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June 2017 Market Updated

Home Sales Still Strong - But Mostly Low & Mid-Priced Homes

As typically occurs after winter or "Snowbird Season", there are fewer gulf-access home sales, but "starter" and mid-range homes are selling at a rapid pace. Although waterfront homes are still selling, it's not at the same fast rate as during Dec - April. Families with children in school are the predominant buyers in late Spring and Summer, and they are buying off-water homes in droves.
 
When this seasonal scenario occurs every year the lower priced homes get scooped up quickly. This in turn raises the "bottom-feeder" price level, which in turn boosts the pricing level of all homes. As mentioned in recent reports,  bottom home prices have gone from well below $100,000 early last year, to $125 K at the end of 2016, and today are $150 K. There are only five Cape Coral homes available under $150 K, and only 15 homes under $160 K. By the end of the year we expect $175,000 - $185,000 to be on the very low end of home prices in the Cape, and the same scenario will hold true for surrounding towns, albeit at mostly higher prices than Cape Coral.
 
Despite more low to mid-range homes selling now than during "high-season", Cape home prices in May averaged $269,000, only a 10% increase from last May's prices of $244,000. Tom: Buyers from out of the area are skeptical when I tell them that home prices in our area are increasing by about 1% a month. But, May's increase of 10% is the lowest year-over-year monthly increase that we've had this year. At year's end we should see the average Cape home price increase be 10% higher (or more) than last year, and I expect lot prices to rise at least at the same level.

Cape Coral Named One of the Best U.S. Cities for Boaters

SmartAsset ranks Cape Coral as the #5 best place in the U.S. to live for boat owners. The web site also rates the Cape as #2 for highest net migration for retirees. Cape Coral is considered a very affordable place to own a boat, with the ease for boat owners to enjoy hundreds of miles of fresh and saltwater canals. With over 400 miles of canals, the city has more canals than any other city in the world.

Saltwater canals allow access to the Caloosahatchee River and the Gulf of Mexico. Many boat owners here have the luxury of docking their boats on the water right behind their homes. With ideal weather and the beauty of Cape Coral, it's no wonder that the city rates as one of the top cities in the country for boaters. The analysis by SmartAsset focused on weather, cost and convenience.

2017 Preliminary Assessed Property Values Released
Taxable property values in Lee County increased by more than 6 percent last year, according to figures released by the Lee County Property Appraiser. But the total value of property in the county is still about $10 billion behind what real estate was worth a decade ago, right before the Great Recession.

The highest percentage increase of the municipalities was Ft Myers with 8.1%, closely followed by Cape Coral's 7.9 %. Bonita Springs and Sanibel increased by 5.9%, followed by Ft Myers Beach at 4.8% and Estero at 4.6%. The figures released Tuesday are the first look that local officials get at how much property values increased.  Tom: Because of when the Assessor's Office conducts their yearly evaluation, they are always at least a year behind actual market values (which is great for existing and new homeowners when  prices are rising).

Closing Coordinator Added to our Group

We are most excited to announce that RE/MAX Realty Team has added a Closing Coordinator to their staff. Yvonne Torres will be handling the majority of the closing coordination between the title company, lender (if applicable) and the other real estate agent involved in the transaction. This will assure everyone, especially our clients, that none of the important closing details or time frames get overlooked. Yvonne has already coordinated closings for us, and they have gone most smoothly. We look forward to Yvonne helping us close many more seamless transactions.

Homeowners Sue Zillow Over Low Home Value Estimate

An Illinois homeowner has filed suit against Zillow, claiming the company's "Zestimate" tool repeatedly undervalued her home, creating a "tremendous road block" to its sale. The suit alleges that despite Zillow's denial that Zestimates constitute "appraisals", they are "promoted as a tool for buyers to use in assessing market value of given property", thus meeting the definition of an appraisal. The suit argues that Zillow should be licensed to perform appraisals, and should obtain "the consent of the homeowner" before posting them online.
 
Homeowners, realtors and appraisers have been critical for years about the valuation tool, citing estimates that too often are far off the mark - sometimes 20% or 30% too high or too low. Appraisers are cheering the suit, and other homeowners have subsequently filed similar lawsuits. Tom: Our clients have long known my opinion about "Zestimates" being too far off to be taken seriously. This is especially true in a town like Cape Coral, which often has expensive gulf-access homes on one side of the street and much less expensive off-water homes across the street. Zillow does not fully take this crucial factor into account when providing Zestimates. If you are buying or selling a home please take Zestimates with "a grain of salt" and check with us for the true market value.

Americans Overwhelmed with Stress when Moving

A new survey released by SpareFoot.com indicates that Americans move an average of six times throughout their lives, and the U.S. Census Bureau projects that 40 million Americans will add another home to their list this year. Of those, 65% will move between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The findings reveal that Americans of all ages struggle to part with sentimental items and view the entire moving process as stressful.

The study found that moving with a partner can be tough on relationships, with 58% feeling that moving is a bigger challenge than wedding planning. 31% of Americans who were moving with a partner - including 45% of millennials - say they had some of their worst arguments while moving. Moving is especially stressful for parents as they prepare to relocate their families. 69% of parents say they prioritize their child's needs over their significant other's needs, and 81% of parents admit that they kept a child's possession, even when their child gave them permission to get rid of it. Sue: I have moved more times than I really want to count, and I agree moving has always been one of the most stressful aspects of my life. Although I haven't had to move with kids for many years, it's still no fun and something I dread. Luckily the experience is somewhat like having a baby -  A few months after it's over you forget how awful it was or nobody would ever move more than once in their life!

Facts & Stats

Cape Home Inventory Drops To 3.5 Months: This stat is heading toward the "nervous inventory level". As mentioned above, many of the homes sold in May were in the low to mid-price range. Regardless, when home inventory drops below 4 months it can only mean one thing for future home prices. At least we are not at the "dangerous inventory level" like cities such as San Francisco and Seattle, which have only about a month of inventory. Homes in those cities sell at or above asking price, often with multiple offers within a day or two of going on the market. When inventory drops too low (below 4 months) it usually means a steep jump in prices could be coming our way. Tom: my preferred home inventory is 4 to 6 months. This level of inventory enables prices to rise at a moderate, but not exhorbitant rate. With summer here we will hopefully see home inventory increase to a more reasonable level.


May 2017
Cape New Construction Permits Spike - Rise In Cape Coral Million Dollar Home Sales - Increased Importance Of Third Car Garage

April 2017
Cape Home Prices Rise by 18% / Inventory Drops Below 4 Months - Cape Coral Already Making Top U.S. Lists in 2017 - Rising Home Prices & Increase in Interest Rates Will Make Home Buying More Costly in a Year

March 2017
Forbes Names Cape Coral #1 For Potential Growth . . . Again - Lee County Crime Rate Drops in 2016 - Royal Tee Golf Club to Re-Open

February 2017
SW Florida Home Prices Keep Rising - But Inventory Finally Improves - Cape Royal Homeowners Buy Royal Tee Golf Course - Florida's Population Keeps Rising, But 8 States Lose Residents

January 2017
Cape Coral Home Prices Increase 10% in 2016 - Cape Coral Home Prices Rise 72 Straight Months - New Home Permits Skyrocket   

December 2016
Seven Islands Project OKd by Cape Council - SW FL Now Has 12 Month Real Estate Season - U.S. Home Prices Pass Pre-Recession Peak

November 2016
Inventory Shortage Eases Slightly But Not Prices - Upscale Duplexes Being Built on Cape Coral Lots - Homebuyers Losing Taste for McMansions

October 2016
Cape Coral Again Leads Nation in Highest Rental Rate Increase - Environmental & Political Pressure to Clean Caloosahatchee River - Protect Your Florida Homestead

September 2016
Fla Has 4 Top 10 Retirement Cities - Unique Condo Community Being Developed in Downtown Fort Myers - Update on Chiquita Boat Lock Removal

August 2016
Atlanta Braves Eye Training Camp In Collier County - Frontier Airlines Will Service Punta Gorda Airport - Cape Coral Mid Year Stats

July 2016
Assessed Property Values Released By Appraiser - Caloosahatchee Releases Update - National Builder Eyes Former Cape Golf Course

June 2016
Too Soon To Retire But Don't Want To Pay Future Higher Prices? - Real Estate Owned Via Self Directed IRAs - Flipping Is Out; Long Term Investing In

TIMING THE REAL ESTATE MARKET 2017

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Tom & Sue Demogenes

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