Tom Demogenes
Tom and Sue Demogenes
Luxury Waterfront Team
Cape Coral, FL 33914

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March Newsletter 2015

Our 2015 SW Florida Projections
Double-digit Home Appreciation to Return: 2014 was what we believe was a very welcomed "breather year" for home prices in SWFL, with all local cities "only" rising in value by single digits. 2011 - 2013 saw average home price increases of 24 - 31% per year.  Based on extensive data, we are projecting average home prices in our region to increase by at least 10% this year.

bye jpeg.jpgEnd of $100,000 homes in Cape Coral: Sometime this year Cape Coral will no longer have homes under $100,000, and we expect that the median Cape home price will never fall below $200,000 again. Last year there were 360 homes sold under $100 K. (36 last January), with a low of $43,625. Yes, you read the figure correctly. In 2013 there were 65 Cape homes sales under $100 K in January alone, with many in the $40 K - $70 K range. There are now only a dozen homes for sale under $100 K, with the lowest being $82,000. These 12 homes are either wood frame construction, one car garage, two bedrooms, or very old & small - all very difficult homes to sell. Although we don't want home prices to skyrocket as they did in the Housing Boom, we are happy to say adios to five figure homes in the city.

rising jpeg.jpgLot Prices & New Construction Prices to Continue Rising at a Rapid Pace: Due to low inventory of existing homes, we expect both land values and new construction to continue outpacing existing homes, as has been the case for the past few years. If we had to put a percentage on it, I feel land prices will increase by at least 15%, and new construction homes will cost  minimum of 12% more this year. Both of these projections are below 2013 & 2014 increases, but we try to estimate conservatively.

* Property Taxes to Increase: Because Assessed Values in SWFL are a few years behind actual market values, we are expecting Assessed Home Valuations (i.e. property taxes) to rise by 8 to 12% this year, and taxes on land to increase by over 15%. Thanks to Florida's "Save Our Homes" initiative, Floridians who are Homesteaded can only receive a property tax increase of 3%, or the cost of inflation, whichever is less. For non-Homesteaded property, the property tax increase cannot exceed 10%. Tom: In order to avoid what we expect to be even higher assessed valuations in 2016, if you are considering buying a home in the next year, you will pay lower property taxes every year in the future by closing on a home before the end of the year.

* Interest Rates: Your guess is as good (or as bad) as ours. National economists have been wrong for a year and half about the direction of interest rates, so we won't try to out-project the professionals. What we do feel confident about is that it will require interest rates of at least 6% before it has much impact on the SWFL real estate market, and no one is projecting interest rates to reach the 6% level any time soon.

Zero Days of Snow in SWFL in 2015. Sue & Tom: we are confident with this projection!
MLS is Accurate - National Online Search Sites Are Not

computer jpeg.jpg97.5% of today's buyers start their home search online, and there is no quicker/easier method to initiate a home search. An out-of-area buyer can get a general grasp of our local market with any home search site. However, when it's time to get serious, it is crucial to have accurate, up-to-date listing information. Too many times we will get a call from a client excited about a home they saw on Trulia, Zillow,, etc. And too often we have to tell them "yes, that was a very nice home, but it went under contract weeks ago". Occasionally we even get a call on a home that has already sold.

A recent study indicated that: one of the national home search sites still advertised 28% of homes that were no longer available, and on another search site 30% of the new listings did not show up. This is most frustrating and disappointing for buyer and agent alike. Sue: when you are serious about the home search process we suggest you contact us and we will set you up on a local home search site that is tied directly to our MLS account. This site is very accurate and time-sensitive.
Monthly Stats & Facts
SWFL Ranks High in 2014 Safest Florida Cities Study: Cape Coral was the 3rd safest city in Florida for populations over 45,000. With cities having 20,000 - 45,000 people, Naples was ranked the 8th safest city. For cities under 20,000 population, Marco Island was ranked 3rd, and Sanibel came in 6th.  
Uncertainty in 2015 Mortgage Rates Persists: Housing economists seem less certain about mortgage rate direction in 2015 after getting it wrong last year. Rates for 30-year mortgages ended 2014 at an average of 3.87%, rather than the 5% that was commonly predicted at the start of the year. The Mortgage Bankers Association expects rates to rise by mid-year, however global issues may be the wild card.

snow jpeg.jpgTourists Spend Big Bucks in Lee County: Visitors spend $3 billion a year in Lee County, nearly 40% in the first quarter, aka "high season" or “snowbird season”. Sue: Although we locals sometimes get irritated at the high traffic, or having to wait for a table at a restaurant during peak season, we need to keep in mind how much tourists add to our local economy.

Foreclosures Lowest Since 2006: Realty Trac reports that the inventory of distressed U.S. properties has fallen to the lowest level since 2006. 2014 foreclosure rates were down 29% from 2013, and down 61% from the peak in 2010. Realty Trac's report indicated that the foreclosure market is close to finding a floor and stabilizing at a historically normal level, and that in the past year 1.5 million homes returned to positive equity.
Florida Homeowners Risk Homestead Exemption By Renting: If a Florida homeowner rents out their Florida primary residence for 30 days or more in two consecutive years, they are at risk of losing their Homestead Exemption. This does not affect second homeowners who rent out their homes in Florida.
* 2014 Short Sellers get Income Tax Reprieve...Again: The U.S. Senate extended the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act through the end of 2014. The law grants short sale owners income tax forgiveness on the difference between their loan and the sales price, which can be many thousands of dollars. The law was to expire at the end of 2013. It's uncertain if the reprieve will be extended to 2015.

Tom Demogenes | 239-357-3312 | Contact Us 
4100 SW 27th Pl - Cape Coral, FL 33914
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