Good news this week for home sellers as lenders update closing costs sellers are permitted to pay for the buyers.

Why this is Big News

The recent proposed settlement from NAR on the commission lawsuit prohibits listing what the seller is offering to the buyer agent in the MLS.  Sellers can still offer buyer agent compensation or agree to pay buyer closing costs. The recent agreement also mandates buyers sign a buyer agent agreement showing how much the buyer will pay their agent.

The confusion could arise, depending on how the contract is written, if the payment is compensation or concession. The reason that matters is because lenders put a limit of how much a seller can pay for the buyer, and it varied depending on how much buyer is putting down and what type of loan they were applying for. This is why it’s imperative lenders update closing costs concession rules.

Fannie Mae (FNMA) selling guide B3-4.1-03 allows interested party contributions to make contributions to buyer’s closing costs. The seller is considered an interested party, so this is allowed. FNMA has also said they will not count buyer agent commission paid by seller on behalf of the buyer towards the IPC (Interested Party Contribution) limits. In other words, the seller can still pay the buyer closing costs, if need be, and any commission paid by seller will not be counted against the buyer’s concession limits.

Concession Limits

Under FNMA guidelines, interested parties can contribute between 2-9% of buyer’s closing costs depending on the loan.  If a buyer needs more than 2% in closing costs paid on the loan, working in the buyer agent commission would have been impossible if they computed that fee as a limit. Sellers were worried because limiting buyers means potentially longer time on the market and fewer buyers. In a shifting market with rising interest rates, that would not be good for home sellers.

Lenders Update Closing Costs Sellers Permitted to Pay

What is Changing

So far, nothing much. Home sellers have always had the option to pay the buyer agent side. Lenders clarifying their position will give sellers comfort. Sellers can still attract buyers to their properties, and the payment of commission on buyer’s behalf will be allowable. Lenders understand the needs of buyers and sellers. Had lenders not clarified, buyers would be harmed because they would not be able to purchase a property when the seller is not paying the buyer agent commission in many cases. Sellers would be hurt too. Had lenders not allowed this, they would have lost many buyers who can no longer purchase their property.

Status Quo

As of right now, the only thing changing is the fee the seller is offering to pay as compensation cannot be listed in MLS. A seller can list a concession they’re willing to pay, but most sellers will not do that because the concession could be used for anything. Listing agents may charge more to work with unrepresented buyers because their costs will be greater, and the seller wouldn’t want to pay for buyer agent compensation through the listing agent and as a mandatory concession.

How It Might Work

We believe most sellers will not offer a concession in MLS.  We haven’t seen the new forms yet, because the settlement hasn’t been approved yet. Our thinking is sellers will still agree to pay buyer agent compensation. In most cases that information will not be in MLS. Buyer agents will be forced to call listing agents. Depending on the answer, buy will need to make a decision if they want to view that home. If a seller is not offering to pay a buyer agent compensation, many buyers will pass on seeing the home. Other buyers might view it, and if they like home ask seller to pay buyer agent anyway through their offer. Other buyers may go directly to the listing agent, but they may have to wait to see it depending on schedules. Efficiencies will be lost.

Considering Selling?

Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-310-6500 We’ll walk you through the changes. Marketing will become more important than ever, and nobody markets like the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty. We can discuss your options, and talk about the pros and cons of each decision, and how it will affect your bottom line.

New Listings

2726 SW 2nd Pl Cape Coral

 

6351 Brant Bay Blvd #104 North Fort Myers

Lee County Florida housing inventory levels stabilize at the end of season. This is true for single family homes and condo listings. To be fair, there were 111 single family homes that expired on April 1st and some of them will come back on the market. Those 111 expired listings would not have changed things that much.

Housing Inventory Levels Stabilize

We’ll be watching pending sales going into April and May, and of course new listings. All eyes will also be on interest rates this year as well. I did a little digging into the market and analyzed last week’s price reductions.

12.62 % of all single-family home listings reduced their price this past week. The average price reduction last week was 3.59%. As the season draws to an end it is clear that many home sellers are adjusting to the market as they are motivated to successfully close and move on to their next venture.

Pending Sales

 Pending and pending contingent sales picked up slightly last week to 2,226, which was up from 2,174 the week before. However, that number is down from the 2 weeks prior to that. We should note we would expect pending sales to be highest close to the end of the month, especially at the end of season.

Interest Rates

Experts have been predicting up to 9 interest rate cuts this year going back to the 4th quarter of last year. We have been saying, not so fast! The Fed’s latest announcement suggests up to 3 rate cuts this year, but again, we are saying, not so fast! While we would love rate cuts in 2024, we’re not sure the Fed is going to cut if they follow their own criteria. They might very well cut due to political reasons, but the numbers do not meet their criteria. The Fed has added an unemployment number criteria which was not met. I am writing this article before the Wednesday CPI number comes out, and that is not expected to help either.

Oil

 I can’t tell you how many times we have said the price of oil influences inflation interest rates, and the economy. Oil prices have been stubbornly high because we are not getting cooperation from OPEC. We have released much of our strategic reserve, and we don’t have more to release to bring prices down, albeit temporarily. It seems so long as our policies are favorable to Iran, Saudi Arabia is not going to help us. High oil prices are not good for inflation. Neither is spending, and we have both problems right now. The Fed cannot risk lowering rates too soon and risking double-dip inflation later. The Fed wants to lower in June to avoid the appearance of waiting and interfering with the election.

Assumptions

If we assume the Fed is not going to lower rates in June, how will that affect consumer confidence and affordability in the housing market? Many buyers are buying and enjoying the selection of homes. Other buyers, however, are reluctant, possibly due to affordability issues. Others may fear prices will fall and wish to wait until they do. Ironically, when interest rates fall, it adds to affordability and could give fuel to further prices increases later.  Invariably buyers try to time the best time to purchase, and invariably they get it wrong. Buyers are not alone though. Sellers try to time the market as well, and most get that wrong as well.

We’ll be watching the CPI numbers this week, and charting housing inventory levels and pending sales.

Hurricane Season

Predictions call for a record year for tropical systems this year, and the Gulf of Mexico is supposedly in the cross hairs. We know several sellers have stated they do not want to be here for another season. If you’re one of those people, the time is now to get your home on the market and sell before hurricane season heats up.

Overall, we have a good market. Prices are stable enough, and buyers are looking, so long as they see value. Homes must be marketed to attract as many buyers as possible, both near and far. Homes do not sell themselves. Changes are coming to how homes are marketed.

Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-310-6500 to find out how your home can stand out and sell this year! We’ll market your home for all it’s worth. Or visit www.Equity-Analysis.com to track your home’s equity position.

 

Everywhere you turn there are headlines about the Realtor commission lawsuit settlement. Just about every news story gets it wrong or does not understand the facts.

Realtor Commission Lawsuit Settlement Explained

I know you’re never going to read the details of the settlement, so let me explain what changes, what doesn’t change, who wins and loses by this settlement and some predictions.  If you’re still reading to the end, I’ll cover more details for those interested.

What Changes

Buyers will have to sign a buyer’s broker agreement before looking at property. The exception might be open houses. It is unclear if buyer agents will have to sign an agreement to see one home through the listing agent. We suspect they will when the new rules come out.

Sellers can still offer buyer agents compensation, and most probably will. However, agents will no longer be able to communicate this offer through the MLS. All fields that show how much seller is offering buyer agent compensation will be stripped away.  Agents and MLS’s cannot set up 3rd party sites to do this either. The exception is agents can post this information on their own websites, signs, newsletters, advertisements, etc. For a lawsuit that said it wanted to add transparency, it sure took away transparency and made it harder for buyers.

What Doesn’t Change

Realtor commissions were never set by the National Association of Realtors. This Realtor commission lawsuit settlement does nothing to change that. Commission rates were always determined by the value brought to the table by the agent, along with supply and demand. Supply and demand are the culmination of the number of transactions available in the market divided into the number of agents licensed and available to do the work.

Sellers can still offer buyer agent compensation. The only thing that changes is it cannot be listed publicly in the MLS. The settlement says the offer can still be made many other ways, and it is not prohibited.

Who Wins

Large agent teams and experienced agents. The Realtor commission lawsuit settlement mandates that buyers sign a buyer brokerage agreement before an agent can show them property. This agreement spells out how much the buyer will compensate the buyer agent on the transaction. Many agents use a buyer broker agreement, but it was never mandatory nationwide. Sellers do not have to offer buyer agent compensation. Some buyers may try to save some money and go directly to listing agents. Agents that do not carry listings, or who are not great at spelling out their value proposition will have a hard time converting buyers to work with them.

When less experienced agents get out of the business, more experienced agents will pick up market share.

Who Loses

Buyers, less experienced agents, single agents, the portals, and sellers who hire the least expensive agent they can find.

If compensation is written into the contract, the seller can still pay it. If a seller is not paying buyer agent compensation, a buyer can request the seller to pay some of buyer’s closing costs, and the commission is a closing cost to the buyer. However, with some loans there are limits to how much a seller can contribute, and if the buyer also needs other closing costs built in, it may go over the loan’s limits. Lastly, FHA and VA currently prohibit buyers from paying commission, so seller would have to pay it outright and not in the form of buyer closing costs, or the buyer cannot purchase the home.

Buyers will be blind when looking at listings online as to whether the seller is offering their buyer agent compensation. The Realtor commission lawsuit settlement will create extra work, delays, and added anxiety for buyers. Some buyers may not buy altogether.

Some Sellers Will Lose Too

Sellers may lose because they might try to save a buyer agent commission by not offering one. The seller may receive fewer showings because buyers may say I’m not even interested because they cannot afford to pay the down payment, bank closing costs, title fees, and buyer agent commission, so they move on to sellers who will. Sellers may see increased time on the market and a decrease in showings. Later they may decide to offer buyer agent compensation, but they will have wasted valuable time on the market.

Single agents will lose. Many agents pay real estate portals like Zillow and Realtor.com for buyer leads. These portals were kind of sneaky because they would place a contact agent on the listing display, but it wasn’t the listing agent. Buyers thought they were contacting the listing agent. In reality they were contacting agents who advertised on the portal. Buyers who are reluctant to pay a separate buyer agent will not want to deal with a buyer agent advertising on the portal. Those buyers will want to go directly to the listing agent, or with their own buyer agent they’ve hired.

Smaller agents will have to find another way to attract business. Additionally, less experienced agents tend to have a harder time explaining their value proposition, perhaps because they don’t really have one. Forcing the buyers to sign buyer brokerage agreements before they see property may not go so well for less experienced agents. This is why many are predicting many agents will get out of the business quickly.

7 Predictions

  1. Short Term– Many agents will leave the business or try to extend their career until the end of the year because their board and MLS fees are paid up. They may offer services they cannot perform because they don’t have the money, or offer reduced fees just to scrape by. By reducing their fee, they will be forced to offer less, and risk their client being dissatisfied with their service. They may extend their career by 6 months, but in the end not much will change and there will be a ton of buyer and seller listings expiring at the end of the year.
  2. Listing Agents may get busier as more buyers contact them directly. Agents will have to build in a fee to cover this extra load, because they may end up doing both sides of the deal which takes time. People do not realize how much time buyer agents spend with buyers, but listing agents do and they’re going to charge for this. For example, let’s say a listing agent has 20 listings. If each listing receives 20 showings before it goes under contract, that is 400 showings. A listing agent cannot be at 400 places at once, negotiate contracts, go on listing appointments, create the advertising, and all the things that go into selling a home. Listing agents will have to hire buyer agents or showing assistants to do this. These agents will need to be compensated, or they won’t do it, so the buyer compensation side never really goes away. The older system really was more transparent and efficient than the new system, nonetheless here we are.
  3.  Buyers Hurt The Most-Buyers will be hurt the worst and may be forced to go directly to the listing agents because they cannot afford a fee. They will not save on the house, and they may have to wait to see the home if the single agent has no help. Meanwhile, the home could sell while they are waiting for a showing.
  4. Sellers– will require agents to spend more advertising their home. The portals won’t attract buyers like they used to, so sellers will seek out agents who advertise. Listing agents will be forced to spend more money, because if they don’t, sellers will be unhappy and fire them when their listing expires. Sellers will ask more questions about qualifications and experience and want to see how their home will be marketed. Simply listing it on Zillow and realtor.com won’t cut it anymore.Some sellers will try it the hard way. They’ll try to hire a listing agent for as inexpensive as they can without knowing what all these changes are going to bring. Many will fail miserably and not get the results they were trying to save. These sellers will go back to step one and interview agents asking the questions mentioned above, this time through the lens of personal experience.
  5. Agents-Some will leave. Others will join a team who can afford to advertise and create leads. The buyer side of the business isn’t going away, but who the buyer calls might change. Agents will have some choices to make soon.
  6. Portals-The portals will change business models, or go out of business, or both. Zillow lost $158 million in 2023. If they cannot make money before the settlement, how are they going to do so afterwards when many agents leave the business and stop advertising, unless they change their model? There will be less real estate agents in the business to advertise with the portals. Secondly, why would agents pay Zillow, Realtor.com, and others to advertise for buyers when they struggle to convert them to actual closings? Remember, buyers are going to be hurt the worst by this agreement. The agents who advertise for buyers on the portals tend to be agents looking for buyer business they can convert. This blows up the whole portal model that basically just got between agents and consumers in the first place. Portals took agent listing data, displayed it on Internet, and charged other agents for privilege of advertising to get business off those listings.Look for real estate portals to pivot to attract sellers and sell those leads to listing agents for referral fees, monthly spend, or both
  7. Commissions-Rates were never set before the Realtor commission lawsuit settlement, and they won’t be now. This agreement does nothing to bring rates down. In fact, commission rates could increase when there are less agents in the business. Remember, rates are determined by agent count and the number of available transactions to work on. If you decrease agent count, there is more work and less competition. Buyers and sellers will be better off working with better agents, but the rates may not change much. The market will determine commission rates.

Media Headlines

We’ve seen headlines that say home prices will come down, or gone are the days of the 6% commission. First off, there never was a standard commission. We’ve seen rates go up and down based upon market conditions, agent count, locations, etc. Why do you think builders raise and lower agent commission when they are selling builder product? They do so to move product, and it’s based upon market conditions. The resale market is no different, and that’s not because someone up top is setting commission rates. The market dictates that.

As to home prices, if the seller saved some commission by not paying a buyer agent commission, what’s the chance they would pass that along to the buyer? If the seller can get it, they will keep it. The media makes all kinds of sensational headlines because they are there to sell stories. The media doesn’t care whether the headline comes true or not, they just need stories that sell. Most reporters don’t understand the market dynamics, so how could they offer a credible prediction?

Conclusion

I think the previous system worked efficiently. The new system takes away transparency and hurts buyers. It will also hurt some sellers who do not understand the changes and what the implications mean. Some agents will do better, and some will do worse.

Who you hire matters more today than ever! We can foresee sellers and buyers listing with an agent and wondering why they’re not hearing from them, only to find out the agent they hired is no longer in the business, or they’re hanging on but overloaded, underfunded, and have no idea what to do next.

If you have questions about selling your property, talk to the Real Estate Experts, Brett and Sande Ellis 239-310-6500. We advertise more than other agents, and we’ve run a team for over 30 years, so we know what it takes to get your home sold in this new environment. Don’t risk your home sale to an inexperienced agent who doesn’t understand the Realtor commission lawsuit settlement or doesn’t have the resources to market and show your home.

Introducing our newsest tool, the Equity Analysis  You’ll be able to check your home value and track your loan balance. This tool will also offer some insights on what you can do with that equity, and when might be a good time to refinance in the future.

Good luck, and Happy Selling!

 

2024 Total pending sales equals last year’s numbers. In 2023 Lee County saw 2,254 total pending sales for single family homes, condos, and manufactured homes on March 21, 2023. We track numbers every Tuesday, so this year’s numbers came out March 19, 2024. The current year’s numbers show 2,234, which is pretty close to last year.

Total Pending Sales Equals 2023 Numbers

The difference though isn’t in the pending sales. It is in the active listings. In 2023 we had 5,458 total active listings across all residential property types for sale. In 2024 we have 10,745 which is almost double the listings.

Roughly, Lee County total pending sales equals 2023 numbers and double the listings. For this reason it is almost impossible for price to rise in this environment.  While official numbers are not out yet as we write this article, we are tracking some interesting unofficial sales numbers in Lee County.

Compare today’s supply-demand vs August Housing Demand Gap.

Unofficial Numbers

Unofficially we can track 976 single family home sales in Lee County through our MLS. The median sales price in February 2024 was $430,000 and the average sales price was $586,665. In 2023 the official sales were 1,024 with a median sales price of $447,500 and an average sales price of $573,104.

We know the official numbers will contain a few extra sales from outside MLS’s that could change these numbers a bit. If our numbers were official, we would say the median sales price is down 3.91% from last year and the average sales price is up 2.37%.

These unofficial numbers are similar to what we have been tracking in recent months, so nothing is startling. The real question is, what will happen to home sales after season?

Last year home sales fell off after May. This is nothing new as they usually do. Last year’s drop-off seemed more severe than it was because prices were also dropping in 2023. The 2nd half of 2023 just didn’t feel very good to home sellers and agents.

Interest rates were also on the rise in 2023.  In 2024 interest rates seemed to have peaked, and the speculation isn’t around how much higher they may go versus when they will start dropping. This is a very different event than what we saw in 2023, so there is optimism.

Sellers have questions though as buyers may hold off in anticipation of rates going lower someday.  When rates start dropping, will buyers jump, or will they wait for them to keep falling? As the Fed holds off on rate cuts, what will happen with the economy?

CMI

The Ellis Team Current Market Index has actually been improving since January 9th. We do not publish the index to the public anymore as we reserve that for our clients, but we can say even though inventory is still rising, the index is improving. If we see this number improving through the month of April, we will feel better about the summer market.

Commission Lawsuit

We have seen several stories by the media about the recently proposed NAR Commission lawsuit settlement. Suffice it to say the media does not understand the terms nor the realities of what’s next. If you have questions about the proposal and are considering buying or selling in the coming months, reach out to us for details.  239-310-6500 The public will have questions, and it pays to get advice from those that know versus the media that does not.

Equity Analysis

Could you benefit from an equity analysis on your home? Not only will you learn the value of your home, you’ll also learn when it pays to refinance, buy investment property, and other uses for your money. Our equity analysis tool is insightful and keeps you updated each month on the changes in your equity. It even keeps track of how much you’re paying down your loan and PMI.

Equity Analysis tool

Equity Analysis Tool

Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500. We have the tools to help you make good decisions.

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 12pm-4pm

Cinnamon Cove Open House
Open House Saturday 12-4 PM

11220 Caravel Cir #110 Fort Myers, FL

Open House Sunday 12pm-4pm

Whiskey Creek Open House
Whiskey Creek Open House Sunday 12-4 pm

8515 Oakshade Cir #101

 

We study nationwide new home starts because it affects housing supply, which affects home prices.

During the last housing bubble builders stopped building which led to an under supply of new homes coming to the market. Consequently, we estimate we were about 1.5 million homes nationwide short of keeping up with demand.

Nationwide New Home Starts

As you can see from the chart, from 2008 to 2021 we did not build enough homes.  In 2021 and 2022 we surpassed the 1 million home mark, but in no way could that make up for the nationwide new home starts deficit from the preceding 12 years.

Need 1 Million New Home Starts Annually

Traditionally we need about 1 million nationwide new home starts every year. We didn’t make that number in 2023. This year the National Association of Home Builders met in Las Vegas and predicts they will build about 988,000 units, up 4.2% from last year. NAHB also predicts they will build about 1.03 million in 2025. These numbers are predicated upon the assumption the Fed will reduce rates 2 to 3 times this year, and even more in 2025.

We agree the Fed will reduce rates. We’re not sure if it will be this year, or if it will be 2-3 times in 2024. If the Fed does not reduce rates in 2024, the NAHB prediction of 988,000 new homes being built might be in jeopardy. The good news is homes are not built in a day. Because they are forecasting these rate cuts later in the year, they would have to begin building homes earlier. This means that even if they are wrong on when rate cuts will occur, they might still start close to that number.

Nationwide new home starts can impact future home prices. When the country does not have enough resale inventory and new home sale starts, prices can go up if there is buyer demand. People need to live somewhere, and housing has not been keeping up.

Muti-Family Construction

Many apartments have been built to keep up with demand. Demand was so high rents kept escalating. Some say builders overbuilt in this sector, which could lead to lower rents. If rents got low enough, it could temper buyer demand if it’s a better deal than buying in the minds of renters.

In Southwest Florida we have a nice selection of resale homes. Currently we have about a 6-month supply of homes on the market. Once rates start declining, home buyer demand should increase.

If resale inventory declines, will the tepid new home starts be enough? Will more sellers decide to list, and what will that do to local inventory? You begin to see future home prices are a math equation influenced by existing homeowners and their desires to stay or list, new home starts, interest rates, affordability, and rent prices. The variables change by the week, and this is why we study the macro numbers so our clients have the very best information to make decisions.

Thinking of Selling?

If you’re thinking of selling, you’re probably asking yourself when the best time is. We say this, because this is the question we get asked the most. The answer is it depends on what you own, where you’re going, and your timeframe.

We cannot give blanket answers. Each situation depends on your circumstances. What we can do is sit down with you, listen to your goals, and offer advice based upon your needs. The Ellis Team isn’t in this to make a sale. We do this to solve a need.

If you’d like to speak with Sande or Brett about your situation, call us at 239-310-6500 We’ll be happy to sit down, evaluate your home, and listen. We’re free to talk to, but it can sure cost you not to speak with us.

Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com to get a good idea of what your home is worth. We can talk when you’re ready.

Good luck, and Happy Home Selling!

 

Median January 2024 home prices fell 3.6% from last year. Average home prices were up 8.7% in January. The reason we don’t look at average home prices as an official number is because it can be skewed by a few large sales and tends to be more volatile.

January 2024 Home Prices Fell 3.6% From Last Year

 

Home prices typically rise from January through May because they are seasonal. Our highest home sales typically close in season and culminate in May. We will be keeping a close eye on home sale prices going forward into February and March.

Pending Sales

We are down 133 pending sales from this time last year.  Single family listings are almost double what they were last year. In my mind, double the listings and 133 fewer pending sales is not the equation for price increases. However, in time prices will naturally increase once supply and demand levels out as repaired homes from the hurricane will have newer roofs, windows, appliances, flooring, and other items that will increase the salability of older homes that needed some updating.

In time, prices will rise, and it could start later this year. Once inventory begins to level off and pending sales rise due to future lower interest rates, it will give us a chance to work down some of this inventory. We don’t know for certain when interest rates will begin to fall, how much they will fall, and what shape the economy will be in once they do begin to move.

High Rates to Hang Around?

For now, high interest rates seem to be in the cards. Everybody was talking about several rate cuts this year. Now the experts are not thinking that. What nobody is talking about is what if the feds must raise rates again. Hopefully holding rates steady will tame inflation, but higher oil prices can move inflation higher quickly, and we’re not doing anything to tackle energy prices. So, we sit and wait, and pray that things work out.

We have some good news on the insurance front as more carriers are entering Florida. We still believe this will take a few years to translate into lower rates, but we’re hopeful. We’re also hopeful we’ll see a modest storm season this summer; however, weather experts are expecting a transition from El Nino to La Nina this summer and warn of a very active hurricane season.

Hurricane Season

It’s a shame that Floridians know so much about La Nina and El Nino, but they do because they need to. An active hurricane season, it doesn’t mean one will hit here. When you were the target of a big one, the next few years seem like everything will come our way. SW Florida escaped the big one after Hurricane Donna in 1960 for about 50+ years when Hurricane Charley hit. I remember locals telling newcomers that hurricanes never come here because they hadn’t seen one personally. Our fear or confidence comes only from our experience and not from actual statistics. Statistically, we may not see another big one here for a while, but then again, we must always prepare.

Cautious Optimism

We are watching pending home sales. We are encouraged that they have risen in the past few weeks. If they continue rising into March it could be a good sign if rates do decline later this year. We track them weekly and will report our findings. Official February numbers will not be released until the 3rd week of March, but we’ll have some preliminary numbers for you before then.

As always, if you have real estate questions, or are considering buying or selling in SW Florida, it pays to work with an experienced team that knows the numbers. We can be reached at 239-310-6500, or visit www.LeeCountyOnline.com to search the MLS like a pro.

Good luck, and Happy Selling!

Many buyers we talk are waiting for lower interest rates before purchasing a home. Today we’re going to explore why this may be a dangerous game, and why we believe the next 6 months may be the best time to purchase your next home.

Waiting For Lower Interest Rates a Dangerous Game

Traditionally home prices appreciate about 4% per year over time. Some years yield more, and some years yield less. Even though we have a greater supply of current inventory on the market right now, we don’t have enough supply to satisfy all that will be able to buy when rates move lower and those moving here. Builders have not been keeping up with demand moving to Florida.

Waiting For Lower Interest Rates Home Price Appreciation

FNMA issued home price predictions moving forward. If you were to buy a home in 2024 using their price predictions your home would be worth $472,405 in 5 years, for a gain of $72,405.

Interest Rate Comparison

Let’s say you could finance a home today in the 6.5% range. The actual rate doesn’t really matter because the point I’m going to illustrate is a 1% interest rate decline from whatever rate you could get. If a buyer were to finance today at 6.5% mortgage rather than a 5.5% mortgage it would cost them $3,802.71 in extra interest for the 1st year. As you pay down the principal the interest declines slightly for each year. The total a buyer would pay over 5 years for a 1% differential in rates would be $19,027.04 in this hypothetical example.

Wait a Minute

A buyer who does nothing waiting for rates to decline would cost themselves $53,377 by waiting.  Now you might argue, “yes, but what if the buyer bought a year or two down the road? It wouldn’t cost them the whole 5 years.

Equity loss by waiting for interest rates to drop 1%

That’s right, it wouldn’t, but we have three other items to consider. First, the buyer who waits for rates to decline down to 5.5% may convince themselves to wait longer until they come down to 4.5%. Those that wait now are just as likely to wait longer later. Secondly, as rates come down, inventory may come down and there would be less homes available to bid on. Getting the home that meets your needs could get tougher. Lastly, when inventory gets low, prices can appreciate faster, especially when builders have not kept up with new demand. Existing homes just are not enough for all those moving to Florida.

If you were around a few years ago, you know that when things heat up, a 4% appreciation rate is conservative. Waiting for lower interest rates can be a dangerous game.  It’s kind of funny, because back in December of 2017 I wrote an article about the cost of waiting as interest rates were rising. It’s ironic that there is a cost of waiting as interest rates are falling as well. The result is the same, it’s just the variables in the equation have flipped. If you’d like to read that article it is available at https://blog.topagent.com Simply go to the archives in December 2017.

Best Time is Next 6 Months

We believe the Fed won’t begin to lower rates for about 4-6 months. The mortgage market may bounce up or down, but until the markets get a sense of bond market stability, rates will remain high. Buyers have a window as inventory is building. They are in their best negotiating position, but that window could close or shrink later this year.  Why not buy now and lock in those potential gains? Then, when rates do go down, refinance and capitalize. That way you can lock in appreciation and lower housing costs later if rates fall. The best of both worlds, and you’re on the equity train.

Don’t be that buyer that waits, and waits, and regrets it later. Some people wait to see evidence the market has turned, and it’s too late for them. All the people who should have bought in 2018 but waited are still kicking themselves.

Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042. We’ll get you pre-approved with a great lender and a ticket on the equity train to start building your wealth. Call us today! Search the SW Florida MLS like a pro.

Lee County year end 2023 median sales prices fell 2.3%. The year end sales price is the average of the entire year, so it doesn’t necessarily mean December 2023 sales price.

Lee County Year End 2023 Sales Prices

For instance, the median sales price in Lee County for December 2023 was $399,000. That was a 2.2% decrease from 2022 numbers of $407,950. The average sales price fell .9% in December and 1.4% for the year.

Prices Peaked

As you can see from the graph, Lee County year end home prices peaked in 2022. The median topped out in April 2022 while the average topped out in May. Since mid-2022 we have watched a steady decline in prices. The median sales price in April 2022 was $470,000 compared to $399,000 in December 2023. The average sales price in May 2022 was $658,886 compared to $539,765. Of course, some of that is seasonal.

Since the seasonal peak in 2022 we have seen a median price decline of $71,000 and an average decline of $119,121. Many sellers did not realize prices were declining, but News Press readers did because we report it each month.

Today we believe most homeowners realize prices have declined as inventory has risen. Selling a home today requires marketing muscle and experience in selling in a shifting market. Many agents are getting out of the business. Nationally 48% of agents did not do a deal in the 2nd half of 2022.

Locally, 85% of the agents have not been in the business for more than 6 years. This means most have never worked through a shift like we are seeing today, and they don’t know what to do. It is incumbent on agents with less than 10 years’ experience either join a team or join a brokerage with tremendous training.

Lead Flow

Most agents complain they do not have lead flow currently. Not only are buyers harder to close, they are fewer and farther between. Sure, there are many interested lookers, but many lack motivation to act with prices high and interest rates higher. With the total cost of ownership at high levels, buyers have been on the sidelines.

To be successful in real estate requires tremendous sales skills, and lead flow. Lead flow is expensive, and many newer agents do not have the budget to acquire leads. Because leads are converting at less rate due to less motivation, conversion becomes more critical.

Conversion

Where do agents learn how to convert? They can learn from mentors like us who have been in business through many cycles and shifts. Additionally, some brokerages focus on training, while others cater to more experienced agents. If you are an agent struggling to hold on, Give Sande or Brett a call at 239-489-4042 and we will be glad to offer some resources for you.

Sellers

If you have a home to sell, or previously tried to sell it and it expired, give us a call. 239-310-6500 Perhaps it failed to sell because of pricing. Maybe the price was fine and it wasn’t marketed heavily. Perhaps your Realtor had a side job and couldn’t devote 100% of their time to selling your home. Whatever the reason, we can take a fresh look at it and make some recommendations. Brett and Sande have sold over 5,000 homes in Lee County over the years. We’ve worked in the best of times and excelled in tough times when agents were getting out. The reason is, we never stop marketing, and nobody outworks us.

Call us to put our marketing muscles, know how, and hard work to work for you. You’ll wonder why you didn’t call us the first time. But that’s OK, we enjoy making a difference for people, even if you found us second.

Good luck. We’ll be watching 2024 like a hawk and reporting trends as they occur.

Happy Selling!

Pricing a home correctly is key to getting a home sold for top dollar. Time on the market is not your friend when selling your home. Our benchmark pricing analysis report helps clarify if a home is correctly priced by illustrating several key factors. We will focus on a few of those factors now.

Showing Activity

Benchmark Pricing Analysis Report

The Benchmark pricing analysis report shows the number of scheduled showings on subject property compared to other similar listings in the area. The report compares active and pending listings as well as closed listings. If the subject property is receiving a comparable number of showings, the price must be in the ballpark, or it wouldn’t receive showings.  If the home is receiving more showings than similar listings, all the better. The marketing is working.

Days on Market

Larger number of showings than pending or closed sales could lead to increased days on market. This tells us that while the home is in the ballpark, it is losing out to other listings when buyers decide to offer. A small price reduction could be warranted. The home just doesn’t measure up in value to competing listings. It is getting shown, which means it’s getting its opportunity. The home just isn’t the winner. Placing a home on the market is like entering a beauty contest. You must price it to be the winner. It is tiring to take home 2nd, or 3rd, or 4th place all the time. Eventually you need a win. Making a price adjustment can get your home on the winner’s stand.

Price Reductions

Benchmark Pricing Analysis Report Price Reductions

Another factor the report shows is the price reductions. The report not only shows how many comparable listings have had price reductions, but it also shows you the size of the reductions. Together with your agent you are deciding at what price to bring your home to the market for. That decision will either be spot on or off a bit. The seller determines the list price while the buyers determine the value. If the seller has miscalculated, a price reduction may be in order.

Chasing the Market

The sooner a seller realizes a price adjustment is in order, quick action can save the seller thousands. You never want to get caught chasing the market down. Adjust before the other sellers and get out. A lingering home on the market does the seller no favors. We have studies that show time on the market is detrimental to a seller’s net proceeds we can share with you when we meet.

The Ellis Team sends these reports out to our sellers on a regular basis. Our sellers always have the latest statistical data so they can make the most informed decisions. Setting a price and placing your head in the sand isn’t going to sell a home today, especially when so many sellers are making price adjustments as well.

Buyer or Seller Market

In a buyer’s market, home sellers are in competition with each other trying to find able buyers as there are more sellers than willing buyers. In a seller’s market, home buyers are in competition with each other over the best listings.

Winning Formula

The winning formula in today’s market is aggressive marketing, proper pricing, and communication. The Ellis Team has a system to communicate with our sellers. Nobody markets a home like the Ellis Team. Together as a team we help you price your home for success. Then we market it and communicate with you. If we are generating showings but no offers, together we’ll tackle the market and guide you through to the finish line. There is a reason the Ellis Team has helped over 5,000 families sell their homes. Sande and Brett have been through market shifts, and we never stop marketing and communicating.

Always call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty to get your home sold fast, and for Top Dollar, 239-310-6500 You plus us makes a winning team! Search the MLS at LeeCountyOnline.com

The Ellis Team analyzes market activity showing reports to determine buyer sentiment. This market report is for all listings using this service, not just our listings.

Market Activity Showing Reports

Realtors, have you ever had a listing that wasn’t receiving many showings? Did you wonder if market activity had suddenly slowed down, or whether it was just your listing? Realtors have the ability to track other listings showing activity and see how it relates to your listing.

If your listing isn’t receiving any showings but other listings are, perhaps it is the price. When a listing is overpriced, the market rejects it and showings fall off. It could also be the photos, the language in the MLS, or the data that was entered. We’ve uncovered so many unchecked or unspecified fields in MLS that would prohibit other Realtors from searching for a property and returning a match. When showing activity is down, you do not want to miss any.

Market Activity Showing Reports

The market activity showing reports allows us to search by city, zip code, neighborhood, bedrooms, price range, and more. For instance, let’s say I have a 5-bedroom home listed and it’s getting 1 showing per week. I might want to know if that’s good or normal. It stands to reason the 5-bedroom homes might receive less showings than 3-bedroom homes, so lumping all the data together doesn’t draw a true comparison.

Pending Sales

Pending sales picked up in the last week. As we head into mid-January you would expect that they would. Pending sales are a barometer of potential future closings. This is why we track pending sales so strongly. What if there was a barometer for pending sales? We think there is. Obviously, you do not have pending sales without showings. Showings lead to pendings.

Pricing Benchmark Reports

The Ellis Team also has access to pricing benchmark reports. Perhaps we’ll do a future article on this. A pricing benchmark report compares the showings of our listings versus the competition. It also calculates the absorption rate to determine how long a property should take to sell versus the availability in the market. Additionally, our report shows your listing relative to your competition, so you can see if your home is priced correctly. The report will also give us price reduction data, so we know what other homeowners are doing and what percentage they are dropping their price.

Rear View Mirror

When you bring a home to market a Realtor typically looks at past sales. However, using past sales is like looking in the rear-view mirror. It tells you where the market has been, but it doesn’t always tell you where the market is going. The pricing benchmark reports and careful study of the showing patterns of competing listings, combined with up to the moment market data puts our sellers in a position to make better decisions.

When the market is on the move, you want to know about it before other sellers. Sellers whose home expired and failed to sell are astounded when they see the data. The reason most sellers overprice their home is because they lack data. The Realtor may be short on listings, so they don’t want to risk telling the seller what they need to hear in fear of losing the listing. When a seller shops for a Realtor, be careful not to select the Realtor who offers the highest price.

Highest Price

The Realtor doesn’t really offer anything. The buyer offers. If your price is too high, all you did was give your listing to a Realtor. Select the best Realtor based upon their track record, knowledge and experience. If you select the best Realtor, you’ll get the price right. And if the price isn’t right, the best Realtor will guide you on how to adjust. You want to sell your home for the most money. Partner with a great Realtor so your home doesn’t sit on the market and collect dust while your neighbors sell their home. Studies show, the longer your home sits on the market, the less price you will get in the end.

Always Call the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-310-6500 Or visit www.SWFLhomevalues.com for an instant online price.