SW Florida's peak real estate season has traditionally been from Christmas to Easter. NO LONGER THE CASE. This season, real estate in SWFL picked up right after Thanksgiving, and many out of state buyers are still arriving to buy homes. Buyers are purchasing at an unprecedented level for this time of year. What used to be a 3 - 3 1/2 month high season In SWFL now appears to have expanded into a 6 - 6 1/2 month high real
estate season. This may be the new norm, at least for a few more years.
A few years ago, when there were more distressed homes for sale, and before home inventory dropped so low, it was very doable to buy a 2,000 sq ft gulf-access pool home in the better Cape neighborhoods for $300,000 to $325,000. A home in this price range would not need much TLC work, and often might even have a tile roof, granite countertops, wood cabinets, and/or a dock/boat lift. A nicer 2,000 sq ft gulf-access home in a nice neighborhood, for $350 K is virtually impossible to find now, particularly for buyers expecting a home to be in pristine condition and less than an hour boat ride out to open water. That ship has sailed from port, and the same home is now listed at $400 - $425 K.
Very recently, Sue did an extensive search for a few different clients looking in the $350 - $375 K price range. After touring the properties they were extremely disappointed in what that price range will buy you these days, and the homes they viewed were the best homes available in that price range.
Several clients who haven't been to SWFL for a few years were quite disenchanted with what they could buy for the same price as during their last visit. We have been advising our clients monthly as to what direction our market is headed, and what level of appreciation we are seeing. Some buyers may think this is just a typical real estate sales pitch. That is not our business style. In fact, we have told many local homeowner clients to NOT sell their homes now if they don't need to because they will secure a higher price if they can wait another year or two. That is just not something an average realtor will say to a seller. However, our buyer clients should purchase a home in SWFL as soon as they are able to.
April was another month of substantially improving real estate indicators in SWFL. We will use Cape Coral as our example, but the numbers are comparable in every city in SWFL. Here are the market trends:
New Building Permits Soar: There were 136 single family permits pulled in Cape Coral in April. This was the most new home permits issued since the real estate crash began eight years ago, and double the 68 permits pulled in April 2014. Although we are still a long way off from the 200 - 250 new homes required to keep pace with new residents, this is an impressive improvement from recent years. As just one example; in 2009 there were only 159 home permits issued for the entire year, and the highest number of permits pulled in any month in 2014 was 71. Tom: as the number of new homes increase, the price of lots (especially waterfront lots) will also keep rising, often at an accelerated rate. If you plan to build a home in the next few years I strongly suggest you buy your lot soon.
Home Prices Continue to Climb: In March we reported that the average Cape home sales price of $236,000 was the highest in seven years. April's average home price slightly exceeded March's price. The average home sale prices for the first four months of 2015 are as follows:
Owning Cheaper than Renting in 76% of U.S. Metros: RealtyTrac's Q1 Property Analysis found that the monthly house payment (medium-priced three-bedroom home) is more affordable that monthly rent in 76% of U.S. counties. On average, rents were 28% of median household income. Monthly payments on a median-priced home (w/10% down payment, property taxes, insurance and PMI) were 24% of medium income.
Wawa Comes to SW Florida: On April 24, three Wawa convenience stores opened in SWFL, two in Ft Myers and the other in Cape Coral (Pine Island Rd & Del Prado). Gov. Rick Scott cut the ribbon at one of the Ft Myers Grand Openings. Wawa is a highly popular convenience store in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, specializing in tasty coffee, sandwiches, soups and salads. Some northern residents have waited years for their beloved Wawa to come to our area, and their wish was granted in spades. In a short span of two years, there are now 65 Wawa Florida locations, with an expectation of 12 new SWFL stores planned by the end of 2017.
Today Show To Feature Trivia Segment on Sanibel: On Thursday May 7th, NBC's Today Show will feature a sidebar with the show's hosts answering trivia about the island. The premise is for the hosts to guess the country's top tourist attraction. The Sanibel Chamber of Commerce sent the producers clues like shells, flip-flops, sunglasses, orange juice and champagne. The segment is in response to Sanibel recently being voted American families' favorite vacation destination by FamilyFun Magazine.
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
"Luxury Waterfront Team" expands to Bonita, Naples, Sanibel, Pine Island - Cape's assessed values up by 8.63% - Seasonal rentals in short supply
25% of international buyers choose FL - First time buyers stuck as entry-level homes dry up - Farmers Almanac predicts cold winter
Naples, Cape Coral rank in the top 10 in Forbes report - Home inventory still low in summer - New home permits highest level in over 7 years
Home inventory low, demand high - Lee Memorial Health System Top 1% in nation - Owning a seasonal rental can be profitable
Home Inventory Under 4 Months - Majority Say Housing Crisis Is Over - Cape Coral Ranked #8 As Best City to Retire
Topics: Longer Than Avg. Real Estate Season - Real Estate Preferred To Stocks - Cape Coral 2nd Best Mid Size City
Topics: Low New Construction Inventory – Cape Coral, One Of The Fastest Growing Cities – Property Values Continue To Rise
Topics: Local Home Prices Highest in 6 years - Gulf Access home prices up 24% - Bad Weather Hinders Construction in the North
Topics: 4th Year of Real Estate Recovery – No Housing Bubble! – Cape Celebrates Comeback
OUR SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT REPORT OF THE YEAR:
Timing The SWFL Real Estate Market - 2015