The median price of a home in the Fort Myers area leaped 20% in November a year ago. Existing home sales fell 13 % during the same period.

A main reason for both results is there are fewer foreclosures and other distressed sales coming on the market, and fewer fire sales, say real estate experts in Southwest Florida.
“Inventory is declining as we’re chewing up these short sales and foreclosures,” said Steve Koffman, a broker associate with Century 21 Sunbelt in Cape Coral. “The driving force for our buyers was the fact that it was bargain pricing. Everything under 100,000 is basically getting fought over, and as you get to the higher price level, a little of the steam is being let off the market.”
Median home prices rose to $106,300 in November compared with $88,500 a year ago, according to figures released Wednesday by Florida Realtors. And that followed a strong October: The median sales price was $102,100, a 15 percent rise over $89,100 in October 2010. There are no similar numbers available for Collier County.
The number of sales dropped in November to 868 versus 1,003 in November 2010.
But Brett Ellis, a partner with The Ellis Team at Remax Realty Group in Fort Myers, said that decline is nothing to be alarmed about and agreed with Koffman about the drop-off.
“It’s because we don’t have those bargain-basement prices, and with those going away that means less transactions,” he said. “I’d rather see a healthy market and more balanced market with prices and transactions.”
Ellis said there are fewer distressed sales, but also less of what he calls priced-right inventory.
Many homeowners who want to sell their homes are either pricing them too high or simply holding on, waiting for better times.
“A lot of people are upside down, and they don’t want to sell short, and they just don’t like today’s prices,” Ellis said. Short sales are when the lender allows the home to be sold for less than what’s owed on the property.
“I think we’re in for a pretty good season, because the buyers are here a little earlier this year,” said Ellis at Remax. “The question is do we have enough to sell and enough priced-right to sell.”
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