Lee County Florida home prices have been flat for 2 years and nobody seems to notice.  Take a look at the graph below and we’ll explain why this may be good news going forward.

Lee County Florida Home Prices Flat For 2 Years

Some parts of the country are experiencing multiple offers on each home and others have experienced a shift as homes are taking longer to sell.  In the end, it comes down to affordability on each locale.  As home prices rise, together with interest rates, it affects affordability.

We’ve caught a break with interest rates.  With rates down around 4% it means home buyers can pay more for a home and less to the bank.  It props them up into a higher purchasing bracket on affordability alone.

As homes go up in value, they can be susceptible to fall if the economy or interest rates rise.  The silver lining to all this is because prices didn’t increase here over the last two plus years, they may not have to fall either if or when the economy changes.  We’ve got a strong economy now, but with trade wars and potential military conflicts around the world, you never know what can tilt the scales.

If the economy continues to roar along, the Lee County Florida housing market could eventually have some upside.  Inventory has been growing, so we’re not seeing upward price pressure now. Obviously, the price range you’re looking in can have different inventory levels than another price range.

It pays to consult a Realtor before purchasing.  A Realtor can not only guide you through the process, but they can also advise you on things that can affect your resale ability later when you need to sell.

Because we work with a lot of buyers each year, our agents are on the front lines with buyer’s concerns.  Buyers do not want to make a mistake.  Working with an agent that understands what other buyers are concerned about may help you in your decision.  We know what future objections will be for your home and if you should pay less because of that.

The last thing you want to do is overpay for a home now that you’ll have to take less for down the road when you decide to sell.  Talk to one of our experienced buyer agents on the Ellis Team at Keller Williams Realty 239-489-4042 and you’ll see what we’re talking about.  Or, you can search the MLS like a pro for Free at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

If you’re selling, you need a Realtor that listens to what your goals are and has solutions to help you attain them.  Anybody can give your house away.  A great Realtor prices the home at market value and then markets it.  By the way, marketing is not simply putting a sign out in the yard and placing it on hundreds of various websites.  Anybody can do that.  Marketing is so much more, and very few Realtors do it. Lee County Florida home sales were down 6.8% in April, so marketing matters.

If you’re thinking of selling, or maybe you tried to sell and it didn’t work out, give Sande or Brett Ellis a call at 239-489-4042 Ext 4. We’ll show you how to price it at market and get Top Dollar because it was marketed correctly.  There is a difference.  All Realtors do not work the same!

Find out what your home is worth for Free at www.SWFLhomevalues.com then call us to talk about strategies.  We love it when a plan comes together!  We’ll help you with your plan.

Please Vote For us!  Vote the Ellis Team as Best Real Estate Team and Best Real Estate Agency in Fort Myers.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!


Last week we reported some preliminary findings on the local SW Florida real estate market pending release of official numbers this week.  Well, it’s official as the numbers are out.

The foreclosure moratorium has taken its effect on closings and prices.  Single family home sales were down 28.10% from last October’s figures, and down 7.8% from last month’s figures.  Median home sales prices were down 1.75% from last October, and down 4.66% from last month’s figure.  Median sale price for October 2010 stands at $90,000, essentially where they were back in 1996.

SW Florida Real Estate Single Family Home Prices Chart
SW Florida Single Family Home sale Prices

The shame of it all is that the temporary freeze isn’t going to cause more delinquent owners to stay in their properties.  If they don’t pay they won’t stay.  We are all in agreement that banks need to follow rules when foreclosing, and especially when evicting people.  As a practical matter prolonging the time a home sits before a bank can sell it hurts the neighborhood, the real estate market, and the economy.

The LA Times recently did a study on the effects of foreclosures on the market, and they compared California and Florida as sister states with closely aligned foreclosure statistics.  The California market is up in price about 20% from the bottom in April of 2009 versus Florida where prices are struggling to find a bottom in many parts.

The study concludes that California is more efficient and less complicated making it easier for banks to seize and resell homes when homeowners don’t pay.  Florida is one of 22 states that require repossessions to be approved by a judge, which adds time and tasks to the foreclosure process.  By extending the process, they’re extending the rebound time.

The LA Times article also looks at the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index which also shows prices up in many cities in California while down in the major cities of Florida.

We can’t change Florida’s law, so we’re stuck with the process of slowly bringing foreclosures to the market over time.  What we’re not in favor of is arbitrarily adding to that time.  We were especially critical of Obama’s foreclosure moratorium which slowed the recovery process back in 2009 by slowing down the process even further.

The government’s intention was to somehow provide retention for struggling homeowners, and while it was a noble cause it was a flawed scheme that wasn’t well thought out and did more harm than good.  If a homeowner lost their job, tacking on extra interest and increasing payments later on wasn’t going to make the home more affordable if the homeowner already couldn’t afford it.  Raising the payment later wasn’t going to help any struggling homeowner who was in trouble, and it certainly wasn’t going to help the market.

Real estate is 32% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which means it would ultimately hurt the economy as well.  The government finally got the message and laid off on the popular with voters but largely ineffective moratorium on foreclosures, and along came the bank issue failing to properly follow procedures on some foreclosures in those 22 states.

We are seeing the effects of that now which is prolonging the recovery.  Last week we predicted sales would be off 8.45% from last month’s numbers and official numbers indicate they were down 7.8%, so we were pretty close.  We do see some pent-up demand and an increase in pending sales activity which could bode well going forward.

We are going to keep a close eye on inventory levels, both distressed sales and non-distressed sales and pending sales.  We’ll track these against actual closings and monitor for any changes in the market.  So far since the moratoriums began Oct 1 for occupied properties, we’ve seen an impact, but there are signs this will be made up in coming months.  With season upon us we’d hate to miss any sales opportunities as buyers are buying sooner this year.  The sooner we get these properties to the market and sold, the sooner our real estate market can heal like California is doing and the sooner our economy can improve, which I think everyone can agree on would make for better times in SW Florida and across our nation.

The good news is the signs are there.  All we need now is time, action, and results, and with a little luck we’ll be on our way and 2005-2010 will be in our rear-view mirror.