March 23, 2016

Lee, Collier real estate sales slump in February

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:56 am by Keith Knutsson

While Lee County real estate prices continued their upward trajectory in February, sales took a nosedive, according to a Tuesday report.

City for city, every Lee locality saw a drop in home and condo sales led by Sanibel/Captiva, and median prices increased in all markets except Sanibel.

The county is not alone. Naples area home sales saw the biggest percentage drop in the state, according to Florida Realtors.

February’s numbers, while lower than last year’s, are typical for the period, Realtors said.

“Our top of the season for closed sales runs March through November.” said Jeff Miloff, managing broker for Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group. “That’s when the real buyers and sellers come out.”

Many sellers anticipate the season by putting property on the market early in January and February, asking higher than market prices, Miloff observes. As the season winds down, their prices come down, too.

“Buyers are aware of that behavior, and act accordingly,” he said.

February by the numbers

Lee County Realtors closed 825 home sales in February, down 12.5 percent; while condo sales were down 26 percent from this time last year.

In Collier County, home sales fell 16.8 percent for the same period.

February also marked the 51st consecutive month Lee median home prices increased  — a 12 percent jump, from $194,000 to $216,810 for single-family homes.

The median Lee condo price rose to virtually the same as home prices: $192,000.

The median Naples area home rose 17.9 percent to $460,000, the highest median price in Florida.

But the region’s most affordable single-family homes in Lehigh got a bigger median price bump — from  $95,000 to $132,000 in February, up 38.9 percent.

Pine Island also grew its median home price dramatically: from $182,000 to $260,000, a 43 percent increase in one year.

THE NEWS-PRESS
See Southwest Florida’s top ten home sales of 2015

Brighter days ahead, Realtors say

While he didn’t give exact figures, “March has picked up with a vengeance,” reported Roger Brunswick, a Realtor with John R. Wood Properties and president of the Bonita/Estero Association of Realtors.

Brunswick thinks part of the early real estate market jitters shadowed the stock market, which took a 9 to 10 percent hit in January and February.

“The stock market has recovered its losses. It’s ahead of where it ended in December,” he said. “It’s also spring time; the time of year snowbirds are looking to buy.”

The Canadian dollar being down was another big factor in February’s numbers, Brunswick said.  Canadian buyers are a large percentage of the discretionary buyers in south Lee and Naples, and their weaker currency is an incentive to wait rather than pounce on a second home.

But Realtors from Lee to Collier said their March sales are looking so good they may make up for February’s shortfalls.

And they agree home and condo price increases will slow to around 7 percent this year.

http://www.news-press.com/story/news/2016/03/22/lee-collier-real-estate-sales-slump-february/82119280/

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