Sales volume has slipped this year primarily because inventory levels are down. However, we have noticed a slight trend in the past few months worth noting.

SW Florida Real Estate sales 2012

Inventory levels actually rose in September for single family homes, albeit only 5 homes which is rather insignificant. Because sales are less, it did raise the standing inventory to a 3.5 month supply, up from 3.4 months the previous month. Both numbers are low.

Another trend we are watching is the median sales price, which has fallen for 2 consecutive months. This is a seasonal trend we see this time of year so we are not alarmed. Heading into season we’re going to need all the inventory this market can muster, and right now it may not be enough. Prices are still much higher than last year.

Fort Myers Cape Coral Media Sale Prices

We would have liked to see home prices rise the past few months, but not for the reasons you might think. Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, and all of SW Florida is considered a declining market by FNMA and Freddie Mac. The appraiser usually notates this on the appraisal report to the lender. According to guidelines, and area must have 3 consecutive quarters of rising prices to break a declining market tag.

Lee County had a strong 4th qtr 2011 and 1st qtr 2012 but came up short in 2nd qtr. This contradicts our data so I’m not sure how they calculate this. I’m hearing whispers that the tag may come off Collier County Florida in January, but we’ll wait and see if that actually happens.

The reason this is important is because it removes additional restrictions and paperwork requirements when the tag is lifted. FNMA is already making loans tougher this November with new guidelines. For instance, self employed borrowers will find it more difficult and cumbersome to receive a mortgage. They will require personal and corporate tax returns for last 2 yrs no matter what. Lenders are just now receiving the new guidelines and sifting through the changes.

September is seasonal, and it’s not uncommon for sales to lighten this time of year. It does feel on the street as though there’s a dichotomy to the market. Agent listings seem to either get a ton of activity and offers or very little. This may change in the next few months as snowbirds tend to scoop up higher priced inventory for second homes and investment.

The upcoming election may have also stifled buyers who are afraid to make a big purchase until the see which leadership will guide the country and what the new economic landscape may look like. We’ve seen on TV many company CEO’s waiting to make hiring and firing decisions until after the election, and it’s quite possible buyers will do the same. If you’re worried about your job, chances are you’re not in the market to change your housing.

Once the election is over, the direction the nation and economy goes in may become clearer, and consumer confidence could rise. If and when that happens we believe SW Florida is poised to take advantage with lots of potential for price appreciation. All signs point to higher once the job outlook improves, and help may be just around the corner.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!


SW Florida International Airport, serving Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Naples, and all of SW Florida received more visitirs in February 2007 than any other month in its history, marking over 841,000 passengers for the month.

AirTran had the most passengers with 101,261, followed by Us Airways and Delta.  SW Florida continues to a nice vacation spot, and as more people move to SW Florida, airline traffic increases as residents take business trips, and friends come to visit.

It’s always been said, just move to Florida and you’ll find out how many friends you have.

ORLANDO, Fla., April 25, 2006 — Slowly rising mortgage rates and higher levels of for-sale inventory influenced Florida’s housing sector in March as the state’s market continued to adjust on the heels of a five-year record pace. Statewide, sales of single-family existing homes totaled 18,881 last month compared to March 2005’s sales of 24,091 homes for a 22 percent decrease, according to the Florida Association of Realtors® (FAR).

While housing industry analysts predict that home prices eventually will cool, annual appreciation currently remains in the double-digits in many markets throughout Florida and the U.S. Realtors report that demand continues to impact housing prices across Florida, as the state’s warm weather, scenic attractions and favorable business climate attract new residents.

Last month, the statewide median price rose 17 percent to $248,200; a year ago, it was $212,600. In March 2001, the statewide median sales price was $121,600, which is an increase of about 104 percent over the five-year-period, according to FAR records. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half for less.

The national single-family existing home median price was $208,500 in February 2006, up 11.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In California, the statewide median resales price was $535,470 in February; in Massachusetts, it was $339,450; in New York, it was $300,000; and in Maryland, it was $294,577.

Looking to Florida’s existing condominium market, sales of existing condos also decreased in March, with a total of 6,481 condos sold statewide compared to 8,388 in March 2005 for a 23 percent decline, according to FAR. The statewide median sales price for condos rose 2 percent to $214,200 last month; a year ago, it was $210,300. The national median existing condo price was $214,300 in February 2006.

In March, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 6.32 percent — still favorable for potential buyers, but higher than the rate of 5.93 percent a year ago. FAR’s sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

Among the state’s larger markets, the Miami Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) reported a 21 percent increase in home sales last month with a total of 942 homes sold; a year ago, a total of 777 homes sold. The median sales price rose 19 percent to $383,100; last year, it was $322,300.

Norka M. Diaz, president of the Realtor Association of Miami-Dade County and president and broker-owner of Norka Realty Inc. in Hialeah, says she sees a lot of first-time buyers entering their market. “Our inventory is up, but properties are really moving,” she says. “People feel they are wasting their money by renting and are ready to buy, and mortgage rates remain favorable. Miami is a gateway for international travel and a great place to live — it’s fast-paced, with many business opportunities and things to do.”

Jacksonville, another large Florida MSA, also reported a higher level of resales activity last month, with 1,701 homes changing hands for a 9 percent increase over the March 2005 figure. The market’s median sales price also rose 15 percent to $197,400.

Among the smaller markets in Florida, the Ocala MSA had higher sales in March, with 598 homes sold compared to 566 homes a year ago for a 6 percent gain. The median sales price rose 27 percent to $161,100; a year ago, it was $126,800.

Gregory Lord, president-elect of the Ocala-Marion County Association of Realtors and co-owner of Homes To Ranches Realty Inc. in Ocala, says the area’s laid-back lifestyle and friendly residents draw buyers. “People are still looking for the quality of life in new ranch homes that Marion County has to offer,” he says. “Our area remains a little more rural, with a relaxed atmosphere that appeals to many newcomers. And we’re well-known in the horse world — if people are looking for an equestrian community, this is the place to be.”

Brett Ellis of The Ellis Team at RE/MAX Realty Group noted that Fort Myers – Cape Coral home sales declined 29% over March 2005, and prices climbed 12%.  While sales declined from 2005 levels by 29%, they actually increased 40% over February 2006 levels.  Prices remained steady near $280,000 which means the market may be stabilizing with increased sales and stable prices.

The Fort Myers – Cape Coral condo market reported a sales drop of 53% from 2005 levels, but also a sales increase of 38% over February 2006 levels.  Condo prices gained 39% over year ago sales in March 2005, but dropped 10% in price from February 2006 levels, suggesting that buyers are now getting back in the market now that values are more in line.

Other smaller MSAs in the state reporting higher March sales compared to last year include: Tallahassee, where 499 homes changed hands for a 10 percent increase; and Gainesville, where 298 homes sold for a 4 percent gain. The median sales price also rose in those markets: in Gainesville, 28 percent to $218,600; and in Tallahassee, 12 percent to $173,500.

A chart showing statistics for Florida and its 20 MSAs is attached. The chart compares the volume of existing, single-family home sales and median sales prices in March 2006 to March 2005, based on Realtor transactions.

Single-Family Chart

Condominium Chart