December 2015 SWFL/Cape Coral Real Estate Highlights
* Average Cape Home Price Passes $250,000 - first time in seven years
* Cape Home Inventory Drops to 4 Months - Ft Myers to 5 months
* Home Sale Prices in Lee County: 96% of List Price - Cape: 97% of List Price
* New Home Permits Increase by 58% in Cape Coral - Up 21% in Ft Myers
Thanks For Another Great Year
We are very grateful to all of our wonderful clients for helping us have another successful year, and for keeping us as the #1 Realtor on Angies List in all of SWFL. Your loyalty, trust and referrals are truly appreciated. Please know that we are never too busy to help your family/friends with their real estate needs.
Florida Tops List of Most Desirable States
For the first time since 2001, the Harris Poll found that Florida is back on top as American's most desired state to live (other than people's home state). Overall, sunshine and waterfront were consistent themes among the most popular states, with California and Hawaii rounding out the top three. California and Florida had 5 of the top 10 desired cities. New York, Detroit and Los Angeles were the three cities that people least wanted to live in. Sue: we couldn't agree more about Florida being the best state in the country to live in.
3 More National Accolades for Cape Coral
* Bicycle Friendly Community:
120 miles of bicycle lanes on 7 bike routes earned the Cape the award by the League of American Bicyclists. Only 351 communities in the nation are recognized with the award.
* Top 10 "Boomtown" for 2015: SmartAsset
designated Cape Coral as the 9th top "Boomtown
" city in the U.S. SmartAsset looked at several metrics reflective of growth and prosperity for the 575 largest U.S. cities. Local unemployment rate, GDP growth rate and rate of housing development were among the criteria considered.
* Most Vibrant Job Market:
In their latest Employment Outlook Survey, ManpowerGroup states that the Cape Coral Metropolitan Area has the most vibrant job market in the entire U.S. heading into 2016. This is the second straight year that the Cape Coral has garnered this jobs honor.
Florida Population Eclipses 20 Million
In July, Florida population passed the 20 million mark, and is adding more than 1,000 residents a day. A year ago the Sunshine State passed New York as the third most popular state, behind only California and Texas. Florida's population grew by 365,527 people (1.84%) in the past year, over twice the national average of .79% increase. Tom: seasonal property owners are not included in population statistics, or the number of people coming to Florida would be even higher.
RE/MAX Opens Seasonal Property Management Division
Our company now has a great new seasonal property management team, which we had a role in selecting. Our management division gives me great optimism, as I've been most dissatisfied with local seasonal management companies. I've been quite unhappy with the below-market rents my clients have been receiving during season, especially considering the severe shortage of good seasonal rental homes. I've also been dissatisfied with the exterior upkeep of my client's rental homes. Both of these issues I expect to be heavily improved upon with our new management program. Contact us for more information.
Rare Tornado Lands in Cape Coral
For the first time since 1953, a tornado landed in Cape Coral. The tornado hit the area along Beach Pkwy in the SW quadrant, and did damage to some 200 homes. It is estimated that $6 Million in damages occurred. Fortunately there were no lives lost and only minor injuries. Let's hope it's at least another 63 years before the city experiences another tornado, as a hurricane every decade or two is enough to deal with.
Facts and Stats for 2015
LCEC Reduces Electric Rates Again: Starting on Jan. 1, LCEC provided customers with the fourth rate reduction in four years. LCEC rates are below the national average, and among the lowest in Florida. SWFL customers are paying less for electricity now than they were in 2008.
Cape Has Most New Home Permits Since 2007: Last year there were 937 single-family permits issued in Cape Coral - the highest number since 2007, and 58% more than in 2014. Tom: based on Census Bureau projections, we need at least 3,000 new-home permits per year in C.C. for the next decade in order to keep pace with new residents. We're less than a third of the way there, which bodes well for future land prices, and will hopefully ease the tight inventory.
U.S. Homeowner's Equity Almost Doubles in 4 Years: According to Moody's Analytics, home equity per owner averaged $156,700 at mid-year of 2015, up from $81,000 four years earlier. Tom: this increased equity is allowing more out-of-state homeowners to sell their homes and purchase homes in SWFL.
FSBO's Net 10% Lower on Sales Price: In 2015 the average U.S. home sold by a Realtor was $249,000. FSBO (For Sale by Owner) average sales price was $210,000, 16% less. Thus, after allowing for a 6% commission savings, FSBO's netted 10% less than they would have by selling via a Realtor. For an owner to be saddled with all the aggravation of selling their home AND to net a 10% lower selling price does not compute.
I'm expecting property prices to increase by 10% or more overall, with lot prices to rise even higher.
INVENTORY: Until such time as new construction catches up to housing demand, inventory will remain troublingly low. I expect inventory to average at or below 4 months in SWFL for 2016, continuing the "seller's market" trend.
NEW HOMES: Although Cape Coral had over 900 new homes built in 2015, that figure is still far below the 3,000 homes needed to accommodate the demand (per the U.S. Census Bureau). A shortage of workmen is part of the reason that more spec homes have not been built by builders and investors.
RENTAL HOMES & RATES: Due to the shortage of existing and new home inventory, I expect both annual and seasonal rental homes to continue to be in high demand. Last year Cape Coral had the highest rental rate increase in the nation. Expect very low vacancy rates for 2016 and continued rental price increases.
Anyone's guess - but mine is we'll see 30 year mortgage rates between 4.5% and 5% by the end of the year. The good news is that approximately half of our home sales in SWFL are via all-cash buyers, so the rate increase will not dampen our improving market. Economists project that until rates rise above 6% (the historic average for 30 year mortgages) it will not affect the real estate recovery.
Tom: A few months ago I predicted that 2016 would be one of the strongest real estate years in decades in SWFL. I stand by that prediction and will report in a year if my analysis was correct or wrong.
24/7 Wall Street Ranks Cape Coral in Top 50 Cities to Live - SW Florida Home Price Growth Highest in Nation - Cape Ranks High Among Florida Cities for Families & Jobs
Strong Sellers Market - Annual Rents Rise 23% - Economists Predict Strong Market Through 2017
Cape Coral's R.E. Rebound 2nd Strongest In Nation - SW Florida Now a 12 Month R.E. Season - Chiquita Boat Lock Impact
Shortage of SWFL Seasonal Rentals Gets More Severe - Fla. "Save Our Homes" Tax Break Kicks In Again - Cape Coral 4th Best Large City for Retirees
City Council Votes to Eliminate Chiquita Boat Lock - U.S. Home Prices Hit Historic Highs - High Cost of Waiting to Buy
Best/Worst U.S. Cities for Retirement - Cape Coral Inventory Falls to 2.6 Months - Homebuyer's Most Important Concerns When Looking For a Home
New Homes A Good Option - Two SWFL Beaches in Dr. Beach Top Ten - Lee County Housing Market Continues To Climb
SW Florida Peak R.E. Season Extended - $400k Becoming the New $300k for Cape Coral Gulf Access Homes - Freshwater Homes an Affordable Waterfront Alternative
Northern Winter Puts Further Strain on SWFL Seasonal Home Rentals - Monthly Payments on a $500,000 SWFL Home Today...and in One Year - Million Dollar Homes Selling Again in SW Florida