After three exceedingly strong years of price escalation (2011 - 2013), last year saw a more temperate increase in SWFL real estate prices, except for Bonita & Naples. All cities in Lee & Collier Counties experienced another year of appreciation in 2014. Across the board, waterfront home prices rose at a greater rate than off-water homes. Here are 2013 - 2014 gulf-access home prices for the cities we serve:
CAPE CORAL Gulf-Access Homes
2013 Sales: 1011
Average Price: $373,977
BONITA SPRINGS Gulf Access Homes
2013 Sales: 99
Average Price: $757,007
FORT MYERS & FORT MYERS BEACH Gulf Access Homes
2013 Sales: 271
Average Price: $485,869
PINE ISLAND Gulf Access Homes
2013 Sales: 92
Average Price: $340,912
NAPLES Gulf Access Homes
2013 Sales: 198
Average Price: $1,961,952
Max Sale Price: $12,750,000
Note: Naples and Bonita gulf-access homes saw huge price increases of 35% and 26.5% respectively in 2014. Cape Coral gulf-access homes rose by a more moderate 7.5%, and Pine Island and Fort Myers/Ft Myers Beach saw minimal appreciation in 2014. When we advise out-of-state clients that Bonita waterfront prices are two and half times higher than Cape Coral, and Naples homes at least three times higher, our comparison is sometimes met with skepticism. The home prices for 2014 bear out our contention, and in fact we will have to now use a higher multiplier for opulent Naples.
We love Naples, Bonita, Sanibel, and all the higher priced waterfront communities, but for clients looking to stay in the $350,000 - $750,000 range, no city offers more gulf-access affordability & options than Cape Coral.
CAPE CORAL LOT PRICE COMPARISONS: 2013 - 2014
2013 Sales: 455
Average Price: $129,166
2013 Sales: 386
Average Price: $19,377
2013 Sales: 532
Average Price: $15,022
Tom: I expect land prices in all of SWFL to continue increasing due to pent-up housing demand. We also expect the next few years will see land price increases outpacing home percentages. See the article below about "New Construction Permits Up 28%" as to why I project continuing lot price appreciation.
Sue and I would like to express our deep gratitude for helping us have another successful year. Thanks to your patronage and referrals I was once again RE/MAX Realty Team's Top Producing Agent for 2014, also achieving the prestigious Platinum Award. Additionally, you have placed me (with BIG help from Sue) as the #1 Realtor on Angie's List in all of SWFL. We will continue working hard to justify your trust and referrals.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has adopted a 10-year, $750 million plan to help rid Lake Okeechobee of excess nutrients. Okeechobee has been plagued with nutrients for decades, since developers connected the lake to the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie rivers as a way to lower the water table. The excess nutrients, including farming and urban operations, fertilizer, and human and animal waste, has adversely affected Southwest Florida's waterways and fishing/wildlife. Sue: the water restoration plan is fabulous news for our waterways, tourism, wildlife, and overall quality of life.
* Very Low Housing Inventory in SWFL & under 70 Days On Market for Homes
* Low Interest Rates & Easing of Loan Qualifying Requirements
* More Buyers "Out of the Foreclosure/Short Sale Penalty Box"
* Pent-Up Demand Created by Multi-Generational Living
* Unemployment Rate in Lee & Collier Counties down to 5.5% (end of November)
* U.S. Home Builder Confidence at Nine Year High
* Mortgage Delinquency Rate to Fall to Pre-Recession Levels in 2015: Trans Union
* Census Bureau Predicts C.C. Population to Grow Annually by over 5,000
* Return of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac 3% Down Payment Loans
* Only 4% Differential in Listing Price vs Sale Price
Manpower Employment Outlook Survey reports that Cape Coral is expected to have the strongest job prospects in the country in 2015, with 32% of employers in the city projecting more hiring. Cape Coral was also recently recognized as a top city for startup businesses. Tourism, hospitality, and real estate are boosting the job market.
Florida Passes NY in Population: Florida added almost 300,000 new residents in the past year, or a little more than 800 per day. Florida now ranks as the third most populous state. The U.S Census Bureau reports that Florida has at least 19.9 million residents, compared to New York's 19.7 million residents. New York's populations grew by only 51,000 in the past year. Ex-New Yorkers represented about 1 in 10 new Florida residents. Migrants from other countries make up about a quarter of Florida's new residents.
3% Down Payment Loans Return: Mortgage giants Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac will soon be lowering their minimum down payment requirement from 5% to 3% for low-income and first-time buyers. This "trickle up" effect will improve sales in all price ranges.
$100,000 homes in Cape Coral becoming extinct: There are only 6 homes left in Cape Coral under $100 K, with the lowest priced home at $82,000. This is in sharp contrast to over 100 low-priced homes to start 2014. Over 360 Cape homes sold for under $100,000 in 2014, with many being in the $40 K - $70 K range (keeping median home prices down). Early this year the city will forever say goodbye to the $100,000 home. Adios five-figure depressed homes.
Owners & Appraisers Almost on Same Page: Quicken Loans Index reports that appraisers are valuating U.S. homes at 1.56% higher than homeowners. Realtors report that only 2% of deals that failed to close were due to low appraisals, in sharp contrast to a few years ago when 20 - 25% of loan transactions were not closing due to low appraisals.
New Construction Permits Up 28% in Cape Coral: Permits for new homes in Cape Coral rose by 28% in 2014. Permits throughout Lee and Collier County also increased significantly. Tom: As reported recently, the U.S Census Bureau projects 5,000 - 6,000 new Cape residents per year for 9 more years (not counting seasonal homeowners). Thus, we will need approximately 200 - 250 new homes per month to keep up with housing demand. Even with the 28% increase in 2014 permits, there were only an average of 50 monthly permits in the city. This future demand for new construction is why I suggest investing in land in Cape Coral & SWFL, especially waterfront lots.
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