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.
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