The March 2009 Ellis Team SW Florida real estate Current Market Index covering Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Estero, Ft Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, and Lehigh Acres Florida improved again as sales activity has really taken off in the past 6 months. The Index now stands at 4.41 for Cape Coral and Fort Myers, and stands at 5.07 for the entire Lee County Florida.
Inventory levels countywide hade dropped to just slightly over 13,000 while pending sales have shot up to 2,567, and increase of 22.53% since last month. The market is absorbing new inventory. This 2009 season has been as good as predicted. remember, the Current Market Index is a forward looking indicator, and home sales have been bearing that out each and every month as we’ve been reporting.
Cape Coral again leads the way. The CMI numbers for Cape Coral are 3.45, the best in SW Florida. Condo numbers were down to 10.90, down from 13.08 in February, another positive sign. We do see some serious trouble on the horizon for the condo market in SW Florida we’ll be reporting on later.
As you can see from our Florida Sales Report – May 2008 Single-Family, Existing Homes, officialhome sales were up 43% and the median sale price was down 25%. The official numbers use statistics from various sources and we analyzed statistics from the Greater Fort Myers and the Beach Board of Realtors. We knew our stats would be close to official numbers and while the number of sales was a little off, the trend was overwhelmingly positive no matter how you look at the numbers.
Foreclosures, short sales, and entry level homes are dominating the Southwest Florida real estate market with most of the sales coming from Cape Coral. When we look at the Percent of April’s closings under $200,000 chart, we can clearly see that closings under $200,000 dominate the Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, and Lee County real estate markets in general. If you are priced above $200,000 in Lehigh Acres, you’ve got a slim chance of selling as that is not where the buyers are at in Lehigh. Over 95% of Lehigh’s closings was at $200,000 or less.
Over 52% of homes listed in Lehigh Acres are short sales compared to 38.70 Percent for Lee County overall. If we examine the shear number of short sales listed in Lee County priced less than $200,000 we can gain a little perspective. Cape Coral has approximately half of the short sales listed in the entire county, and over half of the sales. This tells us that when affordability meets opportunity, buyers jump off the fence and purchase.
We are also seeing the market being driven by the low end, but also a bleed-up effect which translates to more sales and more offers now in the $300,000-$500,000 range as well. We expect May to be another good month for sales numbers once they’re posted at the end of the month.
Entry level homes are driving the demand for homes in Lehigh Acres and Cape Coral Florida real estate. Several lending institutions asked us to do some analysis on the foreclosure market here in SW Florida, and by far Cape Coral leads the way in the county for transactions. In fact, it can be said that Cape Coral is the hottest market in Lee County. Lehigh Acres is much more soft. We’ve uncovered some interesting facts exploring this data.
What this is telling us is that buyers are definitely off the fence and buying now, and most of these buyers are end users. It’s also telling us that they prefer to buy in Cape Coral over Lehigh Acres. In the Boom market, Lehigh did very well because Cape Coral was priced about $85,000 higher for the same house. The difference was in the land prices. Now that price differential has come down to about $15,000, and buyers are saying to themselves, for only $15,000 difference they’ll choose Cape Coral. For $85,000 difference Lehigh Acres looked affordable and attractive.
This also tells us that either prices will go up in Cape Coral, or prices must come down further in Lehigh Acres, or a combination of both until we hit equilibrium.
This article is the first in a series utilizing this new data, so check back often for more updates to the entry level home pricing market in SW Florida, or subscribe to receive e-mail updates to this Blog.