Southwest Florida listing inventory rises in October to 5,157 units, up from 4,829 in September.  That is a 6.79% rise in just one month.  We went back to last year and noticed listing inventory rose 6.09% those same months, so inventory is rising a bit faster this year.

Home inventory was up 16.64% this past September over 2015 and in October it’s up 17.42%.  We’ve been mentioning all year 2016 has been a leveling off and balancing market, so rising inventory isn’t surprising.  In fact, it was predicted.

November statistics won’t come out until next week.  We’ve been studying preliminary numbers and from what we can tell, median and average sales price are going to be fairly even.  Perhaps a small gain on median price and small loss on average price.  However, we can only track Lee County numbers submitted to our MLS.

If our numbers are correct we may see an uptick in number of closed sales in November.  Also frustrating is the fact that they go back and adjust last year’s numbers, so that can influence predictions as well.

Southwest Florida Listing Inventory Rises

Southwest Florida Listing Inventory Rises

We searched active homes on market on December 13th and we found 5,104.  If we add back in the pending and contingent listings we have 5,955. We’ll be watching the official November stats when they are released next week.  As you can tell from the chart, the trendline is up slightly.

Some people believe we’ll see more homes hit the market as interest rates rise.  Others believe we may see less as sellers may decide to stay in their low-cost mortgage.  I can tell you one thing.  If you currently own and your home no longer works for you, the time to list is now.

We need to get your home sold and you into your new home before rates rise again.  They’ve already risen about .75%.  This will cost you more to finance the same amount, so waiting will cost you tens of thousands over the life of your new loan.

Did you know you can search the entire MLS from our website?   It has all the homes, and it’s updated every 5 minutes, so you’ll be the first to know about new homes as they enter the market or change their price.  You can even save your search, and have multiple saved searches in case you’re looking at different options.  We even have a free tool to find out what your home is worth online.

The Ellis Team is also busy meeting with potential sellers.  We counsel sellers on how to get top dollar for their home and how their home should be positioned and marketed in the marketplace.  Sellers are finding out there is a difference and listing with the wrong Realtor can cost them thousands.

Don’t list with a Realtor that doesn’t bring you top dollar.  You might ask, what’s our secret for getting top dollar?  We’d love to show you.  It’s not by accident, it’s by design.

Let us sit down with you and show you how our 30+ years in the market combined with today’s latest technology and aggressive marketing is making a difference for our sellers.  If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.

Our team is growing.  We have thousands of buyers in our database looking to purchase.  If you’re an agent looking to grow your business, give us a call.  If you’re a potential seller looking to sell before rates go up, give us a call too.  Put our experience and wisdom to work for you.

We’ve been through changing markets before.  Rising rates change the game and knowing how to help buyers and sellers can be the difference to keeping your deals together and saving everybody money.  You can call us at 239-489-4042.  If you’re considering selling, ask for Sande or Brett Ellis.

Good luck and Happy House Hunting!

Southwest Florida Real Estate Market Update December 2016

Official August 2013 SWFL sales numbers  have been posted from Florida Realtors and as expected the Fort Myers and Cape Coral real estate market is holding its own.  Listing inventory is down again and it’s causing prices to rise.

August 2013 SWFL Sales Numbers

Single family home listing inventory stands at 4,956 currently compared to 5,763 last year.  That’s a 14% drop in listing inventory.  Median sale prices rose 32.1% in the past year.  June sales numbers indicate a median sales price of $185,000 compared to $140,000 last year.  Average mean sales prices increased 17.1% to $271,896

Mean sales tells me that there were less higher priced homes selling pulling the mean average up because the mean average only went up 17.1% while the median average shot up 32.1%

In either event lower inventory and strong demand are pushing up home prices.  Builders have reported strong sales this year and are filling in the gap as current demand is outpacing current supply.

As prices rise and inventory dwindles look for building construction to pickup again this year.  While building is taking the pressure off the resale market and should continue to do so moving forward, there is some risk in the construction industry.

Building a home today takes approximately 6-9 months from contract to completion.  Most builders require a down payment to begin construction.  There are two ways to finance new construction.  One is called an end loan and one is a construction/permanent loan.  Today the most common is the end loan whereby the builder uses their own money to construct the home and the buyer obtains one loan at closing.

The problem with an end loan today is there is no way to predict what interest rates will be 6-9 months from now. Rates have gone up over 1% in the past month or so and we expect them to rise again as the Fed curtails buying mortgage backed securities which has artificially kept rates low as the Fed has tried to stimulate the economy through lower interest rates.  The Fed has announced on two separate occasions this summer their intention to stop this program once there is recovery in the economy, and we are seeing some mixed signs of recovery.  Just when the Feds will kill this program has led the markets to speculate and bid up rates.  Rates are determined by the value of the security.  When the value is bid lower the return (or rate) goes up.  10 yr note buyers have been paying less than they were a few months ago due to volatility in the markets.  The Fed has fired the warning shots over the bow and the markets have responded.

We knew this day was coming, we just didn’t know when.  With uncertainty in the interest rate market, it’s impossible for buyers to know how much more their borrowing costs will be next year when a house is completed.  It can make the difference whether a buyer qualifies for the mortgage at all.  The buyer may qualify today and not next year when the house is complete, so the builder is taking a big risk.

A buyer doesn’t know how much they need to scale back today so they qualify next year.  Imagine being a buyer and being told you qualify for a 3,000 sq ft home, however because rates are going up you need to scale back to a 2,500 sq ft home, or maybe even less.  Perhaps you don’t like the 2,500 sq ft floor plan the builder is offering.  You don’t want to sacrifice your lot location, or the pool you’ve chosen.  What do you cut back on today, and how much?

This is the dilemma buyers are faced with today.  It is terribly expensive to lock in a rate longer than 45 days out, which most builder homes are going to be.  This is pushing many buyers back to resale homes, and we have a shortage of inventory.  It’s a double edged sword.  If you’re a buyer paying cash you have more options and aren’t as concerned with rates.

If you’re a buyer or seller needing to talk to a professional about your options, give us a call at 239-489-4042.  We’ll be happy to help you sort out your options.

Good luck and Happy Buying/Selling!!!!

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What Do Buyers and Sellers need to Know Now About Rising Interest RatesInterest rates have been rising, and we expect they could rise further. The primary reason is the Fed has indicated it will raise rates by scaling back or ending the quantitative easing as the economy improves. We’re not there yet, but writing from the Fed is on the wall and it’s spooked the bond markets. What Do Buyers and Sellers need to Know Now About Rising Interest Rates?

30 year mortgage rates have risen over 1% in the past 7 weeks. You’ve probably heard Realtors say “Now is a great time to buy with rates so low.” Here’s what you need to know about rising rates as a buyer or a seller.

Buyers, in the past month or two you just lost about 10% purchasing power. Your income won’t buy as much as it did back in May. Did you get a 10% raise this year? Most people didn’t, but the cost of buying a home is going up.

For most buyers the increase in rates means they’ll have to buy less home. Their income didn’t go up, so they either have to put more money down or borrow less on the same income. This isn’t a pleasing thought to many homebuyers as inventory levels have been low and prices have risen about 20% over last year. Buyers are getting squeezed at both ends, and rates may get worse.

If you’re living in an apartment or renting a home, now may be a time to get serious about your options. Prices usually stagnate this time of year. See last week’s article. However, SW Florida is adding two new companies with employees who will either be looking to rent or buy, so this will add to the pressure on the inventory. Who knows how this will affect prices. There are several variables in play for our local market.

Construction has been picking up to help with the shortage of resale homes but that takes time. Waiting to buy a home in today’s market has cost buyers dearly. They either have to pony up more money or accept that they’ll have to sacrifice the location they desire or features in the home. Of course, expectations are all relative. A buyer will afford less than a few months ago, but considerably more than back in 2005, so it’s all relative.

Sellers, don’t get too confident here either. Yes, prices have been rising, but they typically do during season. See last week’s article (June SW Florida Real Estate Market Update), or visit our Blog at

Buyers have just lost 10% purchasing power. Even though we have low inventory levels this means that fewer buyers now qualify for your home. They may still qualify, but for lesser homes. If rising rates knock enough buyers down the ladder it can affect the market. Our market has been doing well the past few years and prices have risen. We’ve had low rates the entire time and now that rates are rising, it will damper further increases. Until we get this economy humming like it should there is a cap to how fast prices will climb.

Nobody knows the future on the speed of prices. We do know 2 companies are coming, and many up North are buying for retirement or enjoyment. We also know rates are rising. How these positive and negative forces counter balance each other will be interesting to watch.

Our advice would be: Buyers, get your ducks in order and call us soon. Even if prices stay where they are for awhile, rising rates will hurt you.

Sellers, don’t get too cocky. Rising rates will hurt buyers, and if it hurts buyers, it could eventually hurt you as the seller. Plus, if you’re selling and buying another home, waiting to sell could cost you if you’ll be getting a mortgage on your next home.

If you’re thinking about your options, it would probably pay to sit down with us and discuss it. This is one of those times when waiting to see what happens may cost you. Or feel free to search the MLS at to see what’s out there.

Good luck and happy buying/selling!!!

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