricane to hold them accountable and prevent abuses. You can’t take away power from the people without adding protections from abuse.

Insurer timelines were reduced to payout money and into the hands of policyholders quicker after an event. The state also provided additional funding for temporary reinsurance which should further stabilize the insurance market.

SB 2-D Signed May 2022


Insurance companies can no longer refuse to issue or renew homeowners’ insurance for roofs less than 15 years old based solely on the age of the roof. If a roof is 15 years old or more the homeowner has the right to hire an approved inspector, and if the inspector states the roof has 5 years or more remaining life the insurance company may not refuse.


 The homeowner has the right to see the detailed report/estimate by the adjuster. This report must be furnished within 7 days of the request, or completion of the report, whichever occurs later. We have heard instances of insurance companies changing adjusters reports to minimize payouts. This provision will provide the insured with additional rights and information to challenge. If there is a difference between the estimate and the payout, insurers must provide a reasonable explanation of the claim decision.

Insurers must also physically inspect the property within 45 days of receiving a proof of loss statement from the insured, although it does not apply to hurricane claims.

Other Provisions

 There were many other provisions in SB 2-D, like inspections on condos that are 3 stories or higher and 25-30 years old or more depending on their location. Provisions were added regarding repair or replacement of roofs and whether they need to meet new building codes.


 The main takeaway is these new changes should make insurance more affordable in Florida. We may not see price reductions immediately, but it should entice insurers to come back to Florida and increase competition. Hopefully the insurance companies and attorneys will be on a more level playing field and consumers will win in the end

If you have a property to sell, call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500 voted Best in Real Estate 9 consecutive years by News Press Readers in SW Florida.

To find out the value of your home instantly, check out the best home valuation tool around www.SWFLhomevalues.com

New Way to Sell Homes Coming

In the next 2 weeks we will unveil a new program to sell your home in SW Florida. It’s pretty incredible. Give us a call to get on the list. You’ll want to hear about this.

Happy Holidays!

Declining mortgage rates leads to a rise in pending sales this past week. Interest rates have fallen below 6.5% and local buyers couldn’t be more pleased.

Declining Mortgage Rates Leads to Rising Pending Sales

This past Tuesday the CPI number was released and it came in at 7.1 While this is a very high number historically, it is less than what it has been and a sign that inflation may have peaked. The markets took this as a good sign which means we could see long term rates fall even further. Don’t confuse short term interest rate hikes with long term rates.

Inverted Yield Curve

We still have a deeply inverted yield curve which signals the United States is in or will enter into a recession soon. Recessions are not good for housing markets. When people lose their jobs or the economy slows down, it keeps prices in check. A slowing economy can lead to weak demand.

Practically speaking, demand should be high. People need housing, either in ownership form or rent form. Housing demand will come from financial ability. On the one hand, lower interest rates will help more people afford more housing. On the other hand, losing your job or seeing a cut in hours doesn’t do much to help qualify for that mortgage.

Current Market Index

What we can say is that lower rates may have helped the local real estate market, and we will take all the help we can get right now. The Ellis Team Current Market Index accurately predicts the future direction of the real estate market. The index has been pointing higher three straight weeks, which was a bad sign for the market. A higher index number is not good for the local market. This past week the number stalled and went back to the number two weeks ago.

All Eyes on the Fed

We are writing this article prior to the Fed’s decision on interest rates. Our best guess is they will raise rates half percent versus the .75% they have been raising. This will be seen as a welcome sign if they do this. Perhaps more important than what they decide will be the language they use in describing their decision. If the Fed signals rate hikes may begin to slow going forward it means they see some progress in slowing the economy and raising unemployment numbers. They intend for people to lose their jobs to help stop the inflationary wage increase pressure.

Remember, the Fed has a tough job to do, and they are not necessarily the consumer’s friend. We have too much money in the economy and they are intent on slowing it down. Of course, Congress could stop spending so much money and that would help. Absent that, the Fed must continue raising rates to blunt overspending in Washington. It’s the only tool the Feder Reserve has, and they are using it.

2023 Real Estate Market

Most experts agree we will see fewer transactions in 2023 than we did in 2022. In 2022 we may have the single largest decrease in transactions in history. People better buckle up because 2023 may see even fewer. Many are expecting another 25-35% drop next year. Some experts are predicting a 30- 40% drop in the number of real estate agents in 2023.

85% of agents today have not experienced a housing shift. They have no idea how to sell homes or find customers in a shifting market. MLS and board dues are due December 31st. Our guess is many agents who have not sold a house all year will not renew their membership. The agent you speak with today may not be here next month. Falling transaction volume has hurt the inexperienced agents badly.

New Way to Sell Homes Coming to SW Florida

We are excited to roll out a new way to sell homes in SW Florida compared to the traditional way. You’ll be hearing more about the program in a few weeks. We will announce the program the 1st or 2nd week in January, and it is good news for home sellers.

In the meantime, you can check out your home’s value at www.SWFLhomevalues.com. If you are interested in a better way to sell your home next year, email Brett@topagent.com with the subject line Better Way and we’ll notify you first.

Happy Holidays!

FNMA predicts price declines in the housing market nationwide for the next two years. In the first quarter of 2023 they predict year over year appreciation at 3.3%, but all this appreciation has already occurred in 2022.  Home prices have been dropping nationwide and the stats won’t show year over year declines until the 2nd quarter.

Starting in the 2nd quarter of 2023 FNMA predicts declines of 1.3%, followed by declines of 1.4% and 1.5% in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Going into 2024 they are predicting declines of 1.4% in the 1st quarter, 1.5% in the 2nd quarter, and declines of 1.4% in the 3rd and 4th quarters.

Have Home Values Peaked?

If FNMA is correct, what does all this tell us? Home prices have already peaked, and interest rates and the economy are influencing home prices. They are not predicting major price swings, so buyers can rest assured if they find a home, they love at an interest rate they can afford, they should buy.

FNMA Predicts Price Declines

For sellers, it is a slightly different story. Your home probably already peaked in value back in May. We study the local median and average home prices, and they are split as to when home prices peaked. One says May, the other says June. Since then, we have watched home prices fall locally and nationwide.

As Realtors we do not advocate for prices to rise or fall. The market is what it is, and a trusted Realtor should properly interpret the market and the data and explain what is going on. A good Realtor is your economist of choice if they study the numbers. Over the years the Ellis Team has been able to get our listed sellers out in a declining market because we know how to market a home in a shifting market.

Experience Counts

85% of Realtors today have never worked in a shifted market. They only know one thing, and it’s up. How you price, market, and find buyers changes in a shifting market.

Our Current Market Index stands as high today as it has all year. While the numbers are not alarming, it is not a good sign as our index accurately predicts the market going forward. We have also noticed the differential between active listings and total pending listings is as high as it’s been all year. Another sign that the market has cooled.

The 2021 market is not coming back. We are back to a normalized market subject to market conditions and changing economic numbers. Builders are reducing prices and offering incentives. It is not a horrible time to sell. It might seem horrible compared to previous years. Sellers no longer have the upper hand. The good news for sellers is, neither do buyers. We have a more balanced market than we have seen in years, and that’s not a bad thing.

It Pays to Know the Data

If you’re playing a sport or a board game, it pays to know the rules. If you are buying or selling in the real estate market, it pays to study the data. Knowing what is going on in the street is invaluable. Always ask a Realtor to prove to you what the market is doing. So many Realtors give advice based upon how their personal month is going. A Realtor can have one good month and think the market is great followed by a horrible month the next. This doesn’t mean the market changed drastically, simply that their sales did.

Too many Realtors judge the market by how they are feeling in the market and how their sales are going. True professionals study the market and can explain to you what you need to know to make the best decision. A Realtor’s value is never greater than in a shifting market. Choosing the wrong Realtor can cost you thousands, even when you think you are saving.

Good luck, and Happy Selling! If you are thinking of selling, call Brett Ellis or Sande Ellis 239-310-6500 or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com

December SW Florida Real Estate Market Update

Toys for Tots

The Ellis Team is a drop-off location for Toys for Tots. Please help us provide a Happy Holiday Season by dropping off toys to our office by December 15th.

Toys for Tots Ellis Team Drop-off

Single family home and condo listing inventory resumes rising trend for third consecutive week. Single family home inventory rose for the third consecutive week while condo inventory rose four consecutive weeks.

Listing Inventory Resumes Rising Trend For Third Consecutive Week

Pending sales have moderated a bit too, leveling out the past two weeks. One of the things we look at is the difference between listing inventory and total pendings. That difference just reached the highest level all year. Basically this means more properties are coming to the market then jumping off.

This is a trend we saw prior to Hurricane Ian. When Hurricane Ian hit, there was a temporary lull which caused that differential to drop. Since November 9th that differential has begun to resume that upward trend.

Forget Button

Hurricane Ian caused many in SW Florida to hit the Forget Button. They forgot what was happening in the market prior to Ian. Our lives were turned so upside down that economics and reality didn’t matter, if only temporarily. We were in survival mode and everyone did what they had to do to find housing, work, food, water, etc. Now things are settling back down for most and returning to normal, even if it is a new normal.

I don’t like the new normal, but nature didn’t ask my opinion. I don’t like that we don’t have a beach to go to, or the fact so many cannot live in their home after the storm. So many people don’t have their same job because the business isn’t open or doesn’t exist.  Nobody asked for the new normal, and yet to survive we must deal with it.

Rising interest rates caused home buying activity to slow nationwide, and here locally. One of the reasons prices were able to rise like they did the past several years was because of low borrowing costs, but those days are over.  Home prices haven’t statistically fallen much, but it has affected home closings which are down significantly.

Inventory Levels Affect Future Pricing

One of the reasons we track inventory levels is because eventually that could affect home prices. Right now many home sellers can be choosy. Many don’t have to sell, so they don’t. Eventually more and more homeowners must sell for various reasons.  If supply continues to build, it could affect home prices going forward.

The Fed is still tightening short term interest rates. Economic data is due out this week after this article is written which could affect long term interest rates. Recently 30-year mortgage rates have fallen back to about 6.58%, down from over 7%. This has helped some real estate deals. We will keep our eye on rates going forward. Any help we can get on interest rates can directly impact the market.

30 year mortgage rates are pegged on the 10 Year treasury note which declined in recent weeks because many thought the Fed would be less aggressive going forward. We believe the Fed will talk tough this week, and the markets will react. The tougher the Fed talks, the quicker we can get to peak rates and eventually lower rates. The Fed has been slow and behind the curve. They must raise unemployment and slow housing to curb inflation. Both are moving, just not quickly enough to move the needle.

Home Prices

Home prices have remained amazingly steady locally. They don’t seem to be rising or falling, although we are seeing price reductions. This is a sign that sellers do not rule the roost anymore and it is heading towards a balanced market. Going forward we will be watching interest rates, inventory levels, and of course our Current Market Index which we share with Ellis Team sellers.

Home to Sell

If you have a home to sell, Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500 We’d love to sit down with you and discuss your options. We have more inside information we can share. Good luck, and Happy Selling!