It’s been over a month since we reported on single family home sale prices in Lee County, so we thought we’d provide an update.  Many people are questioning prices right now as tax notices went out recently, and many have been shocked at some of the new value assessments imposed by the Lee County property appraiser’s office.

Keep in mind that value assessments from the property appraiser’s office reflect values as of January 1, 2010 and not today’s values.  Its possible values have risen or fallen since January 1 depending on where you live.  Values do not move in tandem in perfect harmony.  Certain sectors of the market lead others, and when one moves another will follow to keep from having too much disparity.

SW Florida median Sale Prices
Home Sale Prices in SW Florida Fort Myers, Cape Coral

I could devote a whole article to this phenomenon we call “bunching” but we’ll save that for another day.  Since January, we’ve seen countywide price increases through April where median home sale prices peaked at $101,500.  Median sales price by definition means half the sales occur below that price and half occur over that price. Median sale prices have fallen since April to $93,500 which you can see by the chart.  New sales numbers are scheduled to be released September 24 which was after this article was written, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on sale prices and closed sales volume.

We did see an increase in pending sales last month which is a good sign going forward for closed sales, but pending sales were down about 19% from last August, and about the same for September, so official September sales would not surprise us if they came in down from last year.

Nationally unemployment is at 9.6% and the housing market is stalled, which does affect the SW Florida real estate market to some degree as northerners may be putting off selling in tougher times and moving to Florida.  Additionally, unemployment is a whopping 13.7% here in Lee County and rising, which does not help demand for housing, especially in the $150,000-$400,000 range.  The bottom of the market has indeed firmed up and homes listed below $100,000 are often scooped up quickly with multiple offers.  Homes priced much higher take longer as investors cannot flip them, the rents don’t always cash flow, and there aren’t enough 2nd home buyers to pick up that slack.

Season will be approaching again soon, and last year our northern friends did buy.  We’ll keep an eye out and see if that trend continues this year, and it very well could because the $150,000-$400,000 homes are still bargain buys, and everybody loves a bargain.

We’ll also report on pending sales in a few weeks.  Our guest on our Internet TV show will be Lee County property appraiser Ken Wilkinson.  We plan to ask him about housing values, and how to read the 3 columns in the trim notice to determine where your taxes will be for this year when tax bills are due in November.  The show is posted at

Interview wih Lee County Property Apprasier Ken Wilksinon

Segment 1

Segment 2

We’re doing something new this week for the Future of Real Estate Radio Show here in SW Florida.  This week’s special guest is Lee County Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson, and this week we video taped the show as it was being broadcast and we’ve decided to bring it to you in video format as a test.  We’ve separated the broadcast into 6 parts so you can watch any and all parts that interest you.

Ken Wilkinson Property Appraiser Lee County Florida
Ken Wilkinson Property Appraiser Lee County Florida

Future of Real Estate July 4, 2009 Part 1

  • Cape Coral water and sewer assessments effect on valuations
  • Mass appraisal system Vs. Fee appraisal system
  • Property Appraiser must assess 604,000 properties annually
  • Chinese Drywall and it’s effect on value
  • Mold and it’s effect on value
  • Functional Obsolesence
  • Economic Obsolesence
  • Cost to cure
  • Property Appraiser assessment Vs. Property Taxes

Future of Real Estate Part 2

  • Property Appraiser assessment Vs. Property Taxes Continued
  • 92 Taxing Authorities countywide
  • Property Appraiser’s office provides analysis of market January 1 to each taxing authority
  • Taxing authorities set their tax rates
  • Truth in Millage (Trim)
  • Rollback Millage
  • Gut feeling of what politicians will do with tax rates
  • Federal stimulous money effect on taxes
  • County budget’s being evaluated
  • Property appraiser’s office being defended by County Attorney’s office beginning July 1,2009 to save money

Future of Real Estate July 4, 2009 Pt 3

  • New Technology at Property Appraiser’s office
  • AVM-Automated Valuation Models
  • Multiple Regression Analysis
  • 2D 3D Line of Sight Model
  • View and Floor Height’s effect on value

Future of Real Estate Pt 4

  • Assessed Values down in 2008
  • Pockets of fluctuation
  • North Cape and Lehigh Acres went down fastest
  • Countywide average down over 25%
  • $27 Billion Less taxable value From $110 Billion to $83 Billion
  • Lehigh Acres Ground Zero
  • 80% of sales in some neighborhoods short sales or after foreclosures sales
  • 2009 taxes reflect 2008 sales
  • Weighted sales-4th quarter
  • Department of Revenue

Future of Real Estate Pt 5

  • Tax Referendum
  • Governor Crist
  • Property tax ammendments Nov 2010
  • Recapture
  • 3% or CPI, whichever is Less
  • 2008 recapture rate .1%

Future of Real Estate Pt 6

  • Bill signing Tallahassee Florida
  • Aerial Technology to substitute visiting each property (Desktop Review)
  • Electronic Permits
  • Lee County Lowest Cost per parcel in Florida

This week’s guest on “The Future of Real Estate”  will be Lee County Florida property appraiser Ken Wilkinson.  Ken was the Father of Save our Homes Ammendment years ago and served on the Tax and Budget Reform Comittee that meets every 20 years.  Ken was appointed by the Governor to sit on that panel.  This panel came up with several ammendments voters will be voting on this election.  3 ammendments were taken off the ballot by a judge who said the wording was not clear to voters.  Unfortunately by law they are only allowed 74 words to describe the entire ammendment, so it’s very hard to get everything in and make it clear.

Ken will also tell us how property values have done in 2008 and what that could mean for your assessment when it’s analyzed on January 1, 2009.  The Future of Real Estate presented by The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group can be heard Saturdays at 11:00 AM on WINK AM 1240 and 1270 in Collier County.  It is also broadcast over the Internet after the show airs.

Next week we may have on Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp back on our show, so tune in next week as well.