Rising interest rates led to Lee County home sales decline of 20.63%. Nationwide home sales fell 17.8% in 2022 which was the sharpest annual decline since 2008.

Lee County Home Sales Declined 20.63%

Hurricane Ian Impact?

You might be wondering if the hurricane had an impact on our local sales. I went back and analyzed sales prior to the hurricane and we were down 12.24% through August. It is safe to say Hurricane Ian did negatively impact home sales as many homes were not sellable after the storm.

Experts are predicting home sales to fall further in 2023. One prominent trainer is telling agents to prepare for a further 35% fall in home sales nationwide. I just checked sources and here is what they are predicting:

National Association of Realtors predicts 7.0% decline in number of homes sold. Fannie Mae predicts 21.1% decline. Mortgage Bankers Association predicts 13.7%. National Association of Home Builders predicts 15.7% decline. Realtor.com predicts 14.1% decline in 2023. The bottom line is everyone is expecting less home sales in 2023.

The reasons for declining sales are many. Inventory is still low. Interest rates are still high but have come down some. Personally, I think SW Florida might do a little better than the national averages.

As damaged properties receive insurance proceeds and get fixed up some will go on the market. We have seen inventory levels shoot up throughout 2022 and the trend is continuing into 2023. Demand may not be what it once was, but there is still demand.

Buyers Are Here

 Already the first two weeks of January have seen stronger buyer demand. We may not have 50 offers per property, but we are still seeing full price offers on homes that are priced appropriately. Sellers are more reasonable as they understand we are not in the market of 2021 anymore. Home prices are well above what many paid for their homes. While sellers cannot get as much as they want, many are satisfied with what they can get.

Of course, the market does have some sellers that still believe it is March is 2022 and they want those prices, plus a premium. I’ve worked in the SW Florida real estate market for 35 years and no matter the market there will always be some unrealistic sellers. I can say the same for buyers too. The deals happen when the unrealistic face reality and become realistic. The only difference is how long it takes to get there and how much does it cost them to be unrealistic.

I’ll give two examples. Many sellers get caught chasing the market down because they were unrealistic. At some point circumstances change and now they must sell. They sure do wish they had sold earlier when prices were higher.

Similarly, we’ve spoken with many buyers that came down and didn’t like our prices because they had gone up. They wanted last year’s prices and were willing to wait out the sellers until the market gave them the price they desired. Later, they regretted missing a 100% rise in prices. Those buyers were so ate up with a 10% rise that they missed home prices doubling.

View all listings in MLS here.

2023 and Beyond

 We believe interest rates have stabilized and may bounce around where they are. With any luck they might even touch the 5’s soon. We know many companies have planned layoffs in the coming months. The Fed may raise rates again in February and March by 25 basis points each. At some point soon they may signal they are about done raising. This does not mean they will lower them in 2023. Many believe this process wouldn’t begin until 2024. If this scenario occurs, we could see 30 year mortgage remains remain steady or dip slightly, perhaps into the 5’s. This would setup a balanced real estate market in 2023 with prices neither rising nor falling much. We’ve already seen price declines in 2022 but nobody knows it. Inventory levels and pending sales will be what we keep watching in 2023. Lower interest rates could lead to a rise in Lee County home sales.

Residential Listing Inventory Triples

SW Florida residential  listing inventory triples in past 11 months. On February 15, 2022 we had 1,106 single family homes on the market. This week we had 3,336 in Lee County.

Residential Listing Inventory Triples

On the condo side Lee County had 297 on the market on February 15th, 2022. This past week MLS shows 1,166. Which is approaching 4 times the inventory from last year.

condo listing inventory SW Florida

Uptick in Pending Sales

Home prices have stalled, although we have noticed an uptick in pending sales. This week, total pending sales which includes pendings and pending contingent stood at 1,469 for single family homes. Pending sales have been falling mightily until this week. To give you an idea, total pending sales were 2,726 last April when we began tracking them weekly.

Tracking this information weekly has helped us spot trends sooner since the official numbers are always a month behind.

It appears each time there is a dip in rates pending sales seem to tick upwards. In the past 2 months we’ve seen rates decline from 7% plus to around 6.3% The mortgage market is tied less to what the Fed is doing and more so to how the bond market is reacting. The bond market is telling us we’re going to be in recession and the Fed has over tightened.

Future Rates

One Fed governor is signaling a 25 basis point hike in February while another is signaling a 50 basis point hike. The only difference between the two is one would like to raise faster and hold and the other would like to go slower and take an extra month to get to the 50 basis point hike. Going slower would allow another month to evaluate data and see if they could stop at the 25-basis point hike.

What this means is long term interest rates should hold steady. They could rise a bit, and they could fall some because the bond market realizes the Fed is about done raising rates.

We see continued inventory hitting the market. We could see rising demand if interest rates fall any further. If we could get rates down to about 5.5% we believe many more people would sell their home and move. If this happens, inventory would rise but so too would buyer demand.

Inventory levels are still at decent levels. We wouldn’t want them to triple again as that would be price depressing. Already we have seen prices top out in 2022 and head lower. Prices will be determined by interest rates. Rates will help determine demand, and in a reverse kind of way, supply.

Lower Rates May Lead to More Supply

The reason we say reverse is many people didn’t want to sell because they have locked in at a low rate. If they sell, they must purchase again at a higher rate. When rates come down, it will increase buyer demand, but it may also increase supply.

We should have fresh official numbers out next week for both September and year end averages. We believe we are about 2 months away from reporting flat or declining prices year over year. We don’t make the averages; we only report them. We work on getting our sellers Top Dollar, but it pays to know what the market is doing.

View All Offers in 8 Days

We have a plan to generate all offers on your home within 8 days. Call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-444-8150 to find out how we generate offers and higher prices when inventory is on the rise. You’ll know fast and avoid costly price reductions by having your home on the market for a long time.

Good Luck and Happy Selling!

72Sold arrives in SW Florida and everybody is asking what it is. This past week people watched the TV ads from the NFL as well as the national morning shows and the national evening news. People are seeing it on social media and almost everywhere it seems.

72SOLD Arrives in SW Florida

72SOLD Arrives in SW Florida

In a nutshell, 72SOLD is a new better way to sell homes versus the traditional way, but it’s not exactly new. 72Sold is a company that dominates the Arizona market after starting there about 5 years ago. The company identified two major problems harming home sellers who sell the traditional way and 72SOLD solved these two issues.

According to multiple independent studies, 72SOLD averages 8.4%-12% higher sales than the MLS. How do they do this?  After studying the program for the past 6 months we know why. Let’s put this in perspective.

New Way Versus Traditional Selling

The Ellis Team at Keller Williams has been leaders in SW Florida real estate for 30+ years. We have been voted Best in Real Estate by News Press readers for 9+ years. So why would we switch the way we do things when obviously our marketing helps sellers sell faster and for more money? The answer is, we found a better way and we’re not afraid to admit it.

It would be easy for a Top company to turn a blind eye to new ideas. Ego can shield you from the best ideas if you let it. We are proud to say we didn’t let ego get in the way of improving our service to our clients.

The Process

After viewing your home, we sit down with sellers and show them the new program. When sellers see how the program works, instantly they are amazed and wonder why nobody has come up with this before. The program is not a gimmick. It is not a slogan or fancy marketing just to get in the door, gain the listing, and sell like everybody else. 72SOLD is a legitimate system to sell homes fast and for higher prices.

72SOLD has partnered with Keller Williams to bring this system nationwide. The Ellis Team works for Keller Williams Realty right here in SW Florida and is a licensed 72SOLD affiliate, meaning we have been trained and certified to bring you this amazing program. Brett and Sande are the area Directors for 72SOLD. When you list your home with us, you are listing with Keller Williams and getting the new better way 72SOLD system in addition to us. It is the best of both worlds.

Other Keller Williams agents may offer the system in the future, so be sure to ask for the Ellis Team, or call 239-444-8150 In 15 minutes we’ll verify your home and give you your price.

72SOLD became famous for delivering fast sales and high prices before the real estate boom, so this isn’t a technique from a market that has since passed. Because the system works in all kinds of markets, it’s perfect for a shifting market like we are now experiencing.

Do I have to Sell My Home Fast?

You can sell your home whenever you like. We have a sheet that asks what the ideal sale would look like for you along with timing. The program accounts for your timeframe. If you’re thinking of selling, give Brett or Sande a call. After viewing the program, you’ll wonder why anybody would ever sell the traditional way again.

72SOLD has over 1,500 5-star Google reviews. The program works. Listing your home with a new better way to sell homes partnered with the Top-Rated Agents in SW Florida according to our own 5-star reviews and News Press readers is a winning formula.  Call us today. 239-444-8150

 Good luck and Happy Selling!

Benefits of 72SOLD and Ellis Team

Ellis Team Open Houses

Open House Saturday 12-3 PM

2455 Woodland Cir


Fort Myers Villas Ellis Team Open House
Open House Saturday 12-3 PM

Open House Saturday 12-3 PM

5511 Cheshire Dr #201

$445,000 4 Bedrooms, 3 Baths, 2 Car Garage

Bell Tower Park 4 Bedrooms 3 Baths 2 Car Garage
Open House Saturday 12-3 PM


RV For Sale

You buy the RV, we’ll help you find a RV lot to put it on

RV for Sale

We are proud to announce a new better way to sell homes has arrived in SW Florida. Brett and Sande Ellis have been training on this new program for months and are excited to bring this to SW Florida.

New Better Way to Sell Homes with 72 Sold

72 Sold is a real estate company in Arizona that burst onto the scene and took over market share. The founder of the company invented a remarkable home selling system selling homes in a 72 hour weekend and for higher prices.

At first glance you might think this sounds like a gimmick. It was my first thought, but fortunately I had heard of the system. Many agents from competing brokerages were wondering how this new company was selling so many homes, and so fast. Some competing agents were flat out complaining because they didn’t understand the system and wondered why they were being beaten out for all these listings.

The founder of 72 Sold was a bit of a revolutionary. He had a desire to make this thing big and take it nationwide, but he needed a little help.

Revolutionary Leader Meets Revolutionary Leader

 Gary Keller has been a bit of a revolutionary leader himself. Gary built the #1 real estate sales organization in America, but he always admired what this little guy in Arizona was doing. This little guy wasn’t so little after a while, so the two leaders talked about taking this nationwide.

Keller Williams and 72 Sold have partnered to bring the 72 Sold system all over. To utilize this system, agents need to be trained and certified. There are a lot of moving pieces, and we can understand why outside agents do not understand it. It is a threat to the traditional way of selling real estate.

Traditional Vs New Better Way to Sell Homes

 This new program has identified two problems in the industry keeping homes from selling fast and for top dollar. 72 Sold provides a 4-step sequence that solves the two major problems that affect sellers. If the market changes, this new system still works because it was built and utilized before the market became hot. In other words, it works in all markets, and especially in changing markets.

Who am I Listing My Home With?

 You are listing your home with the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty. Brett and Sande are area program directors for 72 Sold and we are authorized to sell your home this new and better way. We will be using the 72 Sold system as an affiliate partner. You get the best of both worlds. The nation’s #1 selling company combined with this new home selling system that took over the Arizona market. The system has been so good it has been featured on CBS, ABC, NBC, Forbes, etc. I’m sure others will be doing stories too.

New better way to sell homes 72 sold certified
72 Sold Certified New Better Way to Sell Homes

You’ll begin to see ads on TV starting next week. The process is simple. Simply call the 72 Sold hotline 239-444-8150 and leave us your name, phone number, and property address. We’ll schedule a time to preview your home for 15 minutes and give you a price. Your home could be sold in one 72-hour weekend and wrapped up in 8 days from A to Z. Brett and Sande will tell you more about the program when we meet or leave you a brochure explaining the program.

After seeing this new program you’ll begin to wonder why anyone would sell the traditional way again. We did a test run on a listing and had similar amazing results. Not that we doubted its success. It was nice to know that we were able to run the program after months of training and it worked.

If you’re considering selling your home, or perhaps tried in the past and it didn’t work out, call Sande or Brett. We look forward to bringing this new better way to sell homes to SW Florida and getting our clients Top Dollar fast.

Good luck and Happy Selling!

Median home prices fell in 2nd half of 2022, and if prices do not change course, we are one to three months away from showing price declines year over year. The media and the public in general tend to focus on the headline number which is year over year sales.

Median Home Prices Fell in 2nd Half of 2022

In a few months people will begin reading how home prices are down and they will think the market suddenly turned. The truth is the market turned February 15th of 2022. How do we know this? Some will argue home prices increased until April or May, but many of those sales were the results of pending sales in February. We know this because February 15th is the day inventory started rising. Not long after, pending sales began dropping.

Not all Bad News For Sellers

The news isn’t all bad for home sellers though as prices rose dramatically since 2019. You might be surprised to know that the median home price back in November 2019 was $262,500. November 2022 median price in Lee County was $400,000.  While this number is down from $470,000 back in April, it is still up 52.38% in three short years.

Buyers love to time buying at the bottom of the market, and sellers love to sell at the absolute top of the market. A small percentage of buyers and sellers can time the market perfectly.  Interest rates have impacted homebuyers’ ability to afford as much home as they once did, and this has contributed to a cap on prices.

Sellers need to know what is happening in the market. There is a reason some sellers overprice their homes. They mistakenly believe the market is something it isn’t. This real estate market is great, but it isn’t escalating 2% per month like it was. In fact, median home prices are down 14.89% since April.

Facts Speak Louder Than Words

Our job as Realtors isn’t to trick buyers and sellers into believing the market is hotter or colder. The market is what the market is, and we simply help interpret it for our clients. We would do a disservice to our clients if we tried to sell the market. Rather, we educate our clients on market conditions so they can make the best decision for their family.

We are upbeat about the market. Just because the market is off it’s all-time highs doesn’t mean it’s not a great market. The market rarely stands in one place. It is always on the move, and sharp agents can help you spot opportunities as they happen.

Future market conditions will bring future market changes. Whatever those conditions are, we help our clients spot those changes and react faster. I remember several times when we saw conditions changing for our clients and alerted them before the market realized the changes. We saved our clients thousands by acting sooner.

New and Better Way to Sell Homes

Next week we will be announcing a new and better way to sell homes coming to SW Florida. This new program nets sellers more money than traditional sales, and it works in any kind of market. We expect there to be several expired listings January 1st and many of those sellers will be looking for a new and better way to sell their home. Pricing is just one factor in selling a home for Top Dollar. The other is choosing how the home is marketed.

If you are thinking about selling your SW Florida home, or have tried in the past and not happy with the results, you can call Sande Ellis or Brett Ellis at 239-310-6500 or email Brett@topagent.com with the subject line New Way and we’ll put you on a path to selling your home fast and for Top Dollar. Keep in mind, our price may be more than the online value models like www.SWFLhomevalues.com and others.

Stay tuned next week for the announcement.

Happy New Year, and Happy Selling!