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Posts from the ‘Selling Real Estate’ Category

Southwest FL Real Estate Market Getting Better – Update Aug 2012

Lee County Real Estate Market Improves Again August 2012Faster Turnaround, Inventory Reduces, Sales Tick Upward

“The fact that home prices are now going up in that market (Lee County) makes people feel more encouraged about buying. They don’t want to get into a market that’s going down.”

“Cochran, a retiree from Wisconsin who’d lived in the house 14 years, sold her Gateway (Fort Myers) home in a week for $330,000 — $25,000 more than the appraised value.”

Read the full article here.

CNN Money: Home Buying Won’t Get Much Cheaper

CNN Reports Monday 05/07/12:   “With home prices down 34% nationally since 2006 and mortgage rates at historic lows, homes have never been more affordable — but it won’t stay this way for much longer. One major factor that will drive the trend is the cooling of the foreclosure crisis. Buying a home may never get any cheaper than this. Several housing experts are predicting that this year will be the last chance for bargain hunters to cash in on the best deals of the weak housing market.”

Related Post: Cape Coral – Fort Myers Leads the Nation in Home Sales with 14% Rise in Prices

Read the full CNN Article Here.

Browse current Southwest Florida Real Estate Listings here.

Cape Coral – Fort Myers Homes Rise 14%

Cape Coral Real Estate and Fort Myers Real Estate Top the Nation in Gains

As Cape Coral – Fort Myers goes, so goes the real estate market? Southwest Florida, in particular the twin cities of Cape Coral and Fort Myers home markets, was the first to boom in the early 2000’s, the first to bust in the mid 2000’s and now in the twenty-teens the first to climb back into a recovering, healthy market. We’ve said it a thousand times and will say it again: all real estate is local. What is happening in Las Vegas, Seattle, or Destin is far different from the price points, inventory, and selling trends here in Southwest Florida.

Prices are still ridiculously cheap compared to the boom times the first part of this century, but there are no more declines and there are far fewer distressed properties on the market. Inventory is dramatically reduced, home builders are buying up land and building again, and the commercial market in Cape Coral is seeing gains as well. All of this is leading to incremental price increases indicative of a healthy, growing market (but not booming, thankfully) that is win-win for both buyer and seller.

This graph that we posted in 2006 has born true: at the time, we could not predict when the rational growth would emerge, but now it’s crystal clear that we are in that rational growth phase.

Here are the best, and worst, performing cities as reported by the AP and Trulia. Six out of the top ten are in Florida and none of the bottom ten are in Florida:

  1. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla.: 14.8%
  2. Miami: 14.1%
  3. Phoenix: 13.2%
  4. Pittsburgh: 9.2%
  5. Little Rock, Ark.: 6.7%
  6. Orlando: 6.3%
  7. North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota, Fla.: 6.2%
  8. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla.: 6.1%
  9. West Palm Beach, Fla.: 5.8%
  10. Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich.: 5.6%

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

  1. Tacoma, Wash.: -11.9%
  2. Seattle: -9.1%
  3. Sacramento, Calif.: -8.3%
  4. Las Vegas: -7.7%
  5. Wilmington, Del.: -7.7%
  6. Columbia, S.C.: -7.3%
  7. Cleveland: -6.9%
  8. Fresno, Calif.: -6.8%
  9. Milwaukee: -6.7%
  10. Allentown, Pa.: -6.7%

Florida Officials Forecast Property Value Increases

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Aug. 4, 2011 – In a sign that Florida’s housing market may be on the road to recovery, the state’s top economist expects an increase in school property tax rolls next year of 1.3 percent.

Though that is actually a slight decrease from the original forecast of 2 percent, it is one of the most promising signs yet that Florida’s ailing and hard-hit housing market is on the mend after four years of plunging values.

Florida’s housing market was one of the hardest hit in the nation, the victim of an overwrought housing bubble, loose mortgage standards and a tourism-based economy.

The state’s housing woes have become fodder for national newspaper and magazine articles spotlighting the housing glut, examining over-developed South Florida subdivisions with plummeting home values.

But now Realtors, economists and property appraisers say they see signs of a housing market recovery.

“We turned the corner,” said state economist Amy Baker, though she cautioned the economic recovery is still fragile. Her forecast was part of a discussion Wednesday of adjusting estimated property tax revenue this year.

via State forecasts property value increases.

Pent Up Demand – Metrostudy Predicts Housing Shortage

Metrostudy: Housing shortage on the horizon?

WASHINGTON – April 1, 2011 – Mike Castleman, founder and CEO of Metrostudy, which tracks real-time data of the country’s inventory of new homes, says a housing shortage is looming that will soon create a huge surge in demand for new homes. As such, now is the time to buy, he says.

In the 41 cities Metrostudy covers, 78,000 houses are either vacant and for sale, or under construction – that is less than a quarter of the new homes that fell in that category during the housing boom in 2006 and way below the level of a decade ago.

“If we had anything like normal levels of buying, those houses would sell in 2½ months,” says Castleman. “We’d see an incredible shortage. And that’s where we’re heading.”

The historic drop in new construction mixed with the decline in housing prices is laying the foundation for a dramatic recovery in residential real estate, Castleman told CNN. Castleman expects homeowners soon will start returning, which will drive up prices in many markets later this year.

While demand remains low for new construction, he expects that to change. He foresees the recovery following a similar path as previous ones: A severe housing shortage will drive a big increase in demand.

“We’ll get a big surge in demand and the drywall companies will take a long time to ramp up, and it will take years to get new lots approved,” he predicts. “Buyers will show up looking for a house in a subdivision, and all the houses will be sold. The builders will tell them it will take six months to deliver a house.” But they’ll want the house so bad that they’ll “bid the prices up.”

Source: “Real estate: It’s time to buy again,” CNN (March 28, 2011)

© Copyright 2011 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Market Watch – Cape Coral Home Sales Strong – April 2011

As we have experienced first hand, Cape Coral Homes are Selling. This is especially true of high-demand properties, most particularly waterfront homes and condos. Where inventory is low and where there is high-demand (such as Cape Harbour and Southwest Cape Coral Gulf Access homes), the tides are turning. Sellers that have priced to the market can get their asking price.

Southwest FL May News – Spotlight on Sanibel and Captiva

Happy Spring!

So far 2010 has been a bustling year with continued record setting sales volume in Southwest Florida. Buyers are from all over the globe as always however we were discussing at dinner the other night that there is an interesting new crop of Californians and people from other West Coast states migrating here both on a permanent and part-time basis.

Canadian buyers continue to take advantage of the exchange rate and it’s predicted that the Euro’s shrinkage will bring more European buyers this spring and summer.

Last month we featured Fort Myers Beach in our newsletter and in this 35th issue of the newsletter, we give the same treatment to the islands of Sanibel and Captiva – Southwest Florida treasures both.

Getting to Know Sanibel-Captiva

Sanibel and Captiva Islands are a sharp contrast to beach destinations in other areas of Florida most noticeably in that the islands are un-crowded and there are no high-rises. Island residents and visitors never worry about missing a sunset with the western-facing beaches and little to obstruct the Gulf of Mexico view from dawn to dusk.

There are 15 miles of beaches on the islands and 7 public beaches: 5 public beaches on Sanibel and 2 on Captiva. Sanibel is about 12 miles long and three miles across at its widest point. Captiva is about four miles long and ½ mile wide.

A mixture of low-rise condos, resorts, motels, single family homes and restaurants line the beach.

If you’ve ever been to Sanibel Island, you’ve certainly heard the term “Sanibel Stoop” which describes the bent-over, treasure-hunting folks combing through the island’s bounty of seashells. The key reason Sanibel has this abundance of shells – along with white, sugar sand beaches – is it is one of the unique barrier islands in the world with an east-west orientation (most islands are north-south). Tip: the best shelling is at low tide, especially at low spring tides at full and new moons.

View Sanibel-Captiva Homes For Sale

View Sanibel-Captiva Condos For Sale

The Sanibel-Captiva slogan “Naturally, you’ll love it here” is, naturally, a reliable portrayal of the island culture and environment, as the island is widely known for its nature conservancy, walking trails, bird-watching and unspoiled beaches. J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is the most popular place on the island for watching tall wading birds such as blue herons, egrets, and rosette spoonbills. (The photo gallery on the Ding Darling Refuge web site has a link to photos of their “dear departed crocodile.” It’s not often you hear a crocodile described as “dear” — quirky evidence how seriously the islanders take their wildlife.)

Sanibel Property Values

Architectural styles range from the ultra-modern to Mediterranian to “old Florida style” stilt cottages. Along the Gulf of Mexico side of the island directly on the beach, single family homes range from $950,000 to $18M plus. Condominiums directly on the beach range from $350,000 for a studio to $3.6M for a 3500 sq ft upper-floor condo with expansive views of the Gulf.

And there are many options in the middle tier priced at $400,000 to $750,000 for a 2 bedroom, 2 bath property with scenic views of vegetation, water, or golf courses. Many homes on the bay side of the island have private boat docks and waterfront views (saltwater canals and/or Pine Island sound).

Slow Paced But Never Boring

San-Cappers enjoy a slow-paced world with low speed limits and 0 traffic lights. Walking the beach, swimming, sunbathing, and shelling are obvious pastimes on Sanibel Island. But there is much much more. Take advantage of the full array of boating sports: fishing charters, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing, dolphin-watching or sunset cruises. Cyclists enjoy 22 miles of bike paths that wind through friendly neighborhoods, shopping districts, beneath shady tree canopies, and along quiet waterways. Hit the shopping district’s quaint, fashionable shops (including well-known Chicos, which got its start on Sanibel Island). Explore art galleries, museums, and parks, or treat yourself to a day at the spa.

View Sanibel Homes for Sale here.

UF: Florida Real Estate Market Has Market Hit Bottom

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – April 29, 2010 – Florida real estate markets show the first tentative signs of recovering from the most painful recession in the state’s history, according to the latest University of Florida (UF) report.

“Results of our first quarter survey indicate that the real estate market in Florida has hit bottom and is in the process of stabilizing across most property types,” says Timothy Becker, director of UF’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies.

In another study, Most buyers (65%) say they’ll still buy a home once the tax credit is gone; 46% expect local home prices to go up. Among consumers actually shopping for homes, 65 percent believe that the end of the tax credits will have little or no effect on their interest in purchasing a home.

While consumers remain unsure about the direction of the housing market, the survey reveals that they are optimistic, and 46 percent expect real estate prices in their area to increase over the next year. Just 12 percent expect price declines. Over the next five years, 79 percent expect real estate prices to increase, with 20 percent expecting prices to increase substantially.

Is the Market Stabilizing?

From the Florida Realtors Association, April 22, 2010:

Existing home sales increased 24 percent last month and the median price was 4.3 percent higher than February’s statewide existing-home median price.

Florida Realtors also reported a 63 percent increase in statewide sales of existing condos in March compared to the previous year’s sales figure. The median price was 5.1 percent higher than February’s statewide existing-condo median price.

Is the Market Stabilizing?

From the News-Press, September 20 2009

Cape Coral leads nation in housing recovery

With record-breaking home sales every month since March, the word is out that now is the time to buy and Cape Coral is the place to buy.

No where in the world will you find a tropical waterfront paradise like Cape Coral. Our waterfront living hasn’t been this affordable since the late 1990s.IMG_1439

The combination of water, sunshine and value has not gone unnoticed.

Every month since March, Cape Coral has been shattering home sale records. By July of this year, Cape Coral Realtors sold more homes than in all of 2008 – which in itself was a banner home sale year!

This momentum has been fueled by incredible home values (homes priced below replacement cost), record low mortgage interest rates and government incentives for first time home buyers. From July of 2008 to July of 2009, Cape Coral saw an 87 percent increase in single-family home sales.

Strong home sales are exactly what Cape Coral needs. Fortunately, these strong sales are outpacing the amount of new inventory brought on to the market.

With strong sales and decreasing levels of home inventory soon we will enjoy rising property values. In some instances, property values are already increasing due to extremely low levels of inventory in certain price points.

In January 2007 Cape Coral had 6,073 single-family homes on the market. Today, we have roughly 2,000 homes on the market -a drastic reduction in inventory.

For more than 12 months, Cape Coral has led the state of Florida in home sales. Reduced inventory levels plus strong demand are a clear sign that Cape Coral is leading the state and nation in recovery of its housing market. Housing is a critical component of our economy and this is an answered prayer for Cape Coral.

Check out Cape Coral from the water in this virtual Canal Cruise.

Search all Cape Coral MLS listings.

Southwest Florida Real Estate Market – May 2009

June 10 2009 Press Release from the Cape Coral-Fort Myers assocation of Realtors:

May homes sales were up over 101% year to year with 1,451 existing single-family homes sold, compared to 719 in May ’08. Pending sales were 38.5% above the prior year, with 1,980 single-family homes pending versus 1,429 a year ago.

The supply of single-family homes stayed the same versus the prior month at 3.8 months, which is significantly lower than May ’07, when the inventory supply was 8.1 months. This reduction of inventory is evident by the drop in the number of single family homes listed in the MLS. At the end of May, there were 7,477 active listings of existing single-family residential properties compared to 11,634 a year ago (a decline of 35.7%) and the active listings were down 13.7% versus the prior month.

Waiting for the Bottom?

UPDATE May 23, 2008. Lee County Sees 57% increase in existing condo sales and 41% increase in existing home sales. View the Post.

UPDATE May 6, 2008:

Read the Wall Street Journal’s View of the national market “Housing Crisis Over” from May 6, 2008 Editorial Pages.

The dire headlines coming fast and furious in the financial and popular press suggest that the housing crisis is intensifying. Yet it is very likely that April 2008 will mark the bottom of the U.S. housing market. Yes, the housing market is bottoming right now.

How can this be? For starters, a bottom does not mean that prices are about to return to the heady days of 2005. That probably won’t happen for another 15 years. It just means that the trend is no longer getting worse, which is the critical factor.

Most people forget that the current housing bust is nearly three years old. Home sales peaked in July 2005. New home sales are down a staggering 63% from peak levels of 1.4 million. Housing starts have fallen more than 50% and, adjusted for population growth, are back to the trough levels of 1982.” [Read more…]

Fort Myers, FL April 8, 2008

The REALTOR® Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach, Inc. reports that a total of 437 existing single family houses were sold in March 2008. The percent of sold to active listings has nearly doubled in the past 12 weeks.
In addition, 1096 single family homes are pending, reflecting a 45.3% upswing since the end of 2007.
While there has been more activity in the market, the median sales price was $205,000, up $15,000 from last month but 18% off what it was a year ago at $250,000.
“We’re cautious and optimistic about the recent activity in the market as the current absorption rate (supply in months) for residential properties is less than half of what it was at the end of December – 11 months vs. 23 months, and the lowest it’s been in over a year”, said President Ron Carpenter. “This means that buyers are realistic that good values and good properties are on the market and are buying while the interest rates are low. “

And we are fairly confident April numbers will be even stronger. The small indicators that don’t get reported are adding up: home inspectors are swamped, title agency offices are busy and open late on Friday nights…

Florida economist predicts housing ready to recover

ORLANDO, Fla. – May 31, 2007 – A top Florida economist has declared the housing slump a done deal. “It will take another 18 months or so before closing volumes reach more normal levels, but the worst is behind us,” says Hank Fishkind.

Fishkind says the turn-around is important to everyone, attributing housing troubles to the recent 75 percent drop in GDP (gross domestic product). The current 1.3 percent rate is down from the historic 4 percent pace, but Fishkind says that dropoff would go away completely when housing simply returns to normal levels.

“With (the number of home) starts below (the number of) closings, the inventory of new but unsold homes is slowly being absorbed,” says Fishkind. “Sales of existing homes are the best leading indicator for national housing markets. April sales were off sharply, falling below 6 million at an annual rate. At these levels it will take 8.4 months to sell all the homes that are for sale. However, prices remain stable. And the sales levels, while down this month, were up sharply earlier in the year.

“What all of this means, is that we have seen the worst for housing markets,” Fishkind says.

Related Posts: Are We There Yet?, Looking for Great Lot Prices?

Sellers: What to Look For in a CMA

stats_sample.JPGWhen looking for the right agent to sell your property, one very important aspect of gauging his or her market knowledge and expertise can be found in how the agent approaches the Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) for your property.

Simply put, the CMA is intended to be an apples to apples comparison. CMAs prepared for sellers typically provide details on three or more nearby, similar properties. The CMA data is crucial, in fact the number one component, for determining the market value of your property.

Here are things to look for in the properties that the agent chooses as the comparables for your property. And don’t be shy about asking the agent for details on each. A top-notch seller’s agent will have conducted in-depth research in selecting the comparables to present in the CMA.

First some basic CMA terminology (click here for basic CMA and Listing terminology).

  • Subject Property: The property you are evaluating, either as the seller or the buyer.
  • Comparable Property: The properties that are being used as the best-fit comparisons to the subject property.
  • Property Status: If the property is still on the market, has a contract, or is sold.

Basic Features Similar or Identical

  • When the property was built should be about the same time as yours (built between 1999 and 2003 for example) 
  • Overall square footage should be the same or very close to your property; be sure to check the under air square footage and total square footage
  • The construction type should match yours (for example, concrete block with stucco)
  • The roofing is similar in type and age (concrete tile about 5 years old, for example)
  • Space utilization overall should similar to yours: the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garage spaces, floor plan design (split bedroom, great room), number of stories, unit floor (condos), a family room (or not), formal dining (or not), lanai/patio…
  • For waterfront properties, it’s also important to assure features such as seawall, boat dock, and boat lift are similar in quality, age, and size.

Overall Condition of the Property

Ask about the how well maintained the comparable properties are. If yours is meticulously maintained, a comparable that “needs TLC’ or that has roof damage is not a valid comparison.

Also important are any upgrades your property, or the comparables, have undergone. If your kitchen is the original and is 15 years old, but a comparable property has an upgraded kitchen with granite countertips and new appliances, an adjustment needs to be made or a different comparable used.

Location, Lot, and View

  • Lot size and type: in SouthWest Florida, the majority of lots are a quarter of an acre (.250). Corner lots, oversize lots, “triple lots,” and cul-de-sac lots typically command higher prices.
  • The comparable properties are in your geographic area, typically within a mile radius or so.
  • View and type of view are similar (waterfront, golf course, wooded area, Gulf of Mexico, bay, basin, lake, pond, parking lot, obstructions, etc.).
  • If yours is waterfront, pay close attention to the waterfront types of the comparables. Because there are so much variety in the waterfront properties in SouthWest Florida, especially in the canal systems, this is key. For example, a gulf access home that is an hour from the Gulf, even if similar in construction and other factors, is not going to command as much as a gulf access home that is 20 minutes from the Gulf. Likewise, a freshwater lot with a lake view is more prized than one on a standard freshwater canal. Intersecting canal views are valued higher, as are properties on wider canals (120-200′). Likewise, check out the details on comparables for the Caloosahatchee River views and Gulf of Mexico beach front views (frontage, direction, obstructions).

Adjustments Are Sometimes Necessary

In some cases, it may not be possible to find nearby properties that carry all of the same features. For example, if the nearby properties are identical in square footage, layout, lot size, age and condition…. but yours has a swimming pool and the others do not, an adjustment can be made to the comparable properties. The adjustment is added (or subtracted) from the comparable. So if the comparable does not have a pool, and yours is brand new, the agent would adjust the comparable value by adding the value of the pool, say $40,000, to bring the comparable up to par with your property (called the subject property).

Sale Status and Dates

The comparable properties should be ones that have recently sold, within the last six months or ideally the last three months. If sold data is not avaiable (no similar properties have sold in the neighborhood), then next best is those that have recently gone pending.

Also pay close attention to the DOM, the number of Days On Market. This is calculated from the original list date to the date of closing (when title transfers to the new owner). This is an important factor: if the property sold quickly, you know it was priced right. If the property was on the market for 180 days or more (perhaps with several price decreases along the way), the pricing strategy that seller used is circumspect and provides evidence it was priced too high. (Other factors may have delayed the sale, but more often than not, DOM is an indicator of price point.)

Related Posts: Terminology, CMA Analysis, Listing Questions, E-savvy Agents

Comparable Market Analysis – What to Look For

It is not new news that both buyers and sellers need to pay close attention to the Comparable Market Analysis report.

cma-example.jpg

As a buyer, your agent should provide this report to aid the discussion on offer price and terms. As the seller, your agent should provide this report to you to help determine listing price. Again, nothing earth shattering here… most property owners know the role of CMA reports in setting, or getting, the right price.

However, there is sometimes too much reliance on the Asking Price (a.k.a. List Price) on the CMA report. The asking price is just that—what the seller hopes to get for the property. The Asking Price may be the start of the negotiations, with both the buyer and seller expecting to counter-offer each other on price and terms, to arrive at an contract that both parties are satisfied with. Also note the difference between Original List Price (the first price at which the property was offered) and the List Price (the current asking price, after the Original List Price has been either increased or reduced).

With respect to determining a price, whether you are buying or selling, be sure to discuss with your Realtor the “in-progress” or completed transactions on the CMA report: 

  • Active Contingent. A contract has been accepted by the seller, but there are buyer contingencies, usually financing.
  • Pending. Contingencies have been removed (buyer has performed) and the transaction is expected to close soon.
  • Sold: The transaction has closed.

Your agent should put forward an analysis of the Pending and Sold categories, providng factual data that tells you what price buyers are willing to pay for similar properties.

Ask not what similar properties are listed for, but what they are selling for.

Choose An E-Savvy Agent to Sell Your Property

search-engine-logos_sm.gifResearch shows 81% of all buyers start their search on the Internet.

You want to be sure your property is there for those buyers. Today’s real estate agents must embrace the World Wide Web to reach target buyers locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. And, today’s Realtors® must have email finesse, not only for marketing the property but also for day-to-day correspondence and follow-through with buyers and sellers.

The SageRealtor team’s online marketing strategy spans North America and Europe. We are found in major search engines, real estate web sites, and regional newspapers across the country.

In addition we send 50,000 email newsletters each month to Realtors, investors, and end-user buyers. Our email newsletters are not the generic “canned” newsletters that are so common today. SageRealtor News updates provide market trends and perspectives that are relevant and current… information our readership values as unique and insightful. And of course, our newsletters get the word out on our sellers’ properties.

These are just some examples of what SageRealtor does to leverage the Internet to market our clients’ properties. Be sure to ask any agents you interview about their marketing strategies and their presence on the web.

Top Questions to Ask Before Listing Your Property

for_sale_sign.jpgYour property will not sell if few people know it’s available for purchase. That’s why marketing and advertising is so important. While running ads in the local newspaper can be helpful, the agent must also have a plan for pro-actively marketing the property to prospective buyers. Putting a sign on the front yard and running a few ads isn’t enough in today’s market.

Here are some questions to ask before choosing an agent to list your property:

  • Which web sites will profile my property?
  • Do you have a personal (agent/team/broker) web site?
  • How much traffic does your web site receive?
  • How will other Realtors® know the property is for sale?
  • What will you do to advertise my property?
  • Which MLS systems will list my property?
  • How do you determine the recommended listing price?
  • How do you keep me informed on activity, interest, and showings?
  • What is your action plan if we don’t have inquiries or showings right away?
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