SW Florida Real Estate Closings Setting Strong Pace in 2018SW Florida Real estate closings setting strong pace in 2018 and it’s the best kept secret out there. Perhaps people are caught-up in the headlines of red-tide and blue-green algae and just assume the market is suffering.

I was just speaking with a lender this morning who mentioned she’s ready for real estate closings to start picking up.  Lenders of course get a large chunk of their business through Realtors, so I asked her what her perception of the market was.  In speaking with Realtors she works with, she had heard it was slow.

SW Florida Real Estate Closings Setting Strong Pace in 2018

If you look at the graph, you’ll see Lee County closings in 2018 are ahead of past year’s closings.  In fact, we are 689 of last year and 211 ahead of 2015, the second highest year in this time frame. The data shows that real estate closings are not slow, and yet Realtors, lenders, and maybe even the public thinks it is.

Your perception becomes your reality, and if you buy into a falsehood that the market is slow, suddenly your closings will be slow, which further confirms your suspicion that the market is indeed slow.  When you buy into false facts, your outcome is determined by your attitude and assumptions rather than what could have been.  If you simply change your thinking, you can change your world.

At Keller Williams we have a list or irrefutable laws, one of which is “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”   The SW Florida real estate market right now is a perfect example.  This market can be whatever you want it to be.  We have buyers looking to buy.  We have a good economy, and rates are low historically speaking although on their way up.  All favorable signs!

And yet we have some negatives.  Interest rates are rising, which is slowing buyer’s purchasing power.  Sales are slowing nationwide.  And of course, we have Red Tide and Blue Green Algae.  There, I said it.  We have positives on the table and we have negatives on the table.  So, which is it?

Every business should run a SWOT analysis.  Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  Every business will have positives and negatives.  Every relationship will have both.  Your outcome is dependent on how you look at things.  Do you choose to see the opportunity, or do you choose to see the threat?

Facts are facts, and they often get in the way of how we’d like to perceive a situation.  The facts are, we’ve got a pretty good market right now.  If you’re an agent, you could either decide on how you’re going to go get your unfair share of sales or sit back and complain that sales are slow.  They’re not slow for everybody, only those that choose to buy into the negatives.

If you’re a seller, you want an agent that knows how to market and sell in all kinds of weather.  Three things are certain, markets go up, markets go down, and the weather is always changing.  If your home has been on the market and failed to sell, perhaps you need a new approach.

It failed to sell for one of two reasons.  Either it was overpriced, or it wasn’t marketed properly.  We’ve taken over listings that failed to sell and sold them at the same price, so it wasn’t the price.  We’ve taken over other listings that were overpriced, made the proper adjustments, and added our marketing and they sold.  Sometimes it’s both, the price and the marketing.

There is no substitute for proper marketing.  Failure to market properly will cause a home to sell at a lower price, or not at all.  Even homes priced correctly sometimes don’t sell, and that’s lack of marketing.

Call Brett or Sande Ellis 239-489-4042 Ext 4 and we’ll be happy to sit down and discuss both with you.  Or, go to www.SWFLhomevalues.com and get a quick and Free estimate of your home’s value, then call us when you’re ready to sell.

Good luck and happy selling!

Ellis Team Weekend Open Houses

Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

1742 Ardmore Rd


Open House Saturday 1-3 PM

714 Fifth Ave, Lehigh Acres

SW Florida sure dodged a bullet with Tropical Storm Isaac. A few people actually seemed kind of let down the storm was a dud for our area. Not us, we’re glad the storm sideswiped us so we can get back to business.

When things are going well you don’t need a timeout. Have you ever watched a sportscast and noticed it’s usually the team that’s struggling that calls a timeout? A timeout gives them a chance to regroup, catch their breath, re-energize, formulate a new strategy, or think of something different to change their plot.

SW Florida Traditional Real Estate Sales Versus Distressed Sales
SW Florida Traditional Vs Distressed Sales

SW Florida needs no timeout right now. In fact, I think we can handle some more. We’re firing on all cylinders and actually could use more listings. Sales would be higher if we had more inventory to sell. The proof is in the pudding, so let’s take a look at the numbers.

Traditional sales rose 6% in the 2nd qtr of 2012. Remember not too long ago distressed sales accounted for 71.86% of all single family home sales in Lee County in 2009. In Lehigh Acres it was worse at 88.5%. Fast forward to today and we have a much different picture. In fact, traditional sales were not only up in percentage, they were also up in actual units rising from 1,896 the 1st qtr to 2,188 this past qtr. Short sales declined from 20% down to 17% as the actual units dropped from 647 the 1st qtr to 566 this past qtr. Bringing up the rear was foreclosures which were 20% 1st qtr and 17% 2nd qtr. Actual units were 628 foreclosure sales 1st qtr and 560 the 2nd qtr.

This wasn’t a case of all three types of properties falling and only the percentages changed. There was an increase in traditional sales and a decrease in distressed sales, all indicative of a recovering market.

Some wonder if the market’s as good as we say it is, why haven’t prices gone back up to 2006 levels and the answer is those were artificial numbers and were not sustainable There were voices speaking back in 2005 that the market was in trouble but few would listen. The economy didn’t support those levels then and they sure won’t support them now. The economy has worsened since then and until we see a rise in jobs, income, and savings we won’t see whopping price increases. However, most agree our market is undervalued while it is steadily progressing in price. Our market is ready to take off once economic conditions improve. In the meantime, we’ll take the slow and steady gains of the past year or more.

Our nation and economy is at a crossroads, and the outcome should arrive fairly soon with the election in November. The politicians have not been straight with us because they’re afraid we’ll fire them. The truth is we spend more each year on entitlements than we bring in, so it wouldn’t matter if we cut the entire budget, there isn’t enough to pay our bills. We either need to grow revenue to the government or cut entitlements, or perhaps both.

The big argument will be how to cut entitlements, and how to grow revenue. Obama says raise taxes on the rich. Others say cut taxes on the rich and revenue will grow like they did under Reagan. Taxes are just half of the equation and it’s a losing proposition if you don’t also look at entitlements. It’s a conversation America needs to have, not one which we want to have.

Entitlements eat up the entire revenue, and yet Bush increased them with prescription drugs and Obama did with health care. If we can’t afford what we have, why are we adding to the debt? Greece had austerity measures forced upon them by their creditors and they didn’t like that. We won’t either. Right now we have choices. In a few years we won’t. America was founded upon us choosing our destiny. I’d hate to see the world tell us in a few years how we should govern ourselves, but if we can’t do it, assuredly someone will soon.

As we said earlier, our local real estate market will ultimately be dictated by jobs and the economy. Jobs and the economy might very well be dictated this coming election, so our crystal ball should be arriving sometime in November. Stay tuned, and Happy House Hunting!

Because we are writing this article this week before official numbers are released, we decided to go inside the numbers and focus on listing inventory and sales data.  According to preliminary numbers researched by the Ellis Team, listing inventory rose again for the 3rd consecutive month.

Single Family Home Listing Inventory in SW Florida
SW Florida December 2011 Listing Inventory

Lehigh Acres has been holding fairly steady while Cape Coral is seeing the largest gains in inventory.  Fort Myers is inching higher ever so slightly.

What’s interesting is the distressed sales market.  We track a variety of graphs.  One graph not shown here because it’s a little tangled and hard to read in newspaper format shows large drops in distressed sales in Lehigh Acres, Fort Myers, and Lee County overall.  Cape Coral has held steady at 50.45% of all single family sales being distressed.  Lee County stands at 48% distressed rate in November.

SW Florida Distressed Sales Chart December 2011
Foreclosures Vs Short Sales December 2011

We have included a Foreclosures Vs Short Sales graph that is a bit easier to read.  It fairly well shows the history of the foreclosure and short sale market in SW Florida.  As you can see, the height of foreclosure sales was in June 2009, while the height of the short sale market was March 2011.


Banks revved up their short sale departments to handle an increased load.  It can be said that potentially each of these successful short sales may have saved a corresponding amount of foreclosures, so it was in the banks and the markets best interests to sell these homes as short sales rather than as foreclosures.

Going into 2012 we’re going to continue to watch the listing inventory and the mix of inventory.  Traditional sales are on the rise as a percentage of all sales, although many homeowners are not selling at today’s bargain basement prices.

Speaking of bargain prices, many buyers are calling wanting to buy homes for investment and expecting 2009 prices.  It seems like sellers are always the last to recognize when prices are dropping and buyers are the last to recognize when prices are rising.  Why is that?  Could it be selective hearing or denial?

We can definitively say that investment homes in Cape Coral and Lehigh acres bottomed in 2009 and have risen since.  Buyers today can no longer pick up a home for $35,000 in Lehigh unless it has major problems.  $70,000 is more common place for the low end now, so essentially prices in the low end have doubled.

Sales are flat in December versus November; however we are expecting sales to pickup in season again.  We’ve had no trouble selling homes.  The biggest challenges we’ve faced are closing these homes.  Lately we’ve been encountering title issues, mortgage re-disclosure issues due to any delays, and buyers not waiting patiently for the short sale approval.  We’re getting short sales approved within 60 days in many cases, but buyers are impatient.  Going forward the industry will have to do a better job educating buyers as to what the realistic expectations are for approval and closing time frames on short sales.

We’ll also watch foreclosure inventory as we are expecting a few more in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2012.

We’ll keep our eye on the SW Florida real estate market for you, and whether you’re a buyer or seller, we hope Santa is better to you this year than he was last year.  The market is looking up, and we hope your holiday spirits are too.


How would you like to view videos complete with graphs and analysis breaking down the overall Lee County Florida housing market, as well as many of the sub-markets throughout SW Florida?  Now you can.  The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group in Fort Myers Florida recently released its annual State of the Market Report, and this year they’ve produced videos explaining in detail what it all means for the future of the local housing market.

State of the Market Video 1 This video gives an overview of how the Lee County real estate market fared in 2009 vs. 2008 and provides many graphs and analysis on what foreces are influencing the market

State of the Market Video 2 Continued discussion of the overall SW Florida real estate market

State of Market Video 3 Analysis of submarkets Fort Myers Beach, Lehigh Acres, East Ft Myers, North Fort Myers, Sanibel Island

State of the Market Video 4 Analysis of  submarkets SE Fort Myers, SW Fort Myers, Central Ft Myers, Bonita Springs, and Estero Florida markets

State of the Market Video 5 Analysis of Cape Coral submarket, broken down into 3 areas, Cape Coral North, Cape Coral Central, Cape Coral South

Feel free to share this report and videos with your friends who may have interest in the SW Florida housing market

SW Florida bank foreclosure auctionLast week we attended a major bank auction in SW Florida.  Over 100 homes were auctioned off.  One investor in attendance said that of the over 100 properties, only 6 were absolute and the rest were subject to investor approval, which if true means most of these will come back on the market

Most of the properties didn’t fetch a very high price, so they may very well not be acceptable to the end investor.  We will attemot to verify this with the bank.  The buyer has to wait up to 15 days to see if the investor on the loan takes the offer from the auction.

The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group lists a lot of the properties for this bank, so we may end up listing a good percentage of these listings that do come back on the market.  We did notice a few properties where the buyer overpaid for the home.  These buyers were probably inexperienced and didn’t bring a broker with them  to the auction to advise them they could have bought similiar properties in the same neighborhood for less money.  However, most properties went so far under value that most of the investors may not accept the offers, so many of these winning bidders will be disappointed.

Since the auction the bank has told many buyers and agents to contact us to be first on the list when we get thee properties in.  We get orders for the properties before they go in MLS.  We are identified as the listing agents, but it takes the bank a few weeks to tell us what the price is and authorize us to place it in MLS.  If you’d like to be on the list, give our office a call.  We plan to setup a group list whereby we can notify everyone at once when we get these listings.  They tend to be some very good buys.  For instance, we just listed a newer home in Lehigh Acres for $75,900.  It is an excellent buy.

County Commissioners decided Tuesday to limit lawn watering to one time a day twice a week from midnight to 8 a.m.   We are more than 6 inches below our normal rainfall for the year, and this is the dry time of year.  Yesterday’s rains will of course help tremendously, but for how long?

Lehigh Acres has experienced dry conditions, and some have complained about well activity and their concern their wells could go dry.  In fact, the Ellis Team is involved in one deal now where the seller must dig a $6,000 new well that has a bigger pipe and is deeper just to keep the deal alive.  We are about 6 weeks away rom rainy season here in SW Florida, so any rain relief we receive now is welcome.

Now available! Beautiful, newer 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in Lehigh Acres, Southwest Florida. Lehigh Acres is one of Lee County Florida’s fastest growing communities and is an ideal place to raise a family. Lehigh Acres also has so much to offer to those looking for a quiet retirement home in the sun. Southwest Florida has it all!

Spacious Kitchen

Home Office