Lee County Real Estate Market Recovering Slowly

Fort Myers NewsPress 4/29/2007
Market conditions are ripe for home buyers who can enjoy the vast supply of choices currently available in most price ranges. Buyers now have a window of low interest rates and flat or reduced prices from sellers who have accepted the soft market for what it is.
Basically the volume of sales activity is almost exactly the same as it was before the houseing boom in Southwest Florida.
There were 633 existing single family hoimes sold in March 2002. In March 2007 there were 636 homes sold. Basically the volume of sales activity is almost exactly the same as it was before the housing boom in Southwest Florida. The median sale price more than doubled from $128,300 in March 2002, to $268,000 in March 2007. Not bad for a five year period.

Lee County Home Sales Spike - Belies National Trend

~Florida Association of Realtors~
The number of existing houses sold in Lee County spiked up sharply in March, after a long slide that began last summer.
There were 636 single family homes sold with the assistance of Realtors in March, according to the association.
That's up 50% from February's 423 but still below the 955 sold in March 2006.

The median price increased 5 percent to $268,000 from February's $256,100 although that was still 5 percent less than $281,300 a year ago.
Prices have generally been increasing slightly since October 2006, but the number of sales has been flat or declining since July 2006.

Florida Lawmaker Negotiate how to Lower Property Taxes

Fort Myers News Press 4/24/2007
The Florida House is willing to be flexible on how taxpayers get lower property taxes as long as they get them, the leader of a house team negotiating the matter said Monday.
Talks on the issue between the Houses and Senate began with Rep. Dean Cannon insisting property tax cuts average $1200 for homesteads, $750 for other residences and $3300 for commercial and industrial real estate.
"We are not locked into any single one approach or to any one particular method," said Cannon.

House OKs Property-Tax Reform

April 19,2007 Fort Myers News-Press.
The Florida House passed its version of a multi billion dollar property tax reform Wednesday that would ask voters to swap their property taxes for higher sales tax. If it gets Senate approval, it could make Florida the only state in the nation without a personal income tax or property taxes on primary homes.

Sunny Outlook

Excerpts from Glen Salyer's (Economic Development Analyst with the Economic Development Office of Lee County) article featured in the Fort Myers News Press.
The Southwest Florida residential real estate market's return to the planet Earth seems to be the topic on nearly everyone's lips these days. Perhaps less discussed are the positive growth trends shaping Lee 'county's continued economic expansion.
Among the 100 fastest-growing counties natrionwide, Lee County's population numbered 585,608 in 2006, according to the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research. The bureau projects more rapid growth in years to come, prediction that our population will approach 675,000 residents by 2010.
A recent survey conducted by a national employment services firm pointed to additional strength, forecasting the Southwest Florida job market to be the second strongest in the country during the second quarter of 2007.
In 2006 our new airport served more than 7.6 million passengers including 17.2 percent more international travelers than the previous year.
We have seen an up tick in real estate sales this April as buyers are taking advantage of the low real estate prices.

Time to Buy?

Local real estate experts shared a positive outlook about Southwest Florieda's real estate market at Market Pulse 2007.
Jim Scarz, managing broker of John R. Wood Realtors said the market has begun to turn for single family homes, but the over saturated condo market will take a little longer to bounce back.
Scarz said that 2007 will be the third best year on record for real estate sales, with 2008 comparable to the 2004-05 boom.
Mike Timmerman of Hanley Wood Market Intelligence expects a slower turnaround. The said the existing home sales pace will remain slow in 2007 but might pick up as prices have come down. "There has been a decrease in sales over the 18 months since September of 2005," Timmerman said "On the positive side, most cycles don't last more than 18-24 months.
Scarz said "Baby Boomers will have a tremendous impact on the local real estate market." (They begin retiring in 2008). "Prices always take off with a roar at some point after the plateau, achieving far higher levels than in the past".

Pending Home Sales Up

The national Association of Realtors' index for pending sales of existing homes rose in February at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.7 percent.
The index is well below where it was a year ago but stronger than Wall Street investors expected, reasuring them that the housing sector, while weak, is not being pummeled by the struggling subprime mortage sector.

Builders Pull More Single Family Home Permits

Builders in unincorporated Lee County pulled 318 permits for single-family houses in March, about 6 percent more than in February.
About 73 per cent of the single family home permits in the county were for construction in Lehigh Acres.
These numbers are lower than 1 year ago but it shows hopeful signs that things are picking up.