How can we predict pending sales will rise in the coming months? We need look no further than the last 4 years to see a seasonal trend that happens each year starting around January and culminating around March or April. It’s an annual pilgrimage to bring homes to the market in search of buyers, and it works. New pending sales set to rise.

New Pending sales Set to Rise

If you study the new listings chart you’ll see a spike in new listings entering the market each January which coincides with a spike of new pending sales also starting in January. It ends with a rise of closed sales March through May of each year.

It’s a good thing too because without the new listings we wouldn’t have enough properties to satisfy the appetite of all our visitors each year. If you’re wondering whether they’re here just look at the roads, or call a hotel. We’ve heard many hotels had no vacancies this past week and our roads are full.

People are definitely here and we think many are going to purchase again this year. The past two seasons have been good as consumers have been more confident that prices had bottomed and it was safe to invest again in Florida.

Pending Sales 2009-2014 Fort Myers Cape Coral

New Pending Sales Set to Rise

We expect prices to rise again this season as demand is high and inventory is limited. Our weather has been fantastic and weather up North has been bad. A new crop of Baby Boomers will decide this is the year to purchase property in Florida, and so many fall in love with SW Florida. People tend to buy where they’ve been or where they’re familiar with, and this puts the Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Estero, Bonita Springs area in a favorable position.

The Ellis Team is currently working on bringing several new listings to market. Some are really fun to market but fortunately we don’t always get that chance as the market scoops it up before we can tell everyone about it. Literally new listings can been seen and shown in a matter of hours and contracts can follow within a day or so, and many listings are getting multiple offers.

If you’re a seller, now might be the time to consider making a move while demand is high. If you’re a buyer, remember, you’re not in competition with the seller. You’re in competition with all the other buyers out there trying to buy the property you want, so you must structure your offer correctly so you put your best foot forward.

Some buyers mistakenly think it’s all about price, and that is a component. However, if all 4 offers are over asking price, it comes down to which looks stronger on paper. Which buyer is best suited to perform? Which buyer is offering the strongest terms?

If you’re considering buying, call a Realtor who knows the market and can guide you through the process so you make a good offer according to local customs. If you’re a seller, you also want an experienced agent who can help you price your property correctly, and help you select the best offer. It does no good to select the wrong offer and be left holding the bag after season when many of the buyers have gone home only to find out your buyer can’t perform. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, the Ellis Team can help you make good decisions in a fast paced market. Feel free to search the MLS at or call us at 239-489-4042. Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

If you’d like to search the market as either a buyer or seller, visit If you need extra help we’re always available to talk to you and help you make better decisions. Our phone number is 239-489-4042 Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

To search the MLS for properties go to or give us a call at 239-489-4042     Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!

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Our predictions are beginning to sound like a broken record, but they’re not really predictions at all as anybody who can view a chart can easily see what’s going on, and until something changes the trend may continue.

Fort Myers Cape Coral Florida Sale Prices Rise
SW Florida Real Estate Prices on the Rise

It’s been said if you put 10 economists in a room you’ll get 10 different opinions. I think it’s easy to see we have a supply and demand situation whereby the market is eating up more homes than are coming to the market. For instance, in April 868 homes came on the market while 1,097 sold. Additionally, some homes expire or get foreclosed upon and don’t re-enter the market in a timely fashion, so this impacts the numbers even more.

As you can see by the attached charts, inventory has been going down since January of this year, and is down significantly since January 2011. In fact single family home listing inventory is a mere 55% of what it was back in January of 2011.

Median single family home prices were $88,500 in January of 2011 and today they stand at $132,000, up 49.15% in just less than a year and a half. Prices are up 6.97% since January 2012.

Listing Inventory Falling in Fort Myers, Cape Coral Florida Market

Buyers are increasingly panicking when buying property as they’re often in multiple offer situations. It forces them to carefully consider how important the home is to them. Quite often it depends on how long they’ve been in the home buying process as reality tends to set in after several failed attempts to purchase their home.

Buyers typically look at several homes then rank them in terms of desirability. Quite often a buyer will make an offer on their #1 choice. If they miss out, they may move on to their #2 choice. Some buyers wait for another like kind home to enter the market, but their hope turns to disappointment when that homes doesn’t appear, or if it does it’s priced significantly higher than the one they lost out on.

This whole scenario sets up an unrealistic expectation that future homes will meet their #1 choice criteria in terms of desirability and price but the reality is the next home may be less desirable and more costly in a rising market with limited inventory.

After the buyer loses out on 4-5 homes that reality tends to hit and they reset their expectations. It’s an uncomfortable process and one that each buyer addresses in their own way and in their own time frame. They can fight the market and live in denial and prolong the process and possibly never buy a home, or they can accept the market, educate themselves, and win their 1st choice, or hopefully their 2nd choice.

Sellers go through the same scenario in a buyers market. A seller may require a certain price or terms only to be left at the altar by buyers who liked their home but found a better offer from another home. It really doesn’t matter if the buyer or seller likes the market we’re in. The market just is what it is, and if they want to accomplish their goal it pays to learn the market sooner rather than later. In each case lack of knowledge can cost the buyer or seller significantly in price, desirability, and peace of mind. It pays to work with a professional that can educate you on your options.

Good luck, and Happy House Hunting! We at the Ellis Team at RE/MAX are here to help if you need us.

We’ve been researching and studying the SW Florida real estate market ahead of official releases due out next week, and our preliminary research tells us we expect sales numbers to increase approximately 100% or more over last August sales numbers.  The third quarter of 2009 is setting up to be another record quarter, and keep in mind 2008 numbers were near record numbers to begin with. 

Lee County single family inventory levels are on the decline again and pending sales are remaining strong.  The chart attached shows single family home inventory for Fort Myers and Cape Coral Florida. Listings in Fort Myers and Cape Coral fell by over 100 units as home buyers snapped up more property last month than came to the market. Separately, Lee County levels fell almost 200 units, suggesting buyers are buying faster than sellers and banks are bringing property to the market.


Fort Myers Cape Coral Listing Inventory Chart
Fort Myers Cape Coral Listing Inventory Chart

In the last several weeks we’ve addressed who is buying these properties, predominantly first time home buyers and long-term investors seeking to rent them out until the market improves.  At today’s low prices, properties actually cash flow, and we have lots of renters who have been displaced from properties. 

Now for some interesting observations we’re noticing that you won’t see in this chart.  We think home sales will be down about 11% from the previous month, which is normal due to seasonality.  Again, sales should be up about 100% over last year’s August, and last year’s August was down from July as well due to seasonality of the market, so no big surprises here. 

Foreclosure inventory increased 4.14% in the past month and foreclosure sales fell 13.82%  We’ve been saying for the past month or so banks are ramping up foreclosures for the next year and we expect double the write-downs banks will take, although because many of these properties will be in the higher price ranges it doesn’t mean we’ll see a doubling of foreclosure inventory.  Foreclosure inventory and sales will definitely be something we want to keep an eye on going forward and may tell the story of how our market is doing. 

Another trend we’re tracking is short sales to see if banks are cooperating more and agreeing to see short instead of taking back in foreclosure.  Even though total sales are down about 11%, and foreclosure sales are down about 13%, short sales are up about 3.76%.  This would suggest banks are cooperating more and our experience has been this is true; however it is still a very daunting process and not one a homeowner can reasonably attempt on their own.  In fact, it is so daunting that many agents won’t deal with short sales either.  If you’re going to attempt to buy or sell a short sale, make sure you’re dealing with an agent with lots of experience, preferably a CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert.)   

Distressed sales accounted for 70.04% of Lee County home sales in August, up slightly from 68.6% in July.  Distressed sales are here to stay for awhile.  In Fort Myers, 66.45% of the sales were distressed, while in Cape Coral the number is 68.87%  Lehigh Acres has far more distressed sales at 84.27%  County wide, distressed sales percentage remained stable over the previous month. 

Inventory levels fell in Fort Myers, remained fairly constant in Cape Coral, and increased about 2.35% in Lehigh Acres. So what’s the bottom line?  We believe median prices may increase some over time as banks bring higher priced foreclosures to the market.  Banks allowing more short sales may also increase the median sales price, but that doesn’t mean all homes are going up in value.  If this occurs like we think, it simply would mean the bottom has formed in the lower price range, and we’re still seeing erosion in prices in the mid to upper price ranges, and as they become more affordable buyers switch “on” and buy them.  

All real estate is local, and you can’t judge the entire market by a single statistic like median sales price.  This is why we take so much time to really study the market and explain what is really happening with hard facts.  We’ll keep an eye on the distressed end of the market, as these latest trends will offer us signs as to where the market actually is and where it’s headed. 

Until we flush out the distressed properties, normal market assumptions do not apply.  Supply and demand still rules, it’s just that it’s hard to get a grasp on supply without having a thorough understanding of what the banks are doing with foreclosures and short sales.  Until then we’ll keep tracking it for you and reporting the trends.