Fort Myers area Real estate market is improving

Fort Myers Area Real Estate

Article courtesy of Fort Myers News-Press.
We’ve all got the bruises and the scars,” commercial real estate broker Randy Thibaut told the audience Thursday night at The News-Press Market Watch real estate symposium. “But I’m here to tell you, it’s time to start smiling again.”
That was the theme of the night at the annual event at Harborside Event Center in downtown Fort Myers, where real estate authorities take a look at the previous year’s trends and make predictions for the year ahead.
Thibaut — owner and founder of Land Solutions, which handles the sales and development of large parcels of land — was talking about a steady recovery in the new-home construction industry over the past year and a half.
“The gap between new home construction and resales is shrinking,” he said: $100-130 per square foot for a new home vs. $80-90 for an existing home.
It was the cheeriest Market Watch since the real estate market imploded at the beginning of 2006 at the height of a wave of speculation that drove the median price of a single-family resale to a record $322,300 in December 2005.
The median was $115,000 in January, according to Florida Realtors statistics — although the group debuted a new industry data.
“Greed, that was what drove our market” at the height of the boom, said Denny Grimes of Denny Grimes & Company at Royal Shell Real Estate.
Now, he said, the market is driven by confidence: prices are rising and 20,175 residences were sold in 2011: third best of all time next to 2009 and 2010.
The supply of unsold homes on the market shrank sharply, especially for the low end, Grimes said, noting that there are now only 683 single-family listings on the market compared to 4,220 two years ago.
Six years ago, as the boom was cresting, there were only 12.
Grimes drew applause when he said a tight market for homes would reignite the home-building industry.
“That’s good news, that’s going to put builders back to work again,” he said. “Our inventory is what it was a month before the peak.”
The only fly in the ointment is the difficulty buyers have getting financing, Grimes said. “If the appraisers don’t get you, the underwriter will.”
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