Last week we reported showings and phone calls were down for a few weeks after Easter according to several agents we spoke with, but that all changed about a day after writing the story.  Phone calls and offers picked up significantly last weekend, so it’s very hard to judge the market on a daily basis.                   

This week we decided to step back and analyze April 2010 vs March 2010.  Official numbers won’t be released until next week, however we believe we’ll see a year over year increase in home sales about 9-10%, and we believe prices will up again over last year as well. 

SW Florida Real Estate Home Sales Lee County Florida
Single Family Home Sales in SW Florida March-April 2010

We’ve created a graph illustrating sales numbers for March-April of 2010.  Sales for single family homes increased ever so slightly over March.  We then wanted to know the mix of foreclosed homes and short sales.  Foreclosure sales actually fell 10.43%, while short sales rose 12.96%.  This coincides with our predictions back in March that we may see a rise in short sales as bank gear up to handle more short sales. 

Foreclosure filings have been down, so 6 to 12 months in the future it’s reasonable to assume there may be less foreclosure properties for sale, especially if banks continue to increase their short sale efforts. 

Our numbers are close to but not identical to official numbers that will be released next week for one reason.  We use data from multiple MLS’, but there is the potential for some listing overlap if a property is listed in more than one MLS.  Statistically that runs about 5% give or take.  We’d rather have a little overlap than miss a lot of listings and sales. 

Condo sales were up in April over March, and that would be expected as condo sales tend to build throughout the season and culminate in April.  Condo sales are increasingly difficult to finance with new regulations on approving not only the borrower, but also the association itself.  Many March closings were pushed back to April, and we suspect many April closings may get pushed back to May, so May could be a good month due to high sales and delayed closings, both in the condo and single family markets. 

Headlines next week should read home sales up somewhere around 10% +/- depending on what the official figures are, and home prices up as well.  Last year’s April median home price dipped to $85,500.  March 2010 median figures shot up to $95,100 up from $88,000, so even if prices hold steady from March we should be reading about price increases. 

Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, so sales activity will drop-off as people plan their time off.  It will be interesting to note people’s perceptions of Florida and their willingness to book vacations here in advance due to the oil crisis in the Gulf.  Many visitors come back in the summer and buy.  Additionally, the Euro is now worth less, so it will be interesting to see if that affects foreign visitors this summer with less buying power.  Hopefully once we sort out the Gulf oil spill, our Chambers of Commerce will promote the area as a great place to visit.  We count on many of these visitors to buy property in Florida each year, so we do want them to visit and spend money in Florida and help our economy. 

In the meantime, let’s enjoy some positive publicity next week.  Our market is due for positive news, and it helps buyers to understand that prices are rising and inventory is shrinking little by little, and the time is now to step up if they want in on today’s bargains.