Lee County existing-home sales, prices fall in July


Prices and the number of homes sold in Lee County fell sharply in July, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Florida Association of Realtors.
The number of existing single-family homes sold with the assistance of a Realtor dropped 24 percent from 1,501 in June to 1,139 in July and the median price fell 3 percent from $96,600 to $93,500 in the same period.
Meanwhile, sales of existing homes nationally plunged last month to the lowest level in 15 years, despite the lowest mortgage rates in decades and bargain prices in many areas, the National Association of Realtors said in a separate report Tuesday.
Why the big drop in Lee County?
Partly, the slowdown is due to the normal seasonal variation in sales here, said Mario D'Artagnan, a broker associate with the Jim Fischer Team at Gulf Coast Realty Network in Cape Coral.
"Historically, July and August are a little bit slow anyway," he said. "I think with school starting, people taking last-minute vacations, that puts a little bit of sluggishness in the numbers."
John McWilliams, owner-broker for McWilliams, Buckley & Associates, with offices in Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres, said today's rock-bottom interest rates are so far failing to juice up the market.
"The problem is in previous cycles, interest rates at this level have stimulated not only buyer activity but frankly helped bump prices up a little bit. But in this environment, they're not responding to the interest rates. And you can borrow at 4.5 percent or even a little better for 30 years."
One troubling recent trend, McWilliams said, is that "The number of houses coming onto the market is still twice, on average, what's being sold.
"Today there were 216 houses listed and 83 sold. That does not bode well."
Nationally the statistics were even grimmer, according to the national association's release.
July's sales fell by more than 27 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.83 million. It was the largest monthly drop on records dating back to 1968, and sharp declines were recorded in all regions of the country.
The associated press and fort myers news press contributed to this article
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