Naples Daily News - June Fletcher - 20 October 2016
Single-family homes in the Naples area had the slowest price growth in the state in September, a new report on existing homes says.
Florida Realtors said Thursday that single-family home prices grew 0.7 percent in the Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island area, to $399,588 from $397,000 in the year-earlier month. That's the smallest increase out of the 22 metro areas the trade group tracks.
But Cape Coral-Fort Myers single-family prices appreciated 7.2 percent, to $222,500 from $210,000.
Bonita Springs broker real estate agent Michael Burke said the difference is due to the fact that Collier County buyers are often out-of-towners looking for second homes, while those buying in Lee County tend to be workers looking for something affordable and practical.
“The ‘need to buy’ market is increasing, but the ‘want to buy’ market is slacking off,” he said.
He also said that the negative presidential campaign is deterring some buyers from making a move in both counties.
“We’re seeing buyers waiting in the shadows for the election to be over,” he said.
Both metro areas underperformed the state, where single-family homes hit to $222,500 from $199,900 the year before, an 11.3 percent increase.
Florida Realtors’ chief economist Brad O’Connor said in the report that throughout the state, the composition of single-family homes was “quite different — and in a good way” from last year. This year there are far fewer foreclosures and cash sales.
“If our housing markets are going to return to some semblance of what many might term normalcy, it’s vital that both of these trends continue,” O’Connor said.
Southwest Florida’s town house and condo prices also underperformed the statewide median, the trade group said.
Statewide, median sale prices of these multifamily units hit $160,000, an increase of 6.7 percent over $150,000 in September 2015.
But in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area they dropped 3 percent, to $180,000 from $185,000.
Burke said the current popularity of single-family homes is taking a bite out of the multifamily market in Lee County.
“There’s been a shift in the market, and buyers feel they can get more bang for their buck buying single-family,” he said.
But in the Naples area, town house and condo prices overall were up 5.5 percent, to $251,000 from $238,000.
Multifamily prices in the Naples area fell in all price ranges except the top and the bottom of the market, where demand remains high.
At a meeting of the Naples Area Board of Realtors discussing the latest statistics, Coco Waldenmayer noted that condo prices at the low end were rising because there were fewer distressed properties available.
But the price elevation at the high end — up 29 percent in the $2 million-and-up range in September — was partly due to the lack of new product close to the beach.
“Baby boomers are not looking to downsize; they’re looking to simplify,” she said. “A lot are moving into large-size condos.”
Closed sales fell both statewide and in Southwest Florida in September over the year, Florida Realtors said.
Statewide, closed sales of single-family homes were down slightly at 0.5 percent, to 22,704 from 22,813.
In Cape Coral-Fort Myers, they fell 6.8 percent, to 1,005 from 1,078, while in the Naples area they dropped 16.3 percent, to 354 from 423.
Similarly, statewide closed sales of town houses and condos dropped to 8,818 from 9,179, a 3.9 percent decline.
Southwest Florida followed suit, with a 9.6 percent drop in multifamily in Cape Coral-Fort Myers, to 425 from 470. In the Naples area, closed sales fell 15.8 percent, to 324 from 385.
Pending sales, a sign of future activity, also were trending down from a year ago.
But Naples broker Mike Hughes cautioned that these numbers were down from what had been a banner year in 2015, and they also don’t reflect an influx of new construction in the market.
“Things aren’t always what they seem,” he said. “Overall, we’re having a very good year.”
Statewide, overall inventory levels and days on the market continued to creep up, while the number of cash buyers declined, Florida Realtors said. A similar trend held true for Southwest Florida.
Naples appraiser Cindy Carroll said that’s good news for buyers, who can expect more selection and less competition from investors and others.
And it’s also a sign that sellers need to take a hard look at their direct competition in the market when pricing their properties.
But she added: “We should not interpret these statistics as negative. We’re exactly where we’re supposed to be in the cycle at this time.”