Fort Myers Area Home Prices Skyrocketing!

Fort Myers area home prices ended 2011 with a boom as the median price of an existing home shot up 36 percent in December to $123,400 from a year earlier.

The median price for the year was $107,100 — up 15 percent from $93,400 in 2010, according to statistics released Friday by Florida Realtors.

Meanwhile, the number of sales declined 3 percent from 1,298 to 977 in the same time period, said the report, which tracks homes sold with the assistance of a Realtor.

A separate report released Friday by the National Association of Realtors said home sales nationally rose in December to the highest pace in nearly a year.

Comparable figures were not available for Collier County.

Lee County’s sharp increase in home prices likely was due in part to an increasing number of more-expensive foreclosed homes coming on the market while the inventory dwindled for the low end — mainly short sales or homes taken back by lenders in foreclosure, said Brett Ellis, head of The Ellis Team with Re/Max Realty Group in Fort Myers.

Also, he said, demand in recent months has been strong. “We started seeing snowbirds come down as early as October.”

One prospective homeowner said the competition is brisk if you’re looking to buy.

“The biggest frustration for me has been how long these short sales take to go through,” said David Sandridge, 45, who’s renting now but wants to buy a house for himself and his two sons.

Another obstacle, he said, is the large number of investors who make cash offers that are hard to compete with for someone who needs a mortgage.

Brad Hunter, chief economist for Metrostudy, which tracks subdivision sales in Southwest Florida and other areas, said new homes are seeing a slight resurgence as well.

He noted that a few builders are actually raising prices a little — including Pulte Homes in its Verona Walk community in Naples.

Nationally, sales increased 5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.61 million, the best level since January 2011 and the third straight monthly increase, according to the national association’s report. Courtesy of the Fort Myers News Press.
Search Fort Myers area real estate

Resale of Foreclosed homes Slowing

The number of foreclosed homes coming back on the market for resale by lenders in Lee County was down sharply as 2011 closed while housing prices rose — good news for builders hoping to be competitive in price with existing homes.
A glut of foreclosed homes following the implosion of the real estate market in 2006 pushed prices down sharply for existing homes. Builders found themselves unable to compete with the low prices and the number of houses being built went from more than a thousand in 2005 to about 100 at present.
In December, 23 permits were issued in Cape Coral, six in the unincorporated county, three in Sanibel and 10 in Bonita Springs. Numbers weren’t available Tuesday from Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach.
Meanwhile, the median price of an existing home in the county with the assistance of a Realtor was up as the year ended: $106,300 in November, up 20 percent from $88,500 a year earlier.
From modest homes to mansions, prices inched up enough to make the price of new construction roughly equal to that of an existing home, said Jeff Tumbarello, director of the Southwest Florida Real Estate Investment Association, which issued a report Tuesday on the 2011 foreclosure and real estate market.
“Go try to buy a million-dollar house and see what it costs to buy a lot and put the same house on it,” he said. “It’s almost the same.”
The number of foreclosure lawsuits filed actually bumped up in 2011: there were 586 filed in December compared to 423 a year earlier.
But fewer foreclosures were resulting in actual judgments followed by public auction sales: there were only 293 in December compared to 582 a year earlier.
That was a result of a slowdown in the judicial system’s handling of foreclosures as the so-called “Rocket Docket” — a speeded-up procedure for pushing those cases through the courts — came to an end mid-year, Tumbarello said. Article courtesy of Fort Myers News Press. Search Fort Myers Area Real Estate.