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March 2016

Lake Okeechobee Murky Water Now Being Sent to Everglades
 
Due to extraordinarily heavy rains this year, the Water Control Management of the state has released billions of gallons of runoff water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee River. This tannin laden water badly discolored our beautiful river and its eventual flow into our gulf waters. The discharges impacted our area beaches, particularly those off Sanibel.
 
Fortunately several governmental agencies, along with Gov. Rick Scott and numerous mayors of SW Florida joined forces and the water is now being diverted south to the Everglades....where it should have been going all along. The south moving water will now pass through a reservoir which will clean the water. The move to divert the flow south is coming not a moment too soon as some local fishermen have already seen their livelihood negatively affected, with clients from northern states canceling their fishing trips based on stories they've seen on the news.
 
Congressman Curt Clawson (R-Bonita Springs) has said he is making this issue his number one top concern. So long as three bills on Capitol Hill get immediate approval, according to local leaders, we could see changes to the brown, murky waters in the Gulf of Mexico in as little as a week.
 
We'll keep you posted on this very important issue, which greatly affects aspects of our health, ecology & wildlife and economic well-being.
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Naples Rated Happiest, Healthiest City in the U.S.
 
It has a Fifth Avenue, lots of shopping and a hot real estate market, but the country's healthiest and happiest city is nowhere near the Big Apple.
 
Naples, Florida, and the nearby communities of Marco Island and Immokalee top the 2015 Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being Cities. The report measures how residents of U.S cities feel about their physical health, social ties, financial security, community and sense of purpose.
 
Naples ranks extremely high as a well-being place. People in Naples really like their communities. Residents there have the lowest levels of stress in the country, report little depression and eat healthy on a daily basis, the report found. Many of them like their daily activities and enjoy an intellectually lively culture, telling interviewers they learn or do something interesting every day.
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Cape Coral/Ft Myers: Highest Rental Rate Increase in U.S.
 
Our area rent rates for single-family homes outpaced the nation's top metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2105, compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, according to a report by RentRange. Rents on houses grew by an astounding 25.4% in a year - almost double the rate for the No. 2 urban area, and outpacing major cities like San Francisco and Dallas.
 
The average three-bedroom home now rents for more than $1,500 a month, almost double what it was two years ago. Duplexes in Lehigh (the lowest priced housing area in Lee County) that used to rent for $450 - $550 a month are now renting for $850 for each side. Although these rental spikes are bad news for area renters, it's good news for investors, RentRange says.
 
Cape Coral/Ft Myers also has the lowest home vacancy rate in the U.S., at 1.9%.
 
Tom: This level of rent increase is unsustainable, and at $1,500 per month, especially with today's interest rates, renters are able to purchase off-water homes in Cape Coral with no increase in monthly payments. High rental prices are further pushing demand on home sales, which will continue to raise home prices. Currently one out of five U.S. renters wants to move to a home because they feel their rent is too high.
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Naples Now Offers Flights to Newark, NJ & Portland Maine
 
Portland, Maine-based Elite Airways began service between Naples and Newark on February 27. The non-stop flight from Naples Municipal Airport to Newark International is scheduled to depart at 8:30 a.m. In addition to weekly non-stop flights between Naples and Newark, plans call for twice-weekly flights to Newark, with a stop at Vero Beach Regional Airport. There will also be flights to Portland, Maine, with a stop at Orlando/Melbourne International Airport. 
 
Southwest Florida International Airport to Have Non-stop Flights to Bahamas: On May 26, Silver Airways will begin nonstop service from Florida International Airport. Flights will operate three days a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. One-way fares will start at $126.90. This follows Sun Country Airlines service to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in May 2015.
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Cape Coral Crime Numbers Down Even Lower
 
Crime is down in Cape Coral, according to Uniform Crime Reporting statistics for 2015 released by the Cape Coral Police Department
 
Officers, Detectives, Forensics, Telecommunications, civilian support personnel, and Police Volunteers’ efforts make Cape Coral a safe place to live, work, and play.
 
The city of Cape Coral has consistently ranked among the safest cities in Florida. For example, ValuePenguin ranked Cape Coral No. 3 on its 2015 safest city's list, based on population, the FBI has previously placed the city on its safest cities list, placing it No. 1 in Florida, based on population in 2013 in terms of violent crimes and No. 2, based on property crimes.
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Cape Coral's Famous Burrowing Owls 
 
Cape Coral recently celebrated the 14th annual Burrowing Owl Festival and we thought this would be a good time to share a few facts about the adorable official city bird.
 
Cape Coral is home to the largest population of the Florida burrowing owl with an estimated 1000 nesting pair. They are the only owl that lives underground, and one of the smallest of all owls, weighing in between 5 - 8.5 ounces and standing 7.5 -11 inches tall. These feisty diminutive birds dig their own burrows and have created over 2500 burrows within the city. Our Burrowing Owls live in the Cape year round, but often hide in the summer to avoid the hot sun, making the best time to view them January - June. The optimum time to see chicks is late April - June. Burrowing Owls' diet includes tasty treats such as frogs, anoles, roaches, mice, and small snakes.
 
If you're out and about and see one of our little feathered friends, the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife recommends you stay at least 20 feet away from them. Even though they are very tolerant of us, getting too close too often can cause the owls to abandon their burrow for a quieter spot.
 
Sue: People come from all over the country and outside the U.S. to see our owls. I feel very fortunate to have multiple burrows right outside my front door and scattered throughout our SW Cape neighborhood. There's a fairly steady stream of folks watching and photographing these beautiful little creatures.
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Facts & Stats
 
Cape Home Prices Reach Highest Level Since June 2007: Cape Coral home prices in February averaged $265,000, the highest price since June 07'. This is a vast improvement from January 2011, when prices bottomed out at $120,000.
 
Distressed Home Sales Way Down: Foreclosures and short sales now account for only 8% of Ft Myers/Cape Coral home sales. When our local market was depressed, and had very high inventory, distressed sales accounted for over 70% of our home sales. A normal market has 3 - 5% distressed sales, so we are getting close.
 
$125,000 New Bottom Price Level in Cape Coral: Not too long ago there were hundreds of homes priced below $100,000 in the city. As of this writing there are only four homes in the Cape priced below $125 K, and we can tell you that they aren't very nice homes. Sometime late this year we expect $150,000 to be the new bottom home price.

 

 

February 2016
6 Reasons FLA Is Best State For Retirement - Forbes Names Cape Coral In Top 10 Best Investment City For 2016 - Population Stats Cape Coral.

January 2016
2015 Real Estate Highlights - FL Tops List Of Most Desirable States - National Accolades For Cape Coral

December 2015
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

November 2015
Strong Sellers Market - Annual Rents Rise 23% - Economists Predict Strong Market Through 2017 

October 2015
Cape Coral's R.E. Rebound 2nd Strongest In Nation - SW Florida Now a 12 Month R.E. Season - Chiquita Boat Lock Impact

September 2015
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

August 2015
City Council Votes to Eliminate Chiquita Boat Lock - U.S. Home Prices Hit Historic Highs - High Cost of Waiting to Buy

July 2015
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

June 2015
New Homes A Good Option - Two SWFL Beaches in Dr. Beach Top Ten - Lee County Housing Market Continues To Climb

May 2015
 SW Florida Peak R.E. Season Extended - $400k Becoming the New $300k for Cape Coral Gulf Access Homes - Freshwater Homes an Affordable Waterfront Alternative

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Tom & Sue Demogenes

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