Hertz moving into Estero FL Headquarters

Hertz Corporation has started moving into its new world headquarters building in Estero.
But the bulk of the workforce will be moving over the next few weeks.
“We have all the permits in place, the building has been constructed, the infrastructure has been temporary sealed,” said Thomas McLean, a vice president with Hole Montes Inc., the Fort Myers  engineering firm working on the project.
“We have people moving in as you speak,” McLean said.
The Estero Planning and Zoning Board voted Tuesday night to recommend Village Council approval of a final plat plan, signifying that the buildings were built in accordance with the development order issued before the start of construction.
The  plan represents the specific placement of the buildings and lot lines indicating subdivisions of the Hertz propert., and was prepared to make sure that lot lines and buildings are in the correct place.
Hertz has said the bulk of the move will take place over a series of weekends beginning around Oct. 27.
The headquarters building include about  300,000 square feet of space.  Locally, Hertz has occupied temporary space in Bonita Springs and Naples while preparing to transfer its home office work force from Park Ridge, N.J. Courtesy of News-Press.

Lee County Homes Prices Rise with Homes Available Dropping

Home prices rise, inventory lower in Lee County Florida

Homes in Lee County can sell for significantly more than this time last year, according to  data released by Florida Realtors Association

The median sale price to get a single family home over the month of August has been $205, 000. That is greater than a 12 percent increase coming from August 2014, where the particular median sale price has been $182, 500. Single family homes are also staying out there for a much shorter duration than duration last year: 32 days in August 2015 in comparison with 42 days in 2014.

The month’s availability of inventory dropped nearly 25 % since August 2014 to be able to 3. 7 months to get a single family home.

Nearly all single family properties were sold in a very traditional sale (83. 6 percent). Foreclosures are as a result of 14 percent with short sales taking up only two percent associated with sales.

Fort Myers Beach Real Estate saw the best positive change in sealed sales – up 62 percent in August year-over-year. you might Want to think of purchasing Fort Myers Real Estate quickly.

Rent or Buy in Fort Myers, FL

In a tight Fort Myers Florida rental market, landlords have raised rents sharply, shocking even some loyal tenants, and making the idea of buying a home look more attractive.
Rents jumped by $200 or $300 per month or more in some cases with landlords taking advantage of high demand and recouping losses from lower rents charged in the wake of the Great Recession, property managers said.
“At this point the existing multifamily or apartment rental units have the ability to increase the rent simply because the demand has allowed for it,” said David G. Malt, president and owner of Malt Realty & Development, a rental property management and real estate company in Fort Myers.
That has hit many tenants hard, especially when their wages haven’t kept up with price increases.
Rents in South Florida and other places in Florida have exceeded growth in income over the past two years,” said Ralph McLaughlin, a housing economist with Trulia, which tracks real estate listings nationwide.
Last fall, Maria Sanchez’s rent increased from $515 to $700 at Gulfstream Isles Apartments in Fort Myers, and units like hers are now starting at $865. She had been accustomed to past raises in the $30 range.
“While my salary’s staying the same, everything around me’s going up,” said Ms. Sanchez, who is 53. “It’s hard.”
She has rented there for five years and likes the complex itself and the location near work; other family, including her brother Roberto Encarnacion and mother Yolanda, also live in Gulfstream and struggle with higher rents. On her salary, with school loans after going back to be a paralegal, a car payment, and her husband struggling to find steady work, $700 is a limit and $900 seems out of sight.
She searched similar complexes and found prices aren’t much better; although unlike Gulfstream, some have updated accessories such as kitchen countertops and carpets. Gulfstream also recently required all residents to purchase liability insurance, which adds about $10 per month to the bill, telling her most places recently started doing the same.
That may be because the owners of the complex, a national company called Waterton Residential that manages more than 19,000 units, get a discount on its own insurance by requiring it, said Alice Vickers, an attorney and director of the nonprofit Florida Alliance for Consumer Protection. The property manager at Gulfstream didn’t respond to messages requesting information about how rents and insurance costs are calculated.

The big jumps in price aren’t unique to Gulfstream.
Steve Hollister, who runs Twisted Vine Bistro in downtown Fort Myers, has lived at the Oasis condo building with his wife for four years. The rent increased at $50 or $100 increments, then jumped $300 to $2,050 for a threebedroom unit.
“It seems like the rent has gone up and the amenities are going down every year,” he said.
Chris Andruskiewicz has lived at the Franklin Arms Court building in downtown Fort Myers the last six years. A few years ago, her rent increased from $650 to $900, then last year to $950 for her one-bedroom with a den. Her lease is up soon.
“I’m scared to find out how much it’s going to go up,” said Ms. Andruskiewicz, a graphic designer at Florida Weekly. Another co-worker, arts writer Nancy Stetson, recently sought a new rental after prices forced her out of an old one. She found that costs for pets have increased as well.
“Places seem to think that everyone wants a luxury apartment complex,” she wrote in an email, “such as expensive stainless steel appliances and granite countertops... My priorities were: cost, size, location, safety.”
She added, “People keep saying this is paradise, so you should be willing to pay more. But you cannot pay your rent with sunshine.”
For rents in the $900 range, Ms. Sanchez says, she’ll think about buying a house instead. Realtors have jumped on this as a selling point.
“They could own a $200,000 home for what they’re paying in rent,” in some cases, said Ellen C. O’Day, managing broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Punta Gorda.
In South Florida metro areas, Trulia found, buying a home may be up to 55 percent cheaper than renting, a higher percent than anywhere else in the country. That assumes you have excellent credit and stay in the home for at least seven years, among other factors.
High rents may be a factor keeping young people from buying a home, said Trulia economist Mr. McLaughlin.
“In Florida and also places like San Francisco and Los Angeles where rents are high that’s an even larger hurdle to save for a down payment,” he said.
Little relief
Rental prices are determined by a “comprehensive analysis” including operating costs, repairs and market rates, Mr. Malt of Malt Realty explained. The steep increases demanded of some renters are in part a reflection of prices having fallen just as much after the housing crisis in the late 2000s. He believes rents will continue to rise in the next few years.
“I don’t see much change with anticipating some increase, not dramatic, but some increase to rental rates as opposed to decrease or even leveling off,” he said.
After the housing market crashed and construction came to a halt, the rental market surged in the late 2000s, said Randy Thibaut, owner of Land Solutions, a regional real estate company based in Fort Myers.
In addition, young people in their 20s and 30s are holding off on buying a home for various reasons such as going back to school and starting families later or souring on the idea of real estate as an investment.
“It’s clear that a lot of millennials are not buying homes as early or as often,” Mr. Thibaut said.
Now new apartment construction is starting to catch up with demand. Land Solutions has tracked 15 multi-family projects in Lee and Collier County in different stages of development from late to 2014 to March 2015 totaling more than 3,800 units.
But instead of increasing supply and lowering prices it could actually raise rents instead, Mr. Thibaut believes, at least at first, because renters will be covering the cost of new construction. But with housing prices compared to rents becoming favorable, Mr. Thibaut thinks rent prices will start to level off.
“I don’t think you’ll see price level increases,” he said, “Because very clearly people can only afford so much.”
Demand for rentals is still larger than supply, said Michael Depaola, operations manager for Premier Property Management in Naples.
“Rental rates in the last two to three years have gone up about 30 percent,” he said.
Mr. Depaola advises that an average moving cost is around $2,000, so if the increase is say up to $150 a month, consider staying at least one more lease cycle.
“I always tell people if you’re happy where you are now, you know what’s going on, at least you have a year to prepare,” he said.
In some cases, tenants interviewed for this story said they were able to strike a deal with landlords to pay what they can afford at least for a while, but that’s more likely to be successful with a mom-and-pop rental than a multi-family complex where rent policies are less flexible.
“The likelihood of being successful if you’re dealing with a management company with an onsite manager, it’s going to be harder to get them to back off a price,” said Ms. Vickers, the consumer rights attorney. “But there’s certainly no harm in trying.”
And there is no restriction on how much landlords can raise the rent.
“Obviously when you see rises in prices on residential rentals, that means the market is tight and they know they can charge tenets a lot,” she said, adding that Florida is “pretty much a landlord state in terms of our laws. They certainly have the upper hand.” ¦
2015 Rental Housing Wage
>> The hourly wage that a household must earn (working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year) in order to afford the Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom rental unit ($1,012 in Florida), without paying more than 30 percent of their income.
>> Florida: $19.47 >> Charlotte County: $16.42 >> Collier County: $19.04 >> Lee County: $17.23 >> Palm Beach County: $23.19
>> A minimum wage worker in Florida would need to work 77 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom at Fair Market Rent.
— Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition


Tropical Storm Erika is forecast to approach South Florida as a Category 1 hurricane sometime early on Monday, August 31st. However, it is still too early to say whether it will brush, hit or bypass the region. The big question remains just how strong Erika will be when it reaches this vicinity. Some models predict it will fall apart before getting this far and others call for a robust hurricane (see cone below).

Here is the 5:00 PM update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC):
TS Erika still reaching Hurricane force but the center has shifted more to the East so the center of the storm is off the coast of Florida.  Having said that we all know how unpredictable storms can be, so please see below and prepare for this potential storm.  Attached for your review please find the Hurricane Plan and Procedures.
Please remove all furniture from balconies, front screen enclosures, and your lanais: potted plants, tables, chairs and anything affixed to the walls during a hurricane “WATCH”.  If you are not going to be in the residence please make arrangements to secure these items now.  In the event any damages are caused due to any flying object coming from your home, the unit owner will be solely responsible for any cost incurred.
Nothing herein is to be construed as a guarantee that Management or Association personnel will be available to handle any preparations on behalf of individual owners, as first priority must be given to preparation of the common properties of the Association.

We encourage neighbors to reach out to one another and offer a helping hand, especially for your elderly neighbors or those unable to prepare and secure their hurricane shutters, should they be needed.  Safety for all is our number #1 concern.
As a reminder, in cases of exponential amounts of rain and flooding, not only will yards incur slow drainage and changes in landscape schedules, low areas in the roads and construction zones have additional obstacles.  They are required to screen what enters the sewers and block construction debris, therefore they do not drain as quickly as other areas.  You will also see increases in water levels of the lakes, and although they have a drainage system set in place just like the streets, the cannot drain as quickly as the amount of rain coming down.  Please drive carefully throughout all of Southwest Florida during these storms.

Estero Fl Property Values

The median home sold price of homes in Estero Fl so far in 2015 is $340,000. Last year the median sold price was $293,868. The median sold price has increased 15.7%. I may be a good time to buy some real estate!
The number of Estero Fl homes for sale at end of July was 187, up from the previous month’s 186. In July of 2014, there were 180 homes for sale.
64 homes were sold in July 2015. In July 2014 57 homes were sold. 59 homes were sold in June 2015.
New listings for homes coming on the market in July 2015 – 71, compared to last year’s July figure of 61. The previous month 67 homes came onto the market.
The graph below shows the median sold price for homes by year from 2004 to 2015.
real estate

(The median sold price is the middle price, where half of the sales are of lower value and half are of higher value.)
Median sold price for July was $322,500. The median sold price decreased $27,500 over the previous month’s median sold price of $350,000 or 7.8%.
Median sold price for single-family homes increased 4.0% in the year over year comparison (July 2014 to July 2015) from $350,000 to $322,500.
The median sold price percentage increase is more than in 2015 than 2014. During calendar year 2014 the median sold price for a home in Estero increased 6.9% from 2013. In 2013 the sold prices increased 16.5% over 2012. So far, in 2015, the median sold price increase has been 15.7%.
Single-family home prices bottomed in 2011 when the median sold price was $210,000. As noted above, in 2015 the median sold price has been $340,000. This represents an increase of 61.9% since the bottom of the market.
Estero homes for sale are 3.3 months of inventory to be sold. (Sellers’ market exists when months of inventory are less than 6 months. Buyers’ market occurs when months of inventory exceed 6 months.) The previous month had an inventory of 3.4 months. Last year the months of inventory to be sold was 3.5 months.
The table below shows the number of homes for sale and months of inventory by price range. Red indicates a seller market, yellow represents a neutral market, and green represents a buyers market by price range. Homes classified as distressed properties (potential short sales and foreclosures) – 15 or 8.0% of the total market – 2 (1.1%) are potential short sales and 13 (6.9%) are foreclosed or REO (real estate owned) properties.

Home prices approach pre-crisis peak!

Home Prices

Home prices rising.

Black Knight’s latest Home Price Index report, based on May 2015 residential real estate transactions, showed that the U.S. HPI is now just 6.5% off the June 2006 peak of $268,000, and up over 25% from the market’s bottom.
Fort Myers Home Prices have been slowly climbing but not at this level.
The Black Knight HPI combines the company’s extensive property and loan-level databases to produce a repeat sales analysis of home prices as of their transaction dates every month for each of more than 18,500 U.S. ZIP codes.
The Black Knight HPI represents the price of non-distressed sales by taking into account price discounts for REO and short sales.
According to Black Knight’s report, the HPI now rests at $251,000, up 1.1% over the previous month and up 5.1% over the previous year.
New York led gains among the states, seeing a 1.8% in month-over-month appreciation.
Among the metro areas tracked by Black Knight’s report, Janesville, Wisconsin saw the greatest monthly appreciation at 3%. That is unusual

Latest home price index shows shrinking gap between 2006 and 2015

Real Estate Bidding Wars Return

NEW YORK – July 21, 2015 – Bidding wars are returning to U.S. real estate markets with too few homes for sale.
A number of events led to the current lack of homes for-sale inventory, including an unexpectedly sluggish rebound in home construction. At the same time, millions of homeowners aren't listing their home because they don't believe they'll qualify for a new mortgage, or that they cannot afford the costs associated with a sale.
As of May 31, there were 2.3 million existing U.S. houses on the selling block – enough inventory to last 5.1 months at the current sales pace but shy of the six to seven months of supply that typically signals a balanced market.
But in more than 33 percent of the 300 biggest metro areas tracked by Realtor.com, listings have been on the market a median of less than two months, indicating a rapid turnover as demand for residential properties exceeds supply. Those include such large markets as Dallas and San Francisco along with smaller markets like Vallejo, California, and Kennewick, Washington.

Even in the face of a tight home listing inventory, some economists hope renters will add demand to the sector as rent increases continue, prompting many to pursue ownership. Apartment rents have climbed almost 16 percent in the United States since 2010, calculates Reis Inc. Article courtesy of florida realtors.

Hertz is trying to sell its former Park Ridge, New Jersey, headquarters building and also the former Dollar Thrifty headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some of the former Dollar Thrifty headquarters jobs are moving to Estero while others are going to Oklahoma City. Estero home and condo values have soared.
Hertz is also spinning off its Hertz Equipment Rental into a separate company that will be based in leased space in Bonita Springs, where Source Interlink was once based.

“Today’s filings are an important step forward, and our attention is now on realizing Hertz’s potential,” said John Tague, Hertz president and CEO, in a statement. “While much work remains, I thank the Hertz team for their efforts to bring our filings up to date while continuing to remain focused on our customers and our future.”
The company also announced progress on its capital allocation, cost savings, capacity plans and fleet refresh.
“Progress on our initiatives to reduce capacity, meet our fleet refresh targets and capture cost savings will be evident in the third quarter, which we believe will be an inflection point for the year,” Tague said. “And of course, we expect those benefits to become progressively more visible in 2016.”
For the first quarter of this year, the company saw $2.45 billion in total revenues, compared to $2.54 billion during the same period a year ago. It had $70 million in net income loss for the quarter, compared to $69 million in the same period a year ago. Diluted loss per share was 15 cents for the quarter, the same as a year ago. Courtesy of News-press

Bonita Beach building New Homes

The small home on Bonita Beach was nestled among towering trees, barely visible from the road or the beach. Built in 1962, it was one of the oldest homes around; a quaint little cottage with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,244 square feet of space. Matching yellow quilts adorned the beds in the guest room. Wicker furniture with thick floral cushions filled the living room. A wide porch overlooked the Gulf. Bonita Springs Homes for sale
Now this home is gone. This month a bulldozer crushed the home into splinters and dump trucks carted the debris away. It’s a scene that is becoming more and more common along Bonita Beach where the small homes are slowly disappearing and larger and larger ones are taking their place.
This home was unusual not just for its age and quaintness, but for the property. The home at 26850 Hickory Blvd. had 100 feet of property on Bonita Beach. The property is legally divided into two 50-foot beach lots. The two contiguous lots are in the middle of Hickory Island, in a wider section of beach that has never needed renourishment. It is also not close to the public beach accesses. All those features helped it sell in March for $4,074,000. That seems like a lot of money for a home that was torn down. But empty lots on that beach are now selling for $2 million and the mansions being built there for $5 million. Since this house was on two lots, that could be $10 million in homes.
“All the old houses eventually, in the next 8-10 years, will be all gone and Bonita Beach will be nothing but a wall of three-story beautiful homes,” said Robert Jensen, listing and selling agent for Bay Point/Bluebill Realty, who sold the home in March. “It has to do with the growing wealth of Americans and their desire to live right on the beach in Southwest Florida.”
“Compared to living right on the beach in Barefoot or Vanderbilt or Parkshore, Bonita Beach is a bargain,” he said. “The two lots that I sold with the house on it were the first to sell for more than $2 million for 50 feet.”
The value of this piece of paradise has greatly fluxuated over the years. The first time it sold was in June of 1995 as a mother-to-son transfer for $275,000. It sold again in April 2001 for $3.2 million.
“In 2005 the owner turned down a $6 million cash offer,” Jensen said. “In 2010 he wanted to sell it, and I told him he couldn’t get the $6 million, so we put it on for $4.2 million. It took from 2006 until 2015 to get back to $4 million. That’s the game the speculators have. That’s the roller coaster that they ride.”
There’s also the high cost of living on Bonita Beach Waterfront. At one time the taxes on that little house were $55,000. The 2014 tax assessment shows taxes for that house at $34,033. Then there is the high cost of insurance for living less than 100 feet from the Gulf.
Denny Grimes, president of Denny Grimes & Co. Inc., expects to see a lot more tear-downs in the future due to those high costs.
“I can give you my opinion as to what will happen over time and that will be the cottages will all be replaced,” Grimes said. “It’s not only about highest and best use, but practicality. Cottages are most likely not at proper base flood elevation nor built to current building codes. I believe the cost of insurance or the lack of coverage will extinct the charming cottages.”
“Another irony, the government likes to restrict development to protect the natural environment, yet they create rules that cause our historic and charming structures to be destroyed,” Grimes concluded.
Jensen said it wasn’t taxes or insurance that prompted the owners of the little cottage to sell.
“The owner had bought it for the kids and grandkids, but after a few years the kids and grandkids never came down,” Jensen said. “So they just sold it because it was just one thing they never used. All the beachfront houses — they are all third and fourth and fifth homes for people. It’s not a second home. It’s a third, fourth or fifth.”
After a while many homeowners realize they don’t use the house enough to justify the high taxes. Taxes run up to $60,000 to $70,000 a year on the big Bonita Beach homes. Even the smallest cottages are costing more than $30,000 a year in taxes.
“It is a great spot if you are going to use it, but what happens is you go up and down the beach most of these houses are never used,” Jensen explained. “So after a while the cost of the taxes are not worth it and that’s why they sell.”
“The only way to get the highest and best use out of it is to develop it,” he continued. “Buy it for $2 million and put a house on it and sell it for $5.4 million, and you are making more money than the owner that has held that land all these years. You have to consider all the old houses as tear-downs.” Courtesy of News-Press.

Naples Real Estate is Hot

Real Estate
Housing indicators in Naples, Florida and nationally look good for the most part as does the overall economy, according to experts.
Those findings were some of the insights shared Tuesday afternoon by a trio of speakers at the 2015 Annual Naples Area Board of Realtors Economic Summit held at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.
The event is NABOR's annual look at the state of the local housing market and what global, state and regional influences are shaping it. More than 400 turned out Tuesday to hear about the recent upswing in the local real estate market and where it's headed in 2015 and beyond based on trends and larger market forces.
In Naples, home prices are going up and stabilizing nearly across the board and in some cases have surpassed peak 2005 levels, said Cindy Carroll, vice president and manager of the residential division of Naples-based Carroll and Carroll Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants.
A lot of that increase in value has to do with where a property is located.
"Neighborhoods broken down by ZIP codes seem to make a lot more sense than when it's broken down by price range," she said. "It's about locati

Good News for Fort Myers Real Estate

Real Estate
In the first quarter of 2015, real estate prices went up, home sales went up and commercial lease rates went up.
But builders were not putting up anything like a normal number of homes, let alone retail, office or industrial space.
Nor is the market going up to the stratosphere in preparation for another major crash.
That’s the essence of this quarter’s review by the three presenters for The News-Press Market Watch.
In short, the presenters say, it’s not the run-up to another boom despite rising prices and tiny inventories of homes for sale.
But that’s not a bad thing, considering the recession that took the industry over the waterfall after the euphoria that prevailed from 2004 through the first part of 2006.
“When inventory climbs and sales drop, then we can sound the alarm, but until then, the entire Southwest Florida real estate market is in good health and rational,” presenter and real estate broker Denny Grimes of Denny Grimes & Co. says in his column.
Presenter Randy Thibaut, owner and founder of Fort Myers-based real estate company Land Solutions, writes that the market is far from irrational exuberance: “Some people may think we’re headed for 2006 levels. We’re not. As a matter of fact, we’re just getting back to 2000 levels for permit activity.”
Presenter Stan Stouder, a founding partner of real estate brokerage CRE Consultants LLC, writes that for commercial property it’s getting harder to find listings for exactly what a prospective buyer wants.
As a result, brokers are doing more off-market deals: searching out a property that meets a client’s needs and asking the owner if he’ll entertain offers.
Even so, Stouder says, don’t expect to see a wave of new construction coming anytime soon because construction costs are sky high. At present, rental rates don’t justify building new structures. Courtesy of Fort Myers News-Press.

Grandezza residents find grand ways to expand fitness regimens

Until recently, the major daily forms of exercise for Grandezza residents Emily Lebow and John Ferrell were swimming and biking, respectively. Now, both have expanded their fitness regimens to also encompass tennis, burnishing the sport’s reputation as a lifetime activity.
Both quickly progressed from getting initial lessons from the Estero community’s director of tennis Lanny Kalpin to being placed into women’s and men’s 2.5-level Grandezza teams that play and practice together during the week and also take on same-caliber teams representing other nearby communities including Village Walk, West Bay, Cascades, Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club, Belle Lago, The Club at Rapallo at Coconut Point and others on Fridays.
“It’s nice to work with new players,” said Kalpin, who made it a priority to give beginners “greater access and room to grow” burgeoning skills ever since he came to Grandezza from the Forest Country Club in south Fort Myers in the spring of 2010. “The teams are social and also competitive. All of the captains put people into appropriate skill levels and understand the need to keep track of the action to maintain equal competitive play.”
Lebow was so impressed with how Kalpin gave a lesson two years ago to her then 5-year-old grandson (“His attention is not easy to get and to keep; Lanny was amazing”) that the former Washington Post technology manager picked up a racket herself. After some initial private lessons last spring, Kalpin put her into a group.
“My skills were pretty raw at first,” she recalled. “The rest of the ladies were patient and friendly. It’s fun, you make new friends and you can’t beat the exercise,” which she augments by also participating in a Wednesday morning cardio tennis program that includes warm-ups, high-intensity drills and games.
Welcoming behavior and the steady stream of camps, round robin tournaments, exhibitions, lessons and more on Grandezza’s clay courts combined to revive Ferrell’s interest in the sport. “Lanny would wave at me many times when I’d ride by on my bike and I was impressed with the action I’d continually see going on there,” said Ferrell, which also helped revive happy memories of playing tennis 25 years ago with wooden rackets with family and friends in Jefferson City, Mo.
The Air Force veteran and retired accountant bought a new racket while attending the Sony Open tournament in Key Biscayne last March and vowed “to make use of the investment.” He progressed from Sunday group lessons to a summer social league to the community’s 2.5 league team last fall.
“I also enjoy golf here but tennis is a better cardio sport [another factor in his decision to pick it up again] and it’s even more social as you’re interacting with partners,” said Ferrell.
The new year brings an expansion of inter-community league play to include Mondays and both residents continue to take lessons from Kalpin, who puts in extra time observing his students to sharpen his advice. “He watches league play, sees things and then focuses on them during your lessons,” said Ferrell.
Kalpin, also an Air Force veteran, shows modesty in being a tennis catalyst. “The worst thing a pro can do is to coach too much,” said the USPTA certified Pro-1 with 35-plus years of teaching experience. “It needs to be fun regardless of age.”
Beyond the Gates: Tennis club members of Pelican Landing community in Bonita Springs donated 105 separate gifts for the Toys for Tots program. … Fall 2013 USPTA Bonita League playoff winning teams were Cascades Osprey, Men’s 2.5; Amigos Cascades, Men’s 3.0; Pelican Landing, Men’s 3.5; West Bay Wildcats, Women’s 2.5; Grande Gals, Women’s 3.0; and Grandezza, Women’s 3.5. … The Raptor Bay Golf Club, in Bonita Springs, recently launched a golf academy. It includes the TrackMan Doppler Radar ball and club data-capture analysis system, viewing lesson videos from any location, statistical tracking, access to the Get Golf Ready clinic series and personal instruction.
Courtesy of Fort Myers News Press

Lee County Impact fees going up and so will home prices

Lee County’s impact fees will hit 45 percent starting mid-March after a 4-1 vote Tuesday morning by commissioners.

On March 13, a reduction to 20 percent approved by commissioners in March 2013 will end, ushering in the 45 percent rate.

That’s about $5,840 to build a single- family home — or nearly double the $2,942 impact fee paid under the 20 percent reduction.

Impact fees are collected on building new homes and commercial buildings and can be used only for new capital projects, not improvements.

Commissioners reduced the rate to 20 percent in 2013 because of the recession that almost brought building to a standstill in the last part of the decade.

Tuesday was the conclusion of a nearly yearlong discussion of how impact fees should look for the next few years and a near repeat of the board’s Feb. 3 meeting.

At that meeting, commissioners heard from dozens of people requesting impact fees be restored to 100 per­ cent and asking commissioners to keep the fees low. 

On Tuesday, as the public hearing continued through the morning, speakers again expressed a wide range of opinions ranging from support of the existing 20 percent rate on up to restoration of the full 100 percent, which was in effect until two years ago. 

As they did at the Feb. 3 meeting, dozens of people representing the construction industry wore yellow plastic construction hats, with over a dozen also sporting bright blue shirts emblazoned with the Lennar Construction logo. 

“You need to keep impact fees as low as possible,” said Walter Fluegel, of Lennar Construction. 

Others — including Lee County School Board member Steve Teuber — said not charging the full fees was a detriment to the county because it meant having to find money elsewhere for infrastructure such as parks, roads and schools. 

Infrastructure “is the path to attracting jobs … and maintaining economic vitality,” said Brad Cornell, of Audubon Florida and Audubon of the Western Everglades. 

Some words were more blunt, a not-uncommon response during the impact fee conversation. 

“You are choosing to ignore what the vast majority of constituents need. … When you’re finished, don’t insult us with your justification speeches,” said North Fort Myers resident Jean Metcalfe. 

Metcalfe’s wish came true and, in a change from the discussion on Feb. 3, commissioners had nearly no comments on their votes. 

Frank Mann, the lone dissenting vote and a longtime opponent of impact fee reductions, simply thanked the dozens gathered for their politeness. At the Feb. 3 meeting, board Chairman Brian Hamman timed Mann’s impact fee soliloquy at 14 minutes. 

Mann’s feelings on impact fees were the most stringently antireduction, while his fellow commissioners all fell along the spectrum. Hamman and Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass said they wanted to keep fees lower than 100 percent, while Manning said at the Feb. 3 meeting a county staff recommendation of an 85 percent was acceptable. Commissioner Larry Kiker initially proposed the 45 percent rate. 

Before setting the 45percent rate, the board voted to accept the conclusions outlined in a commissioned. Those included changes to other impact fee schedules, including for multifamily homes — a 10.7 percent increase in the fee; and mobile home parks — a 76.1 percent increase. 

The division of fees will also change. 

The percentage of impact fees going to roads will decrease, while fees going to the school district will increase. 

The county is required under state law to review its impact fee rates every three years. Courtesy of News-Press

Fort Myers Beach Top 10 In USA

Fort Myers Beach
It's easy to tell how popular we are this time of year with all of our visitors and snowbirds finding sunshine on our shores. We cannot deny that we live and work in paradise. While our northern friends continue to brave the cold, we are enjoying warm temperatures and miles of white-sand beaches.
Our piece of paradise has not gone unnoticed. Journalists around the country are taking note and writing about our best assets. It's nice to read about why others like us as well. Here is some praise from some of the top publications in the country: Search Fort Myers Beach Real Estate
Family spring break destination
The HuffingtonPost.com named Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island, "5 Under-the-Radar Spring Break Getaways" featuring the islands in a roundup of "fantastic and family-friendly spring break destinations." What they said:
"This small Gulf Coast town (Fort Myers Beach) makes the perfect destination for a family looking for spring break fun and bathtub-warm ocean water. You can spend your entire vacation outside —on the beach, atop a bicycle, or in a boat. The island (Sanibel) is also home to the 'Ding' Darling Wildlife Refuge, one of the best places to see migratory birds in the United States."
Welcomed with open paws
Sanibel Island was recently ranked top 10 dog-friendly vacations in the United States by bringfido.com. The island was named for its pet friendly hotels, events, restaurants and parks and beaches for dogs to enjoy.
Fort Myers Beach ranks among the coolest small towns
Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel has included Fort Myers Beach as a finalist in their 10th annual America's Coolest Small Town contest. Fort Myers Beach is one of 15 finalists that made the list — and the only destination in Florida. What they said:
"Here, everybody knows everybody and you're never more than a mile or so from the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico." Courtesy Fort Myers NewsPress

Fort Myers and Naples area Foreclosures Fall

Foreclosure and mortgage delinquency rates in both the Fort Myers and Naples areas decreased in September, according to statistics released today by CoreLogic.
In the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area, the foreclosure rate dropped to 3.2 percent in September from 5.9 percent a year earlier. The 90-day delinquency rate fell to 6.3 percent from 9.8 percent during the same time period.
Naples-Marco Island saw a drop in the foreclosure rate to 2.5 percent from 4.9 percent and the delinquency rate fell to 4.9 percent from 8.1 percent.
In both areas, the delinquency and foreclosure rates were less than the overall rate in Florida but more than the United States as a whole.
In the country as a whole, the delinquency rate fell from 5.2 percent to 4.2 percent while the foreclosure rate fell from 2.3 percent to 1.6 percent.
Florida's delinquency rate fell from 12 percent to 8.6 percent and its foreclosure rate dropped from 7.6 percent to 4.3 percent.
The foreclosure rate as calculated by CoreLogic measures the percentage of loans in some stage of the foreclosure process — not the number of new filings.
According to the monthly reports of the Southwest Florida Real Estate Investors Association, lenders filed 166 foreclosure lawsuits in Lee County in September and 179 in October.
Foreclosures in Lee County increased sharply following the residential real estate price implosion that started in late 2005.
The rate of foreclosures reached its maximum of 2,665 in November 2008 during the worst days of Lee's real estate meltdown as homeowners and investors walked away from homes that were worth far less than their mortgages.
Article courtesy of Fort Myers News Press