One question we get frequently is where are real estate prices headed, North or South? Buyers want to know, and sellers want to know.

Real Estate Prices Headed North or South

The perfect answer is nobody knows for sure, and the market will determine the outcome. A lot of forces are in play that will influence the market. The good news is history and data leave clues. Let’s break down what we know and what history suggests could happen.

Post Hurricane Pricing

Last October we wrote an article entitled Past Hurricane Sales Pricing Data.  We showed the pricing trends after Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Irma. It’s also important to note the economic conditions at those times back in 2004 and 2017. Our conclusion was that neither hurricane impacted prices. The economy itself was a larger determinant of what happened following the hurricane than the actual event was.

As of this date, closed sales are running almost identical to 2020. In other words, closed home sales are running ahead of 2018, the year after Hurricane Irma. Keep in mind after Hurricane Irma our area was plagued with red tide and blue green algae. While we have had red tide in spurts in 2023, we’ve experienced nothing like we did in 2018. Let’s keep our fingers crossed because 2020 wasn’t a bad year for home sales until Covid squashed home sales in April and May. We rebounded nicely after that, and the rest is history for Florida home sales.

Seasonal Peaks

Traditionally median and average home sale prices peak in April or May, depending on which statistic you look at. We have a few more months left to fully evaluate if we can get back to 2022 levels or surpass them. If we do not, it would not be surprising to see home prices lower year over year the rest of the year. We wrote several articles on that in the past.

One trend we have noticed is pending sales have been tracking interest rates. As rates creep up, pending sales have retreated. As we have received reprieves in rates in certain weeks, pending sales pick right back up. Rates have been down the past few weeks; however, we see them creeping up again.

Interest Rates

Wall street is split on whether the Fed is done raising rates. Some say, including Fed chairman Powell, and some Fed governors, they will raise more. Others say the Fed will have to begin lowering rates as soon as this summer.

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. Wall Street doesn’t know either. If history holds true, we will be watching interest rates.  When rates fall below 6%, we could see a resurgence in home buyer activity. If they fall below 5%, we could see prices rise again.

Inventory is Growing

Home inventory has more than doubled in the last year. In fact, our numbers show it tripled. Still, they are low historically speaking, which has helped keep prices up. There would be a lot more listings if sellers were not trapped in their home by low interest rates. So many home sellers would make a move, but they don’t want to give up sub 3% rate on their home.

As the months and years go by, people’s lives change and you will begin to see more homes go on the market. Additionally, when interest rates begin falling, we may see an increase as well. It will be interesting to see how much the demand picks up with falling rates, as well as the supply.

Real Estate Prices Headed North or South?

That mathematical equation will probably determine where home prices go.  If you have a home to sell, you should talk to Brett or Sande about our 8-Day Program that nets sellers thousands more than the traditional way. Simply call us 239-444-8150 to get our price on your home.

Last week I watched a speaker and a quote stood out to me “In uncertain times trust experience.” As I thought about what he said, it made perfect sense.

Uncertain Times Trust Experience

We don’t control all the circumstances and events that surround us. I believe people get frustrated when they cannot control things they are used to controlling. It is the loss of control, or the feeling of control that causes anxiety.


 The reality is, perhaps we never controlled what we thought we did. What if the best managers are just better at adapting to changes and offering solutions? Everyone loves to have a sense of control. When you have to depend on others to do their job, we must realize that we give up some control.

Most Realtors I know attempt to take control back. We all prefer loans go through the lenders of our choosing because we have a high degree of confidence they will close. The same is true with inspectors, title insurance companies, insurance agents, etc. We deal with people we know because we know they are experienced and know how to do their job.

When an issue arises, we don’t yell at them and tell them to fix it. We work with them to fix it, because we have a high degree of respect and trust for that person. We trust that what they are telling us is a real issue, because they have knowledge and experience. We also trust that together we can find a way to overcome the issue and resolve it.

The bottom line is, we control what we can and trust others to help us. Agents with experience learn to do their job better than all other agents, and have the wisdom and experience to trust professionals with a proven track record to help in areas we cannot. The wisdom comes in knowing what we are capable of, and knowing who the best people are for the things we cannot.

Stay in Your Lane

 For instance, a good real estate agent shouldn’t be giving legal or tax advice. That should be reserved for the lawyers and accountants. A good real estate agent should know who some good lawyers and accountants are and be able to give recommendations. The same is true for architects, appraisers, inspectors, title companies, insurance, lenders. pest control, roofers, etc. Nobody can do it all, nor should they.

Experienced agents have been here before.  The Ellis Team has already worked through banking, insurance, housing, lending crises. While we didn’t always have all the answers the first time, we found them through hard work and talking with the right people. Crisis comes and goes. In uncertain times trust experience, and nobody is more experienced than the Ellis Team.  Brett and Sande have worked through many real estate cycles and know how to handle a good crisis. Sometimes it’s because we have experience in that issue. Other times, it’s a new crisis, and we have experience dealing with new issues.

Experience Develops Process

 The issue itself isn’t always the problem. The process of overcoming a problem is the answer, and experienced agents know how to overcome problems, new and old.

Have you ever watched someone make more of a problem than it really is? That’s typically because they don’t know how to tackle the issue.  It takes a certain set of skills and experience to overcome an issue. In the end, issues are just issues. We make them go away because we overcome them, somehow, some way, whenever possible. Sometimes it’s knowing what questions to ask, or who to ask. Other times it’s not panicking. Inexperienced people panic.

Experience Matters

 When there is a horrible crash, you want an experienced surgeon in the ER who has been there before. They don’t panic. They find solutions, even if they’ve never treated a stop sign sticking through a human leg. The same is true in real estate. Perhaps we’ve never had a person’s title stolen 3 days before closing. We will find a resource that can help our client.

Bottom line: In uncertain times trust experience. They can get you out of crisis, or steer you clear of crisis in the first place, because they’ve either been there before, or know the process of tackling the issue.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500 Put our experience to work for you!

Today we’d like to let our readers know about the banking crisis short-term opportunity for buyers. By now everyone has heard about the banking crisis that brought down 2 banks in the US and put pressure on several regional banks.

This banking crisis may affect borrowers in the short-term and create real opportunity in a few ways.  Let’s explain why, and how these banks became under pressure.

How it Started

Silicon Valley Bank lent out money on risky capital venture clients.  This did not help, but it is not what really got them into trouble.  The trouble point was an asset-liability mismatch. They took in deposits from wealthier clients and reinvested that money into safe US treasury bonds. I say safe, because they are guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the United States. The unsafe part was mismatching the maturity dates. SVB was forced to rely on buying treasuries because loan demand fell due to rising rates.

As rates began to rise, wealthier clients expected more return on the deposit side, and they knew how to switch banks and investment vehicles if they didn’t get it. Many of the larger banks are under a CET1 capitalization ratio of around 12.5%. Banks like SVB may have only been at 7%.

The deposits were invested in bonds and guaranteed safe.  However, they did not expect people to withdraw money so fast seeking higher returns. SVB got caught short on their cash. Remember, they only had 7% minimum they had to carry. They could sell the US Bonds, but bond prices have an inverse relationship to yield. As yields went up by the Fed raising rates, the locked in invested bonds by SVB were at lower rates. To meet the cash drawdown from depositors seeking higher return, they had to sell those US bonds at a discount.

Proper Risk Management

Selling their assets at a discount further exacerbated their capitalization requirement. They went from a minimum of 7% down to zero. In essence, they were insolvent, even though they had invested in high quality guaranteed assets. The bank couldn’t wait for them to mature to pay off depositors seeking higher return. SVB couldn’t match the higher rates because they didn’t have sufficient yield spread as they were locked into lower rates. In essence, they were caught flat footed. Supposedly Silicon Valley Bank dropped a hedge against rising rates in 2022. Some speculate this was to boost profits at the expense of unnecessary risk.

Rapidly rising interest rates put pressure on banks like SVB and some regional banks. Loan demand fell. They had to get income from bonds, but those bonds went down in value everyday as rates rose. It was a catch-22.

Ironically, the Fed may have to slow down or pause rate hikes to save the banks. Most experts feel like the Fed needs to raise the terminal rate to above the inflation rate. This would require rates to rise, but maybe they can’t. And maybe layoffs and the banking crisis which may lead to less lending in and of itself will help with inflation.

One thing is for sure. Washington has to quit spending more money and injecting more money supply into the economy. This is what caused inflation, and it is making the Fed’s job tougher. The tougher the Fed’s job is, the more pressure it puts on jobs, banking, and everything in the economy.

Banking Crisis Short-Term Opportunity

Banking Crisis Short-Term Opportunity for Buyers

Look at the weekly inventory graphs. Rates were rising the past 2 weeks, and so was inventory for both single family and condo.  Rates took a tumble this past Monday on the banking crisis news.  This may cause the Fed to slow down future rate hikes to protect the banks. This could be the short-term opportunity buyers have been waiting for. If so, look for inventory to fall if buyers snatch up more properties.

Banking Crisis Short-Term Opportunity Condo Inventory

By Tuesday rates were headed back up. We’ll be watching. Next week will be a big week when the Fed announces March 22nd.

If you have a property to sell in SW Florida, call Brett or Sande Ellis at 239-310-6500. Or visit to get your instant value. If you’re a buyer, call one of our buyer specialists at 239-489-4042 or visit to search the MLS. Opportunity is knocking!

The Ellis Team has created a new online home value analysis tool that allows us to track your home’s value over time from many of the online valuation sites. While these sites cannot be relied upon as 100% accurate, they do give us some insights.

Watch the Direction

Perhaps more important than the value it places upon your property is the direction of the market. Is the market going up or down for your property?  Most sellers want to know how the market is doing for their home.

Because we have premium access to many of the online valuation sites, we are able to log into the major sites and enter the data into a spreadsheet.  We then email you the results based upon the schedule we have for you. Here is a sample of what the report looks like.

Online Home Value Analysis Tool

We have  ****** out the various services here but they will be shown on your actual report. The computers will never be as accurate as we are as they have never been in your home and studied the condition of your home or evaluated some of the improvements the computer may not know about. You can always receive our home value analysis at  Read below on how to get all the home value estimates and track over time.

Appraisers Being Replaced?

We are hearing that many of the lenders are going to online valuations versus actual appraisals in many instances, so knowing what the computers think is important. Personally, we believe there will always be a need for appraisers but lenders are rethinking that in some cases.

As interest rates were rising in 2022, we noticed median and average home values began to fall. The computers were delayed and were still showing price increases. Perhaps the specific homes we were checking on were still rising. Or perhaps the computers took time to pick up on the price declines. In the last month or so we have noticed the computers picking up on price changes.

This is why we say computers may not be as good as we are are at studying the market, but they are important to watch.

Online Home Value Analysis Tool Schedule

Compiling the data is a bit of work for us, so we want to prioritize those that need it most. We will perform this service free of charge for you based upon the following schedule.

Online Home Value Analysis Tool Schedule
Online Home Value Analysis Tool Schedule

If your circumstances change, you can always let us know and we can adjust the schedule.  Please call us at 239-310-6500 or email Brett at with your property address, email address and time frame and we will get you on the schedule!

Should I Sell Now?

Many sellers want to stay in their home as long as possible especially when prices are still rising. Some owners want to capture the equity they have built up in recent years. Nobody wants to sell when prices are still rising, unless they area fearful the market has neared its top. Sometimes values in a spreadsheet over time helps sellers identify trends and confirm their feelings on prices.

Brett and Sande Ellis would be happy to discuss your situation and help you decide if now is the right time for you to sell. We’ll look at where you would go, how much you would net at closing, and look at all your options. We are not high pressure.

If selling is the right option for you, we have a program to sell your home in 8 days, so you’re not caught chasing the market. Call us at 239-310-6500 and we’ll discuss your options.

Good luck, and Happy Selling!

Big Mortgage Changes Coming


RV Alert

Our Review of the Liquid Springs Suspension System on a new 2023 Fleetwood Southwind 37F


We’ll write a future blog post about the Liquid Springs soon for our RV’ers who may be interested.

We want to alert you to big mortgage changes coming that will affect home buyers and sellers soon. Effective May 1st, all loans sold and secured through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will incur significant charges in three key areas. What this means is loans will need to be funded sometime in April to avoid these extra charges. The extra charges are in addition to rising interest rates.

Big Mortgage Changes Coming

Credit Score

The top tier credit score used to be 740. That is changing to 780. For borrowers with less than a 780 credit score there will be a premium added to the yield.  The lower the score, the more premium will be added. The increased yield can lead to either additional closing costs or higher interest rate, or both.

Amount Down

Borrowers putting 30% or more down with a 760 credit score escape the amount down premium.  Pretty much everyone escapes this premium with 70% down. As you can see from the chart, the credit score and amount down are interrelated.

Debt to Income Ratio

Borrowers whose total debt to income including the home loan exceeds 40% will also pay a premium of .25% to .375% unless they are putting 40% down.

As an example, a borrower with a 740 credit score putting 20% down on a $400,000 loan will pay an extra $1,500. The same borrower with a debt to income ratio of over 40% will pay an additional $1,500 for a total of $3,000 in extra costs. That money must come from somewhere. Either the buyer or seller must pay it, or it may get added to the rate.

Other Loan Types

People buying condos, second homes, investment properties, and other types of loans may also see some price increases.

Good News for FHA and VA Loans

There is some good news. FHA and VA are lowering their costs to borrow. The net result is we predict more buyers will utilize FHA and VA when they can. Sellers will learn to appreciate this too because FHA and VA buyers may have an easier time qualifying for a loan under the new guidelines. Sellers should not be afraid of these loans given the new lending landscape.

There are some downsides to FHA. The MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium) of 1.75% is paid upfront. Not over time. For those with less than 5% down, the MIP never goes away, so FHA buyers should consider putting 5% down instead of the minimum 3.5% down.

VA buyers will also save by putting 5% down versus the minimum 0% down.

Big Mortgage Changes Coming-Overall Market Impact

Conventional costs and interest rates are going up. FHA and VA re lowering costs which means those loans will gain market share and increase in popularity. Look for more buyers to ask sellers for concessions and closing costs.


If you are a buyer or seller, it would be best to get your property under contract by about March 15th. Any time after that costs will go up. This will affect home buyers and it could ultimately affect home sellers too depending on demand.

The cost of waiting has never been greater. Not only are the costs of borrowing going up, but the actual rates are too. This is a double whammy for buyers. The triple whammy is rental rates are also skyrocketing, so they have no protection against rising housing costs. The only way renters can protect themselves is to purchase and lock in those rates. The big mortgage changes coming will force buyers to pay more for their loan or consider options to reduce costs.

If you are borrowing conventional, do so by March 15th. Otherwise, consider FHA or VA after that date, but keep in mind there are loan limits by county for FHA.