Right now there is an imbalance in the market.  We have more buyers than sellers.  A few weeks ago we introduced a new website and it is attracting a lot of buyers.  We knew it was a better system than the one we were using before, but the registrations to use this new system has exceeded our best expectations.

Ellis Team Hiring Buyer Specialists

We have roughly the same number of visitors to our website.  The difference is because this new system is more consumer friendly and cutting edge, consumers are using it versus skipping over the old system.  If you’re a buyer or seller, you can check it out live at www.LeeCountyOnline.com

We just searched the MLS and right now there are only 3,858 single family homes on the market.  There are about 900 more if you count pending with contingency, but we’ll stick with just Actives for this discussion.  There are only 961 low rise condos (1-3 stories) 256 mid rise units and 292 high rise units on the market in Lee County.  There are 157 townhouse units on the market, and 217 villa units.

That’s not a lot of inventory, so buyers are hungry searching for deals.  There are 1197 closings last month in MLS, so roughly one third of the market closed last month.  If you’re a seller, this is good news and you might want to think about selling right now.  At the Fed meeting a few weeks ago they signaled they are ready to raise interest rates later this year.  They’re just waiting on a bit more data.

If you’re a buyer, you need access to all the data, and you need it now.  You don’t want old data that includes properties that are pending and sold months ago.  That’s what you get with some of the national online companies.  Your data is also sold to lenders and brokers.  We know because we see the data that comes to us and lenders.

Our system emails you each day new properties that enter the market as well as price changes.  You can also setup multiple searches.  I’ve spoken with many users who have told me it’s so much better than any other service they’ve tried, and they named names.

Because we wish to provide superior service, we need more agents.  The system is working. Our advertising is working.  We need experienced agents who can help people with their search to make sure it’s setup the way they want and returning the desired properties.

Once buyers favorite a property they either want to keep track of it or go see it.  We need more agents to show property and help people find their dream home.  As we add more agents we’ll keep adding to the advertising budget, which will create even more buyers.

Ellis Team Hiring Buyer Specialists

If you’re an experienced agent and not getting the leads you think you can handle, you may want to call us.  We have openings today, and chances are once we fill them we’ll have more openings in the future as we increase spending.  Call us for a confidential interview.

If you’re a seller thinking of selling, you might want to call a team that has lots of buyers.  Our marketing is working.  Our websites are ranked well.  Our print and online advertising is working, and now we have a MLS search site that consumers say beats all others. When interest rates rise it does cost buyers more money to buy a home, so they can afford less.  It will cost buyers to wait, but it can cost sellers too.  If more homes come on the market in the next year, and rates rise, your home may not be as Hot as it is right now.  Nobody is predicting a downturn, but it is more fun to sell when there is less competition and buyers are hungry to buy.

Call us to get your home sold now, while it’s fun!  Agents, call us now to get the leads you deserve and get back to making money.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

We have a long list of communities you can search on our new website  Here are a few:

Botanica Lakes Homes For Sale

Marina Bay Fort Myers

Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club

We recently updated our San Carlos Park Homes For Sale Page



Official sales numbers were released this past week by Florida Realtors and as expected median sales prices fell 3.46% from July as more distressed sales sold in August 2011 than July. Sale prices were up 16.74% from August 2010 which is positive. Listing inventory continues to slide which bolsters prices as well. Last year Lee County had 11,667 combined single family homes from all MLS’s on the market and today we’re down to 7,675 combined. Actually there are less than both numbers because some homes are listed in multiple MLS’s, especially high end homes or homes in Estero, Bonita, San Carlos park where Realtors may belong to more than one MLS and desire additional exposure. Sanibel and Captiva is another example of where agents might list homes in the Sanibel board and the Fort Myers board.

SW Florida Real Estate Homes Closed 2009-2011
SW Florida Single Family Homes Closed

As you can see from the attached charts, even though inventory has been falling, Realtors have been successful at closing high numbers of homes even though many are short sales. This is a testament to the fact buyers are being forced to look at short sales which may take longer to close to find homes in their price range. It is also testament that Realtors are increasing their education to handle these complicated sales, and banks are gearing up to close more of these sales rather than selling through foreclosure.

SW Florida Single Family Sale Prices 2009-August 2011
Single Family Home Sale Prices in SW Florida 2009-2011

While sales prices have declined from their 2011 seasonal highs, they are still significantly higher than last year’s numbers signifying the bottom may be behind us. Before our market reaches for the skies again, we must first repair our fragile economy and create jobs and income growth. Combining that with a coherent, understandable, and definite tax policy will also help settle the real estate market. Congress and presidential politicians keep proposing changes to mortgage deductions, increased capital gains taxes on certain groups of people, and worst of all they’ve failed to extend the National Flood Insurance Program which puts hundreds of thousands of current transactions in jeopardy.

Washington couldn’t script are more harmful strategy to disrupt housing, which is amazing as housing leads to 32% of the nations GDP. There has got to be a better way, and thankfully there is a better way, but it won’t happen until the next election.

So for the next year the nation’s economy and housing market will have its ups and downs and will take its lumps until certainty returns to the market. I never understood why the president proposes raising taxes on certain people and not others. While I’m certainly not rich, nor is any real estate agent I know in SW Florida, I just don’t understand how taxing those that make more money encourages them to work harder or hire more people, which is what our economy really needs right now.

Last week I wasn’t paying attention and I received a speeding ticket. A day later I thought. Hey, if certain people get to pay more taxes because they earn more, then why can’t certain people drive faster than others? If I’m paying more shouldn’t I be allowed to drive faster? Well, it’s a silly argument as we should all obey and drive by the same rules, and so it goes with taxes, we should all pay the same rates. If someone makes more, they automatically pay more. So why should they pay more, and pay a higher rate?

And when companies are taxed at one of the highest rates in the world, why do we wonder when they move operations overseas? Perhaps we should lower taxes and encourage them to come back and hire US workers, which would raise income to the government.

Have you ever wondered why certain corporations move to Delaware or South Dakota? It’s because those states learned to compete with other states they must have lower taxes. It’s about time our Federal government understood this. We are in a global competition. When someone can accurately predict when our government will get its act together, almost anyone will be able to predict the real estate market. Until then, we’ll keep reading the tea leaves and reporting what we see.


SW Florida Real Estate September 2011 Official Numbers Released

Last week we reported showings and phone calls were down for a few weeks after Easter according to several agents we spoke with, but that all changed about a day after writing the story.  Phone calls and offers picked up significantly last weekend, so it’s very hard to judge the market on a daily basis.                   

This week we decided to step back and analyze April 2010 vs March 2010.  Official numbers won’t be released until next week, however we believe we’ll see a year over year increase in home sales about 9-10%, and we believe prices will up again over last year as well. 

SW Florida Real Estate Home Sales Lee County Florida
Single Family Home Sales in SW Florida March-April 2010

We’ve created a graph illustrating sales numbers for March-April of 2010.  Sales for single family homes increased ever so slightly over March.  We then wanted to know the mix of foreclosed homes and short sales.  Foreclosure sales actually fell 10.43%, while short sales rose 12.96%.  This coincides with our predictions back in March that we may see a rise in short sales as bank gear up to handle more short sales. 

Foreclosure filings have been down, so 6 to 12 months in the future it’s reasonable to assume there may be less foreclosure properties for sale, especially if banks continue to increase their short sale efforts. 

Our numbers are close to but not identical to official numbers that will be released next week for one reason.  We use data from multiple MLS’, but there is the potential for some listing overlap if a property is listed in more than one MLS.  Statistically that runs about 5% give or take.  We’d rather have a little overlap than miss a lot of listings and sales. 

Condo sales were up in April over March, and that would be expected as condo sales tend to build throughout the season and culminate in April.  Condo sales are increasingly difficult to finance with new regulations on approving not only the borrower, but also the association itself.  Many March closings were pushed back to April, and we suspect many April closings may get pushed back to May, so May could be a good month due to high sales and delayed closings, both in the condo and single family markets. 

Headlines next week should read home sales up somewhere around 10% +/- depending on what the official figures are, and home prices up as well.  Last year’s April median home price dipped to $85,500.  March 2010 median figures shot up to $95,100 up from $88,000, so even if prices hold steady from March we should be reading about price increases. 

Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, so sales activity will drop-off as people plan their time off.  It will be interesting to note people’s perceptions of Florida and their willingness to book vacations here in advance due to the oil crisis in the Gulf.  Many visitors come back in the summer and buy.  Additionally, the Euro is now worth less, so it will be interesting to see if that affects foreign visitors this summer with less buying power.  Hopefully once we sort out the Gulf oil spill, our Chambers of Commerce will promote the area as a great place to visit.  We count on many of these visitors to buy property in Florida each year, so we do want them to visit and spend money in Florida and help our economy. 

In the meantime, let’s enjoy some positive publicity next week.  Our market is due for positive news, and it helps buyers to understand that prices are rising and inventory is shrinking little by little, and the time is now to step up if they want in on today’s bargains.