Pending Home Sales Leap 5.5% in February

WASHINGTON (March 29, 2017) — Pending home sales rebounded sharply in February to their highest level in nearly a year and second-highest level in over a decade, according to the National Association of Realtors®. All major regions saw a notable hike in contract activity last month.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* www.nar.realtor/topics/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, jumped 5.5 percent to 112.3 in February from 106.4 in January. Last month’s index reading is 2.6 percent above a year ago, is the highest since last April (113.6) and the second highest since May 2006 (112.5).

https://www.nar.realtor/news-releases/2017/03/pending-home-sales-leap-55-in-february  

Easter Weekend Open House Saturday 10-1pm…..Egg-Ceptional Value, under $100 per SQ FT

The Top 3 Hottest Real Estate Markets

Trulia recently published its list of the 10 hottest real estate markets to watch in 2017, and-no surprise-several coastal markets made the list. Trulia based its ranking of the 100 largest metro areas across the country on five criteria: a high search interest, a decreasing rate of vacancy, high affordability, a high rate of job growth, and a high population of people happy with the outcome of the presidential election.

The “hottest” markets vary depending on who you talk to-Zillow’s ranking of the hottest markets of the year looked very different. But if you’re looking for coastal real estate in an affordable city that has few people moving out of it, this list of the hottest coastal markets of 2017 might offer some suggestions. If you’re looking to capitalize on the recovering housing market and purchase your dream coastal escape, consider these hot markets:

1. JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA

Number one overall and number one on the coastal list, Jacksonville has a high rate of job growth and high interest from out-of-towners looking to move there. Best of all, it’s more affordable than other, similar markets in the state.

2. CAPE CORAL-FORT MYERS, FLORIDA

Coming in at number two both overall and for coastal metro areas, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area on Florida’s Gulf Coast has the fourth-highest rate of job growth in the country and a falling vacancy rate as people flock to its sunny shores.

3. DELTONA-DAYTONA BEACH-ORMOND BEACH, FLORIDA

Number three for coastal areas and number three overall on Trulia’s list, this area on Florida’s Atlantic side has a rate of job growth to match the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area and a great ratio of people looking to move there vs. people looking to move away-not to mention its long, sunny days and high temperatures year-round.

4. TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG-CLEARWATER, FLORIDA

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area is on the Tampa Bay, on Florida’s Gulf side. It came in at five overall but is number four for coastal areas, with great job growth and affordability.

5. CHARLESTON-NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Charleston has been in the spotlight as a tourist hotspot so much lately that it’s not surprising that it’s also a great place to move. Ranked number seven overall and number five for coastal areas, this Lowcountry port city has a huge number of people looking to move there (while few are looking to move away), good affordability, and decent job growth-and an amazing culinary scene.

The next five coastal cities share the previous five’s high interest, good affordability, and job growth. Read on for the next best coastal areas to live:

6. NORTH PORT-SARASOTA-BRADENTON, FLORIDA

7. WEST PALM BEACH-BOCA RATON-DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA

8. FORT LAUDERDALE-POMPANO BEACH-DEERFIELD BEACH, FLORIDA

9. NEW ORLEANS-METAIRIE, LOUISIANA

10. SAN DIEGO-CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA

This article was originally published on CoastalLiving.com

Collier, Lee among Florida’s healthiest counties

Affluent St. Johns and Collier counties remain Florida’s healthiest communities, while the rural regions continue to suffer some of the highest rates of mental illness, substance abuse, and premature death, a new report finds.

Lee County ranks fairly high — now in 12th place in Florida — and is up from 20th place just two years ago, according to the 2017 County Health Rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The annual report assesses U.S. counties based on their economic health, crime, premature deaths, health insurance coverage, medical resources and a number of behavioral factors, such as smoking and drinking rates.

“We still have work to do in this community,” said Mary Andrews, who helps oversee community health initiatives for the Lee Health hospital system in Lee County. “But this type of information helps us design the types of plans that will be the most effective.”

Union County, home to about 16,000 residents and a maximum security prison, ranked last in Florida.

Some report highlights about Southwest Florida:

  • About 15 percent of Lee and Collier residents reported they were in “poor” or “fair” health. Florida’s overall rate is 17 percent.
  • Rates of obesity in Lee and Collier were 25 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Statewide, it’s 26 percent.
  • About 13 percent of Collier County adults smoke, and 16 percent do in Lee County. About 15 percent of all Florida adults still smoke.

The Healthy Lee initiative, a decade-old project to promote healthy living in Lee County, will produce its own report on the community’s health this summer.

While Lee County’s rankings have moved around year to year, Collier’s have consistently ranked high. It also earned the nation’s top spot in the Gallup-Healthways “well-being index.”

“It’s no surprise that Collier remains one of the healthiest counties to live in Florida,” said Stephanie Vick, administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Collier County, in a written statement. “We enjoy great weather year-round, have access to beautiful beaches and parks, have a robust health care system, opportunities to participate in community-wide health initiatives, enjoy low crime rates, and our children attend a healthy school system.”

Affluence is generally a good predictor of a community’s health ranking.  St. Johns and Collier counties have the highest median incomes in the state: $71,896 and $62,385, respectively.

While Union County’s median household income rate of $41,078 isn’t the lowest in Florida, it is below the state average.

But such lists can also overshadow a community’s deficiencies. For instance, about 26 percent of Collier County residents under 65 were uninsured in 2014 — the sixth highest rate in Florida.

“Sometimes a high-ranking county can kind of mask what’s going on,” said Kate Konkle, an associate researcher at the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. “Not everyone in the county may be feeling like that’s an accurate picture of what they’re experiencing.”

This year, the report took a deeper look at deaths among people younger than 75. Drug overdoses, particularly among opioid abusers, are behind a “dramatic increase” in deaths among 15- to 44-year-olds in recent years, the report found.

Experts had assumed this was predominantly a problem in small, rural areas, Konkle said.

“And it certainly is, but what our researchers found was that, actually, the suburban counties went from the lowest rates of premature deaths due to overdoses to the highest within a decade,” she said. “I think many of us were surprised to see that.”

The highest rates of drug overdose deaths in Florida were in Dixie (31 per 100,000 residents) and Manatee (29 per 100,000 residents) counties. Lee and Collier’s rates were 13 and 12 per 100,000 residents, respectively.

Forty-six Florida counties saw overall improvements in premature death rates, including Lee and Collier. Two, Citrus and Gilchrist, saw worsening rates.

Daniel’s Land Project

Changes in county land use rules that could bring another 2,000 homes to sites near Daniels Parkway will go before county commissioners in the coming weeks.

Neighbors of one are battling against the change, while the other faces little opposition.

A county panel that makes recommendations to county commissioners on changes in the Lee Plan, the county’s basic land planning document, has endorsed the development of 1,315 new homes on a site at Daniels and State Road 82 that’s currently a part of the protected Density Reduction/Groundwater Resource area.

The Local Planning Agency gave a negative recommendation to a county proposal that would rezone an area at Palomino and Apaloosa lanes off Daniels to allow an additional 693 housing units.


Read More:
New Daniel’s Complex

 

 

Forclosures Decline, Home Sales Up!

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The median price of an existing single-family home in Lee County was $200,000 in June — an 8.1 percent increase from $185,000 in June 2013.

Also, sales of existing homes in Lee County in June spiked up from the same period last year, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach. However, the number of sales and the size of inventory decreased slightly from May.

Steve Koffman, broker and associate for Century 21 Sunbelt Realty in Cape Coral, said only the median price is up.

“If you look at waterfront properties, those prices are looking pretty flat,” Koffman said.

In May, the median price for a house was $195,000.

In June, there were 1,213 single-family sales, up 15.3 percent from last years’ 1,052 sales. Despite the increase, single-family home sales are down 6.2 percent from May 2014’s 1,293 sales.

“Buyers, in general, are declining,” Koffman said.

Short sales and foreclosures made up 20.1 percent of single-family home sales in June, while traditional sales made up 79.9 percent. Short sales and foreclosuresmade up 22.3 percent of sales in May 2014.

“Foreclosures and short sales are declining,” he said. “Those were remnants of people affected by the real estate crash.”

In Collier County, the median price for a house rose to $392,000 from $322,000 in June 2013.

 

The existing homes market is starting to level off from the real estate crash eight years ago.

The inventory of single-family homes for sale in June was 5,229, up 5.5 percent from June 2013. June’s inventory was down 311 from May 2014.

Increased prices gives people a chance to put their homes up for sale and then become buyers.

 

Foreclosure rates in Cape Coral-Fort Myers decreased for the month of May over the same period last year.

Information compiled by CoreLogic reveals that the rate of Cape Coral-Fort Myers area foreclosures among outstanding mortgage loans was 4.02 percent for May, a decrease of 3.11 percent in May 2013 when the rate was 7.13 percent. Foreclosure activity in Cape Coral-Fort Myers was higher than the national foreclosure rate, which was 1.73 percent in May.

Also, the mortgage delinquency rate in Cape Coral-Fort Myers decreased. In May, 7.27 percent of mortgage loans were 90 days or more delinquent compared to 11.25 percent for the same period last year, representing a decrease of 3.98 percent.

Source: CoreLogic

Highlights from reports

  • Highlights from the June 2014 existing homes reports:
  • In Lee, the median price of condos increased 5.6 percent in June to $171,000 from the $162,000 it was in June 2013.
  • The percentage of sellers getting the original listing price was 92.8. This is a 1.1 percent decrease from the 93.8 percent it was in June 2013.
  • The median days home was on the market in June was 53. This is a 7 percent decrease from June 2013, which was 57 days.
  • In Collier, closed sales on houses jumped to 419 from 408 in June 2013. Sales at $2 million or more declined to 16 from 22 in June 2013.

Sources: Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and The Beach; Naples Area Board of Realtors

Foreclosures Stay Low in Lee County

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Lee County continued its streak of pre-recession-level foreclosure numbers in May while residential home permits for the month showed continuing strength. Lenders filed a mere 188 foreclosure lawsuits in May, according to statistics released Monday by the Southwest Florida Real Estate Investment Association. May’s number came on the heels of April’s 195 foreclosures, the lowest since mid-2006. That returned the county to a time before the avalanche of defaults that followed the implosion of home prices at the end of 2005. Complete numbers for home permits issued throughout the county weren’t available Monday but early indications were for a strong home construction market. Builders in unincorporated Lee County pulled 88 permits in May, up from 68 in April and 80 in May 2013. In Cape Coral, 56 permits were pulled. That was up from 54 in April and 42 in May 2014. “Welcome to the new normal,” said Jeff Tumbarello, director of the investment association and owner/broker of Steelbridge Realty in North Fort Myers. “We’re pretty much just a normal market again and with twice the national cash percentage, that’s a beautiful thing.”

Tim Rose, president of Fort Myers-based Arthur Rutenberg Homes, said May’s numbers reflect the number of new residences sold about two months earlier, when sales were solid but “relatively quiet.” However, he said, “The second quarter picked up quite a bit” both in Southwest Florida and around the state. The late season came as a surprise, Rose said. “It’s unusual. Nobody has been able to put their finger on it. Has the weather affected people being able to get down here?” Tumbarello said he expects the continuing drought in foreclosures to keep the market for existing homes tight without the constant flow of homes being taken back by lenders and re-sold. Also, he said, there should be upward pressure on prices because buyers won’t be able to buy cheap from banks forced to sell large numbers of houses they’ve taken back. “Now they’ve got to buy the home from the guy who’s owned it for who knows how many years and isn’t concerned with blowing it out like the bank,” Tumbarello said. Besides Cape Coral and Lee County, numbers were released by Sanibel (three permits) and Fort Myers Beach (one permit). Numbers from Fort Myers and Bonita Springs weren’t available Monday.

 

Zillow: Buy A Home In Southwest Florida

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To the age-old question of whether to buy or rent, Zillow has an answer: buy if you live in Southwest Florida.

The Seattle-based real estate data collector says in a recent survey that people in Lee, Collier, Charlotte and Hendry counties have better odds than most of the country of coming out ahead if they buy.

Nationally, buying is a good decision for people who plan to stay in the home for at least two years, according to an analysis of first-quarter financial data.

But what Zillow calls the “breakeven horizon” is much shorter here: 1.1 years for Lee County; 1.0 for Collier; 1.1 for Charlotte; and 0.7 for Hendry.

Commercial real estate agent Jim Garinger of Colliers International Southwest Florida said Zillow’s analysis is borne out by what he sees in the apartment complex market.

“Traditional apartment complex occupancy has become stronger over the past 12 months or so,” he said. “There’s been a significant increase across the board but especially in Class B apartments.”

As that’s happened, rents have increased as well, Garinger said.

The average apartment complex in the Fort Myers area in March had a vacancy rate of 96.7 percent, up 1.8 percent from March 2013, according to Carrollton, Texas-based ALN Apartment Data.

In the same period, the average monthly rent rose 7.9 percent to $920, ALN’s report says.

Even as occupancy rates and values rise for apartments, however, lenders are still skittish about financing multi-family housing, Garinger said.

“Lenders are still looking at comparable sales as distressed properties,” which makes them reluctant to finance purchases or new construction, he said.

That problem will resolve itself with time, Garinger said, but meanwhile “If you’re a renter, it’s a great time to buy if you can swing it. As occupancy rates increase, rents are increasing as well.”

Home prices are also going up and interest rates are still historically low, contributing to the advantage of buying, he said.

There’s no shortage of prospective home buyers.

The share of Americans who own their homes was 64.8 percent in the first quarter, down from 65.2 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau said. The rate is the lowest since the second quarter of 1995, when it was 64.7 percent.

Things to do in Southwest Florida: April 25-May 4

Friday

Jennifer’s 10th Annual Art of a Woman Exhibit A variety of works will be showcased, including abstract and realistic painting, contemporary raku clay creations, painted furniture and whimsical sculptures. All will be available for purchase. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. April 14-26 at Jennifer’s Fort Myers boutique, 13451 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, 481-8582

 

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Duo Romantico The singing couple performs opera, “popera,” musical-theater music and more at their last concert before going on tour. 7 p.m. $25. Italian-American Club of Cape Coral, 4725 Vincennes Blvd., Cape Coral. 332-1853

Rock the Dock This two-day event featuresfood and live entertainment by Deb and The Dynamics from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, followed Saturday by The Rachel Hughes Duo from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., the Cracker Blues Band from 2-5 p.m. and The Landsharks from 6-9 p.m. Marina at Edison Ford, 2360 W. First St., Fort Myers, 245-7320. marinaedisonford.com

 

Saturday

Balloons Over Paradise The two-day event features 60 hot-air balloons and performances by Sister Hazel, Rachel/Hughes Band and JJ McCoy. There will be delicious food, arts and crafts, tethered balloon rides, classic car show, dog agility performances, a polo exhibition and an equestrian drill team performance. 6 a.m.-noon. Seminole Tribe Youth Ranch Immokalee, 1195 State Road 29, Immokalee. 800-218-0007. seminoleimmokaleecasino.com

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• Fort Rock at JetBlue Park One of the biggest metal festivals to ever hit Southwest Florida. With 15 bands on two stages, the lineup includes Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Korn, Trivium, The Pretty Reckless, Lacuna Coil, Seether, Sick Puppies, Twelve Foot Ninja andBlack Stone Cherry. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. JetBlue Park, 11581 Daniels Parkway, Fort Myers. $54.50-$109.50 (excluding taxes and fees, prices subject to change). Parking: $15. Info: Fortrockfestival.com

 

Drive the Lane Celebrity Basketball Game This event is presented by MADD SWFL and Lee County Coalition for a Drug Free Southwest Florida. Hometown champions Earnest Graham and Jevon Kearse, as well as Jeff Dellenbach, Daunte Culpepper and Antonio Freeman, all former NFL players, will participate on the court. Our local heroes, law enforcement officers, firefighters, high school principals, coaches and student athletes will be their teammates. 1-4:30 p.m. $5 adults, $2 students. Bishop Verot High School 5598 Sunrise Drive, Fort Myers. 791-7560. madd.org/drivethelane

Fight for Air Stairclimb The Stairclimb raises money for the American Lung Association by collecting pledges to ascend the stairway of High Point Place, the tallest building between Tampa and Miami. Teams can practice on Saturday mornings once they’ve registered. $25 registration fee; each climber must raise $100. High Point Place, 2104 W. First St., downtown Fort Myers, 908-2685. fightforairclimb.org

Sunday

Sunday Blues Benefit Great food and music will be served up at The Heights Foundation’s Sunday Blues from 2-6 p.m. Musicians Randy Thomas, Danny Shepard and Doug Molloy will entertain guests and Jake Elwood and friends will make a special appearance. The buffet features The Blue Coyote’s creative and original menu items. $50 per person; sales of wine and the Bacon & Egg Bloody Mary will be donated to The Heights Foundation. Blue Coyote Supper Club, 1100 Par View Drive, Sanibel Island. 472-9222. heightsfoundation.org

Florida Gulf Coast University Chamber Choir in Concert Admission is free for this concert, however there will be a free-will offering during the performance. 4 p.m. North Naples United Methodist Church, 6000 Goodlette Road N., Naples, 593-7600.

Taste of North Fort Myers Sample local food and drinks while enjoying entertainment, a car show, free kids games and activities, free petting zoo, raffles and more. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $3 per person, free for ages 5 and younger. Shell Factory and Nature Park, 2787 N. Tamiami Trail, North Fort Myers. 997-9111. tasteofnorthfortmyers.com

 

Monday

Black & White Party, an Evening of Beauty & Fashion This event celebrates the new Redken Premiere School of Cosmetology. Features hair by Redken 5th Ave stylists, a catwalk fashion show provided by White House Black Market and Fantasy Makeup by Cara and the FL Academy. RSVP to floridaacademy.eventbrite.com. 6-8 p.m. Florida Academy of Massage and Skin Care, 4387 Colonial Blvd., Fort Myers, 489-2282.

Wednesday

Boz Scaggs The singer-songwriter is on tour in support of his new release “Memphis,” showcasing both original songs and choice covers. 7:30-9:30 p.m. $49.82-$81.62. Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, 8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers, 481-4849 or bbmannpah.com

Thursday

Prism Concert The Fort Myers High School music department will be divided into its varied components. You will hear and see the full instrumental, choral, dance groups, and a variety of soloists and small ensembles. 7 p.m May 1-2. $8. Fort Myers High School, 2635 Cortez Blvd, Fort Myers, 334-2167. fmhsgreenwave.net

• ArtsNaples World Festival Venetian Masquerade This event kicks off the weeklong arts festival in Naples. An Italian Carnevale atmosphere combines with a gourmet multicourse dinner and unique musical surprises. Guests’ attire to be Black Tie & Mask, or Masquerade Costumes. 7-10 p.m. Individual tickets $350 or $2,400 table for 8. The Club at Olde Cypress, 7165 Treeline Drive, Naples. 888-613-8488. ArtsNaples.org

May 2

Digital Lee Showcase 2014 A design and technology showcase of the most exceptional student projects from the Lee County Public School District. This year’s exhibit will debut on May 2 at 6 p.m. The competition is open to Lee County’s middle school, high school and post-secondary programs in graphic design, animation, publication design and Web design. Artwork will be displayed until May 22. Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, 2301 First St., downtown Fort Myers, 939-6326. digital-lee.com

• Art Walk The free, monthly art event takes place from 6-10 p.m. the first Friday of every month. Art galleries and other businesses stay open late for art shows, live music, an after party and more. Downtown Fort Myers. fortmyersartwalk.com

May 3

13th Annual Free Comic Book Day A single day when participating comic book shops across North America give away free, specially produced comic books. Comics Cards and Stuff will promote the event with a large sale raffle and special giveaways, along with appearances by several “superheroes” and Star Wars Stormtroopers. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Comics Cards & Stuff, 3563 Fowler St., Fort Myers. 939-0878. facebook.com/fortmyerscomics

May 4

19th Annual Taste of the Beach featuring Baywalk Blues Festival Restaurants along Old San Carlos Boulevard, on Fort Myers Beach, will offer samples of their signature dishes and compete for top Taste of the Beach Award honors. Gates open at 11 a.m. Food will be served until it runs out or at 5 p.m. Tickets will be available on site. Admission is $5 for adults and children over 12. Food tickets are $1 each with a $5 average food serving price. 454-7500. tasteoffortmyersbeach.com

Third Annual International Food Festival Sample international cuisine from eight Mercato restaurants and enjoy live music. Most menu items will be priced less than $6. Kids’ Zone available featuring bounce house, arts and crafts and many other fun activities. Location: lawn next to MASA. Noon-4 p.m. Mercato Shops, 9115 Strada Place, Naples, 254-1080. mercatoshops.com/event/3rd-annual-international-food-festival/2145431190

Fleamasters’ Best-Dressed Chihuahua Contest event begins at 1:30 p.m. with registration beginning at 11 a.m. Enjoy a special performance by the Calendar Girls Dance Team at noon. Registration is $10 per dog. Fleamasters Fleamarket, 4135 Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Fort Myers, 334-7001. fleamall.com

The Heights Foundation and Lee Reefs Present LionFish Fest – Feast on the Beast On Sunday, May 4 from 2-5 p.m. Join celebrated local chefs from Crave Culinaire, Three Fishermen, Red’s Seafood, Cru and The Timbers, as they present a unique twist on Florida fare. Guests will vote for their favorite dish. The event will include door prizes, fun auction items, a signature tropical drink and live music, as well as displays about Lionfish and our reefs. Mitch and Billy of ScubaNation television will be on hand showing their underwater videos. Katie Walls of WINK News will emcee the event. Admission is $50 per person, children under 12 are admitted free. Harlem Heights Cultural Arts and Community Center, 15570 Hagie Drive, Fort Myers, 482-7706. heightsfoundation.org

Lee County Home Sales Jump In March

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TechVenture Real Estate is happy to inform you that Single-family-home sales jumped in March, according to statistics released today by the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach.

A total of 1,068 homes were sold in March, up 37.1 percent from 779 in February.
However, the March sales were down 7.1 percent from March 2013, when 1,150 were sold.
The median sales price was $185,000 in March, the same as February but up 8.8 percent from March 2013.

Median price for condominiums in March was $162,000, up 4.5 percent from $155,000 in February.
Single-family homes spent a median of 48 days on the market before coming under contract in March, and the average home sold for 93 percent of its listing price. In March 2013 those numbers were 54 days and 93.6 percent.