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February 2013 Newsletter





Snowbirds Race To Snatch up Florida Housing

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Ever since the United States and Canada's dollar became close in value Canadians have been the dominant foreign buyers of Florida homes and condos. Asian interest in Florida started picking up last year, according to industry experts.


Some say it's not Asian buyers that Canadian (and U.S.) snowbirds face as their greatest competition for Florida housing deals, but investor groups making "bulk investments" - buying up dozens or hundreds of properties at a time.


"These investors are essentially wiping out the bottom of the market. It's forcing other buyers to move up the price ladder", says the chief economist for Florida Realtors.

 Tom: I have personally witnessed what happens to a real estate market when Asian buyers become heavily interested. In the 70's and 80's I was a Realtor in Los Angeles and the Japanese bought so much real estate (almost exclusively via cash) that they spurred the Southern California market to skyrocket, and it has remained very pricey ever since. Hawaii is another example of Asian buyers boosting prices to extremely high levels.

Tom's 2013 Predictions

 TOM: As we projected last month January's median sales price dropped from December's five year high mark of $190,000, despite three home sales at over a million dollars. Sue and I were fortunate to handle the highest priced sale in the city in January at $1.5 Million.

 January's increase over January 2012 makes 29 straight months of same month year-over-year increases. Last month I predicted that 11 out of 12 months this year would show year-over-year median price increases. I WAS WRONG. I now confidently project that all 12 months this year will show an increase over last year, bringing us to 40 straight months of year-over-year improvement.

Client Question of the Month

question.jpgClient: "We are relocating to Cape Coral and want a gulf-access home. Is the southwest or the southeast section of the city better"?

Tom: A frequently asked question, and one that greatly depends on a buyer's housing and boating needs and priorities.

One advantage of the southeast quadrant is that it is closer to Fort Myers, the beaches, airport, etc, both by car and by boat. This quadrant is the top choice of sailboat owners because it has the most sailboat access canals. The downside is that because it was the first area built on in the city it has some older/smaller homes alongside beautiful luxury waterfront homes.

The Southwest section is the most desired section for those looking for newer gulf access neighborhoods. The SW was mostly developed in the last ten years, thus almost no smaller, two bedroom, one car garage homes, which are now considered obsolete. We strongly dissuade clients from buying a two bedroom, one car garage home, as it will be difficult to resell for much more than lot value. 
SW Cape has wider canals on average than the SE quadrant. As sailboat access (also called direct access) is more expensive than canals where a boater would have a bridge to go under, many motorboat owners choose to save some money on the home and taxes, be in newer neighborhoods and have a wider canal. The downside to some sections of the SW is that a boater must pass through a lock to get to open water, which can sometimes slow boating time in high season.
The Northeast corner of the Cape has no gulf-access canals, only freshwater canals. There are gulf-access areas in the NW Cape, but it does not yet have public water and sewer, thus is less in demand, but priced lower than the southern sections of the city. There are plans in place for future public utilities in the northwest. 


Tom's Fun Facts Of The Month


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*30% of U.S. Homeowners are mortgage free. (Many of our clients are in this group.)

* U.S. home sales rose in November and December 2012 by the largest percentage in six and a half years.

* The unemployment rate for Cape Coral/Fort Myers is at the lowest it's been in five years at 8%. We expect our area to be below the national average by April (for the first time in several years). Less than two years ago our unemployment rate was 3.5% higher than the U.S. average.


* Builders currently handle 7% of home sales. Historically the rate is 15 - 20 %. We expect new home construction to be at higher levels than 7% locally and nationally for the next several years.



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*Florida Rolls Out Pro-Business Campaign: The state of Florida unveiled a first-ever brand to help sell the state to businesses considering a new home. The state's tagline: "Florida. The Perfect Climate for Business."



"Many people work year round to be able to visit the state, so why not enjoy it the entire year?" Governor Rick Scott and Gray Swoope, Secretary of Commerce, feel that Florida's business climate makes it an equally appealing place to locate, start or expand a business. No state income taxes in Florida greatly helps businesses and employees alike.


Timing the Real Estate Market


March 2013

Topics: Short Sales vs Foreclosures - Major CC Gov't Happenings - Future Appreciation in SWFL

                              January  2013

Topics: Local Home Prices Up 32% - Is It Too Late to Enter the Cape Coral / Ft. Myers Market?

December 2012

Topics: Cape Coral Prices Highest in 5 Years - Million Dollar Homes Selling Again



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