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

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November Newsletter 2014

November 2014

According to RealtyTrac, the state of Florida had more cash sales in the third quarter of 2014 than any other state, and Florida cities are in the top five - and 8 of the top 10. The data includes homes and condos. Cape Coral was the #1 city in the U.S. for all-cash home sales with 55.8%. Sarasota/Brandenton was 2nd at 54.5%, followed by Tampa/St Petersburg/Clearwater & Palm Bay/Melbourne @ 51% each.
All-cash sales accounted for 33.9% of all U.S. residential sales in Q3. Cash sales helped drive up U.S. median home prices 38% over the last two and a half years. Tom: In SWFL prices are up over 60% in this same two and half year period. Because such a high percentage of buyers in our area are all-cash, loan buyers don't have quite the same negotiating power. However, if we line up all our ducks (with minimum contingencies, such as an existing home sale contingency, and using a top-notch local lender), I can usually negotiate a price almost comparable to an all-cash offer.
Question for our Clients

We were curious as to what percentage of Cape Coral homeowners are full-time residents (Homesteaded) versus part-time or seasonal owners. Sue and I both took a guess prior to recently finding out the stat. Take a guess as to what you think the percentage is, and you can see the answer (and our guesses) at the end of this report.                    


sand.jpgFor those of you in the SW Florida area there’s a great event taking place November 21st – 30th. It’s The 28th Annual American Sandsculpting Championship. The event is held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Fort Myers Beach and will be the largest sand sculpting competition in the State. More than 25 Master Sand Sculptors and hundreds of amateurs will participate with up to 30 works of art on display. Over 1000 tons of sand will be piled and sculpted. Sue: Tom and I have attended this event several times over the years and the sculptures are truly remarkable. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours.

Facts & Stats for the Month

Southwest Florida has record year for visitors: Lee County Visitors Bureau reported tourist tax collections of $32 million, up 16.7% for fiscal year 2013-14. Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention Bureau reported bed taxes of $19 million, up 18.25% from the previous fiscal year.
Lee County charges a 5% tax on short term rental and Collier County's lodging tax is 4%. The bulk of tourist bed tax dollars are allotted to promoting tourism and cultural events and improving local beaches. Sue: Since most people who end up living here originally came for a vacation, we owe a big debt of gratitude to all the area hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and the Visitors Bureaus.
In 15 years one in five Americans will be 65 or older, according to a study by Harvard Joint Studies for Housing Studies. Tom: Waterfront homeowners average age is in the 60's, so this stat portends very favorably for the future of SW Florida waterfront real estate.
U.S. Foreclosures Predicted to be at Normal Rate in 2015: Foreclosure home sales were at 6% the last few months, down from double figures a year ago. Next year they are projected to shrink to 1% - 3%, which will be in line with historic norms. 28% of Florida's Mortgaged Homes are still underwater. However, Cape Coral/Ft Myers and surrounding towns are not among the remaining high foreclosure rate Florida areas. Most underwater homeowners bought or refinanced during the housing bubble, from 2004 - 2008. Tom:  Florida takes an average of 951 days for courts to complete foreclosures (2nd longest process in the U.S.), so it will take a little longer to process and sell the remaining foreclosure homes in the Sunshine State.

Fewer Marriages = Slow Housing Recovery: The housing recovery has suffered as fewer young Americans get married, according to a John Burns Real Estate Consulting report. Census data indicate a drop in married men by 48% from 1970, and a decline in married women by 43% in that same period.

The tendency to remain single longer - and often put off parenthood - has a big impact on the housing market. Although more couples are living together today,  homeownership rates of cohabitating partners is much lower than that of wedded couples.

It pays to own a home: Homeowners are building net worth much faster than renters. In the past 15 years, the net worth of a typical homeowner has ranged between 31 and 46 times that of the typical renter, according to the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances, based on 2013 data. On average, homeowners had nearly $200,000 in net worth compared to an average of $5,000 net worth for renters, according to the survey.
SWFL home sales traditionally decline 18% in September and October - before the gradual improvement heading toward high season. Tom: each month going forward will see more visitors and buyers, with Feb - May being what I consider "peak selling season" in SWFL. We are seeing more snowbirds earlier than normal, and we anticipate a very busy real estate and tourist season. 
Answer to Client Question - Full Time vs Seasonal Homeowners??

In Cape Coral, there are 75,263 developed residential properties, and they account for 82% of the City's taxable value (commercial & industrial properties paying the balance). 53% of these homes/condos are homesteaded, yet, homesteaded properties accounted for just 35% of total taxable value. The 47% of non-homesteaded properties account for about 48% of the City's taxable value. Due to Florida's homestead advantages, part-time residents carry a greater portion of the City's tax burden than full-time residents.

We were not able to track down the percentages of waterfront full-time residents versus waterfront seasonal residents, but based on our sales we are confident that seasonal waterfront residents are a much higher percentage than full-time residents. And, the tax burden is even higher for seasonal waterfront owners.

Tom: My guess was 50% for homesteaded and 50% for seasonal owners. Sue guessed it was 70% full-time and 30% seasonal owners. A rare victory for me, but only because numbers are not Sue's forte. Sue is usually right about most other aspects of our business. She only needs me for financial info and negotiating.

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