Fort Myers Real Estate
Fort Myers Real Estate prices are up. The median price of a single-family home in Lee County sold with the assistance of a Realtor was $124,000 in March, up from $120,000 in February, according to statistics released by Florida Realtors.

There were 1,278 single-family homes sold in the month, up from 988 in February.

The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that home sales fell 2.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.48 million. That followed a revised 4.6 million sold in February.

Local statistics comparing year-over-year sales and median prices weren’t available because Florida Realtors since January has been using a different methodology to calculate those numbers.

In March 2011, Florida Realtors reported the median price was $101,900 and the number of sales was 1,641. Those numbers were compiled using a different methodology, however.

Brett Ellis of Remax Realty Group said March was a good month for residential real estate.

“We’ve had strong demand and the inventory is not great,” he said. “It feels like this market’s been cherry picked. We’ve had strong demand in the season, with some properties coming onto the market but not as many as are leaving the market.”

Nationally, Americans bought fewer previously owned homes in March, a reminder that the housing market remains weak.

A mild winter may have encouraged more people to buy earlier, essentially stealing sales from March.

More purchases in January and February made this the best winter for sales in five years. The increase offered some encouragement ahead of the spring buying season.

Even with the gains, sales remain far below the 6 million per year that economists equate with healthy markets. And the weaker March figures suggest any momentum from the winter has stalled, said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG in New York.

“We are most certainly not set to declare that the housing recovery is over but a strong start to the spring selling season is simply not in the data,” said Greenhaus.

There were some signs of modest improvement.

First-time buyers, who are critical to a housing recovery, rose to 33 percent of all purchases last month. In healthy markets, they make up at least 40 percent.

The supply of homes on the market fell 1.3 percent last month to 2.37 million. A decline in the supply typically encourages more people to put homes up for sale. That generally improves the overall quality of the homes on the market, which drives prices higher.

And the number of homes at risk of foreclosures declined, making up 29 percent of sales. That’s down from 34 percent in February but still high. In healthier markets, foreclosures typically make up less than 10 percent of sales.

Nationwide, the median sales price of homes rose for the second straight month in March to $163,800.

— The Associated Press  and Fort Myers News-Press also contributed to this report.
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Lee County Home prices up and Sales down

Greater Fort Myers Real Estate
Article Courtesy of the Fort Myers News Press.
Prices for single-family homes popped up in Lee County in February as the number of sales fell, according to two real estate agents who crunched the numbers.
The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that U.S. home sales fell 0.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million. That’s down from a revised 4.63 million sold in January — the highest level since May 2010.
But the official local numbers that Florida Realtors has provided since 1994 were nowhere to be found.
Starting in January, Florida Realtors changed its method of processing the information and started providing only its statewide numbers publicly.
Local real estate boards were free to release all or some of the information if they wanted to.
On Wednesday, Florida Realtors’ metro area statistics normally would have been released an hour after the National Association of Realtors’ national numbers.
By Wednesday evening, no local reports were forthcoming.
But Brett Ellis of Remax Realty Group and Michael Polly of Royal Shell Real Estate both provided their own statistics.
Ellis said there were 1,108 sales in February compared to 950 in January and 1,297 last February.
Polly said there were 941 sales in February, 828 in January and 1,106 in February 2011. He gave the median sales price as $120,000 in February, $105,000 in January and $91,525 in February 2011.
The rising prices resulted from a slowdown in the number of inexpensive foreclosed homes coming back on the market, Polly said.
Ellis said foreclosures may pick up again after being cut back by legal problems with paperwork and ownership of the note over the past two years. “I’m talking to lenders who tell me there are more foreclosures coming.”
Polly said the median price likely will keep going up as buyers put more pressure on mid-priced homes now that the under-$100,000 inventory is largely gone. “If you can get in south Fort Myers for $165,000 that’s great. But even that’s dwindling.”
Statewide, the median sales price for a single-family home was $134,000, up 7.2 percent from February 2011. There were 14,270 homes sold in February, down 4.8 percent from a year earlier, Florida Realtors reported Wednesday.
Nationally, home sales fell 0.9 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million. That’s down from a revised 4.63 million sold in January — the highest level since May 2010, the national association reported.
The last three months have been the best for winter sales in five years. A mild winter and a stronger job market have helped boost sales ahead of the all-important spring buying season.
Even with the gains, sales remain below the 6 million that economists equate with healthy markets. And the makeup of those sales still signals a troubled market.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report - Search Greater Fort Myers Real Estate