Like clockwork closed sales are on the rise starting in August. Last year we closed 896 single family home sales and in August 2013 we closed 1,069 for a 19.31% gain. This is especially interesting considering inventory levels are low. Closings on the Rise in SW Florida.

Closings on the Rise in SW Florida

Higher closed sales and lower inventory levels led to an increase in prices again. Median prices in August 2013 were $165,000 which was up 26.9% over last year’s $130,000 level, and average home prices were up 26.4%.

Single family home listing inventory in SW Florida Fort Myers Cape Coral real estate market

We also like to look at month over month prices and median sale prices increased 1.23% from $163,000 in July to $165,000 in August. Average price gains were only .28% but a gain nonetheless.

As we write this article the government is still shut down and it’s impossible to tell what effect this will have on the economy, financing of mortgages, both conventional and government mortgages, and closings in general.

The consensus is that a prolonged shutdown will affect the economy as we’re taking hundreds of thousands of paychecks out of the economy. The larger affects could be to the confidence of the consumer, so suffice it to say Congress and the President should be talking instead of blaming each other.

Should Washington get its act together we could be in for another good season. 2014 is shaping up to be a better year in many regards and the last thing we need is government getting in the way.

Next week our MLS systems are supposed to merge. I’ve heard Oct 12 is the date and Oct 21. In any event, after the glitches are worked out, using the MLS and gathering data should be much easier for Realtors and consumers. Our website lets you search the entire MLS. Soon the data feeds should contain listings from Naples to Cape Coral. Sanibel and Captiva will be the only area not included in the new MLS although many of the listings end up in the common database anyway as island agents want the extra exposure.

After the MLS merger there will be increased pressure on small MLS’s like Sanibel and Captiva to join. Typically Sanibel and Captiva have resisted as they’ve wanted the island to themselves and have tried to shut out Realtors from off the island, but in this day of technology that may be increasingly harder to do as buyers and sellers with multi-million dollar properties demand more from their agents.

If Naples can join a common database so too can Sanibel and Captiva.

If you’re a seller, now is the time to gear up your home sale for season. Give us a call at 239-489-4042 and find out how we sell our homes fast and for more money. We’ve got a marketing system that works and we’ll be happy to share with you how we do it.

Good luck and happy house hunting!
To search the MLS for properties go to or give us a call at 239-489-4042     Good luck and Happy House Hunting!!!

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SW Florida Realtors are in for big changes in October if all goes as announced.  4 MLS systems from Naples, Bonita/Estero, Cape Coral, and Fort Myers and the Beaches will be together under one vendor and one shared MLS database.  It almost didn’t happen though, and when it does, there will be some challenges.

MLS Systems Are Merging – Benefits and Challenges Ahead

For some perspective all 4 boards met last year and decided to merge together but for some reason the Greater Fort Myers and the Beaches Board pulled out and decided to stick with their Vendor Rapattoni even though the others had selected Matrix.  After the other 3 boards made the move in August of this year, it became apparent having one board with one set of data and the separate boards with another set of data was going to be a nightmare.

Fort Myers voted to share the data with the other boards and all could share some data and keep their own vendor, but this was fraught with perils.  For instance, in Fort Myers and Cape Coral we have lots that are waterfront and direct access with no bridges.  This isn’t as much of an issue in Bonita and Naples, so the 3 board’s database doesn’t include this field.  Because the Cape Coral board merged with the other two we have no idea why they didn’t insist on this, but it isn’t there.

Had each board kept their own vendor and done the data share any agent searching for direct access homes or lots would have returned 0 results from the common shared database file because that field doesn’t exist in the shared database even though it does in the Fort Myers board.

Because the 4 boards are now one common database the field still does not exist, but at least now agents won’t be misled by a 0 matching properties result.  The agent just won’t be able to search on that field.

Matrix MLS Map Based Search Results

One advantage is the search results, and even the search itself can be map based, so you can see where the properties are located.  This will be particularly helpful when an agent doesn’t know for sure what Geo Area a property is in but just wants to do a quick search.  Some properties are located in a particular development name even though the legal description matches a particular subdivision name.  Searching under the new system will now be easier using the map, or the community name field.

Matrix MLS Great Fort Myers Association of Realtors

The waterfront description field is just one example of a search that would have been disastrous under a database sharing agreement.  Now things will work much smoother.  Some argued, including us, that the new Matrix system was superior to Rapattoni.  Some argued Rapattoni would be superior once new features kicked in.

The real argument never was which vendor was superior.  The system all 4 boards use jointly working together will be better no matter which vendor was selected. We like the map based search and the mobile solution Matrix uses better and we’re happy the Fort Myers Board changed and went with the new system, but the real advantage begins when all 4 major MLS’s operate together as one.  In my 25+ years in real estate we’ve been fractured and I’m so thankful the boards have gotten together and made this happen.  It’s been a long time coming and agents deserve having the information in one place and not having to check various MLS’s for data.

In the future, if a newer better technology comes along it is our sincere hope all 4 MLS’s will work together.  Now it’s time for Sanibel and Captiva to get on board and work together.  If 4 major MLS’s can do it, you can too.  While we’re at it, a common database up and down the West coast of Florida would be even better.  And one day, why not a joint state regional MLS like other states have done?  Now we’re just talking crazy, so we’ll stop and say thank you to all involved for making this happen.  Agents and consumers won on this one!

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