Official SW Florida sales numbers are out for SW Florida and August showed a slight rise in median price over July’s numbers, and a 26.9% rise over last year’s number.  As I write this article Congress has still not approved the re-opening of the government or a debt increase, so those are two ominous signs that could definitely impact not only the local Fort Myers/Cape Coral real estate markets, but also the entire US market overall.

Prices Holding Steady Slight Rise in August.

The other piece of good news is that listing inventory rose slightly this past month, and pending sales rose as well.  Foreclosures and short sales are way down from a few years ago, and money is creeping into the market as lenders are starting to lend again.  Cash is always good, but when 70% of the sales were cash a few years ago, it limits the prices.  Now that cash sales are down to 50% we see more money coming into the market fueling growth.

We produced a short video on our YouTube channel that shows all of these graphs and how it’s affecting the market.  You can view it from our website and click on Future of Real Estate or visit

A solution to the budget crisis might also help keep interest rates low, although we do expect an interest rate increase by next year no matter what Washington decides.

The SW Florida business climate is as hot as the temperature is outside.  Hertz is relocating its world headquarters here and other companies are looking here as well.  We really are on the rise and all Realtors I speak with are optimistic about 2014.  After suffering 6-7 long years through a real estate mess people around SW Florida are welcoming positive news, and we’ll take it in bunches.  Lord knows we fell on hard times and had bad news in bunches in the past, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to bask in the sunshine of an upward market.  We deserve it.

We can probably expect anemic growth until season starts in full force in January.  In past years September through December has translated into bouncing along the status quo.  Personally, this October and November are shaping up to be very good months for the Ellis Team, so 2013 might be better than past years if that is any indication.

Next week the Greater Fort Myers and the Beaches MLS is scheduled to begin using a new MLS system.  This will make gathering statistics easier and less duplication as agents won’t feel the need to enter listing into two MLS’s to gain exposure for their seller.  Going forward this provides an opportunity to provide and even more accurate picture of the listing inventory and closed sales.

We’re in for some exciting times in the SW Florida real estate market.  We’ve enjoyed bringing you the latest trends and statistics, and going forward we’ll be able to bring you that quicker.  We won’t have to wait for official numbers to be released from the board.  We’ll all be working from one set of data, and that’s exciting.

If you’d like to search the MLS like a Realtor, go to  We have a basic search and a tab for an advanced search so you can enter more criteria.  Good luck, and Happy House Hunting!  And remember, we’re here to answer your real estate needs should you need an agent. 239-489-4042

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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SW Florida Realtors are in for big changes in October if all goes as announced.  4 MLS systems from Naples, Bonita/Estero, Cape Coral, and Fort Myers and the Beaches will be together under one vendor and one shared MLS database.  It almost didn’t happen though, and when it does, there will be some challenges.

MLS Systems Are Merging – Benefits and Challenges Ahead

For some perspective all 4 boards met last year and decided to merge together but for some reason the Greater Fort Myers and the Beaches Board pulled out and decided to stick with their Vendor Rapattoni even though the others had selected Matrix.  After the other 3 boards made the move in August of this year, it became apparent having one board with one set of data and the separate boards with another set of data was going to be a nightmare.

Fort Myers voted to share the data with the other boards and all could share some data and keep their own vendor, but this was fraught with perils.  For instance, in Fort Myers and Cape Coral we have lots that are waterfront and direct access with no bridges.  This isn’t as much of an issue in Bonita and Naples, so the 3 board’s database doesn’t include this field.  Because the Cape Coral board merged with the other two we have no idea why they didn’t insist on this, but it isn’t there.

Had each board kept their own vendor and done the data share any agent searching for direct access homes or lots would have returned 0 results from the common shared database file because that field doesn’t exist in the shared database even though it does in the Fort Myers board.

Because the 4 boards are now one common database the field still does not exist, but at least now agents won’t be misled by a 0 matching properties result.  The agent just won’t be able to search on that field.

Matrix MLS Map Based Search Results

One advantage is the search results, and even the search itself can be map based, so you can see where the properties are located.  This will be particularly helpful when an agent doesn’t know for sure what Geo Area a property is in but just wants to do a quick search.  Some properties are located in a particular development name even though the legal description matches a particular subdivision name.  Searching under the new system will now be easier using the map, or the community name field.

Matrix MLS Great Fort Myers Association of Realtors

The waterfront description field is just one example of a search that would have been disastrous under a database sharing agreement.  Now things will work much smoother.  Some argued, including us, that the new Matrix system was superior to Rapattoni.  Some argued Rapattoni would be superior once new features kicked in.

The real argument never was which vendor was superior.  The system all 4 boards use jointly working together will be better no matter which vendor was selected. We like the map based search and the mobile solution Matrix uses better and we’re happy the Fort Myers Board changed and went with the new system, but the real advantage begins when all 4 major MLS’s operate together as one.  In my 25+ years in real estate we’ve been fractured and I’m so thankful the boards have gotten together and made this happen.  It’s been a long time coming and agents deserve having the information in one place and not having to check various MLS’s for data.

In the future, if a newer better technology comes along it is our sincere hope all 4 MLS’s will work together.  Now it’s time for Sanibel and Captiva to get on board and work together.  If 4 major MLS’s can do it, you can too.  While we’re at it, a common database up and down the West coast of Florida would be even better.  And one day, why not a joint state regional MLS like other states have done?  Now we’re just talking crazy, so we’ll stop and say thank you to all involved for making this happen.  Agents and consumers won on this one!

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