You can’t sell what you don’t have, and the SW Florida real estate market has much less inventory than it did a few years ago. We’ve been reporting for a few years how demand has outpaced supply and that is one reason why prices have gone up in the past few years. Keep in mind too that the year end numbers are an average of the year, so numbers at end of a year could be higher than the year’s average, which is especially true in a rising market.

Inventory Leading the Market SW Florida Real Estate Prices
Fort Myers Cape Coral Year End Prices

Inventory Leading the Market

Another phenomenon we predicted a few years ago was the “No-Man’s Land” market. We knew that one day we would exhaust much of the distressed inventory and traditional sales would once again have to fill the demand. Prices would have to rise, but they couldn’t rise enough to make certain sellers whole as so many are still underwater on their mortgages. They’re not in risk of default, but they’re riding out the market until prices rise enough to payoff the mortgage. Sellers would like to sell but don’t wish to harm their credit by doing a short sale, so they wait.

Prices are surely rising, but there is a limit. The economy isn’t good, so that caps the rise. Prices have to rise, but they can’t rise to 2005 levels because the job market and the economy won’t sustain those levels. We could argue that the 2005 economy couldn’t either and that’s why it collapsed.

The economy was running on borrowed money. Consumer spending was fueled by equity lines and other borrowed money. Everyone knew the clock would run out, and it did.

Southwest Florida Months Supply of Real Estate Inventory
Months Supply of Inventory

Going forward, most people view the market as a supply and demand market, and that theory works as long as economic conditions are the same or similar, but with a tremendous downturn in the economy, prices cannot rise quickly enough to make many sellers above water, so they will sit on sidelines unless something happens to their employment.

We see incremental listings hitting the market as prices rise. It probably won’t be enough to satisfy demand, so buyers should be prepared for multiple offer situations as soon as good properties enter the market.

As you can see we only have about 3.4 months supply of inventory on the market and current single family inventory is only about 3,730 heading into season. Interest rates are artificially low due to Fed policy of buying down interest rates trying to stimulate the economy.

Buyers who can purchase now will be crazy to wait as prices years from now should be higher, and borrowing costs will be higher when the Fed action is completed, but competition for homes is expected to be great this season.

If I were a buyer I would get on an email notification list from an agent that emails you the day new properties enter the market that match your criteria. The Ellis Team has such a system as do many agents. You’ve heard the saying, “The Early Bird Gets the Worm” and it’s true now and will be blatantly evident this season.

Hopefully after November we’ll have clarity as to which way the politicians are going which may give businesses clarity so they can begin hiring. Our nation has been in an economic freeze. Our local market is set to take off once the economy returns, and that will sure be a welcome sign so we can escape the No Man’s Land.

If you’re a buyer and need help, feel free to call us at 239-489-4042 or visit our website If you’re a seller, we can guide you through the selling maze whether you’re a traditional seller or a short sale.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!