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 good ole days……. so they thought

Like any frontier town, Cape Coral’s first businesses included a grocery, a bank, a newspaper and, well, like any Florida frontier town, a realty—aptly named Wonderland Realty, as most early buyers were wondering what they had gotten themselves into. They seemed to be abandoned in the middle of a strip-mining operation. In one direction, nothing but miles of white sand and raw canal banks; in the other, glittering water. They were marooned in “Wonderland.”  more

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

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.

 

Today’s Closets Are Anything But…

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More than 100 years ago a hook on the back of the door was all a person usually needed for their clothes. When closets first came in fashion at the beginning of the 20th century they were just little recesses in the wall.

These reach-in closets were about 3 feet deep, 4 feet wide and were composed of only a rod and a shelf above. The last two decades of the century came with a new trend in walk-in closets; a simple narrow space with clothes hanging on either side.

About a decade ago his-and-her walk in closets became the popular trend. Those closets still were simply a place to hang clothes and maybe a few shelves.

That’s now changed in Southwest Florida’s upscale homes, where closets are now almost as large as a room. These closets feature built-in cabinets with everything from drawers and shelves to specialty items.

“Closets are one of the new big things,” said Rob Woods, vice president of Michelangelo Custom Homes. “The well-heeled buyer does not want to feel cramped, especially the women, but now even the men.”

That’s why the closets in the Michelangelo Maison Coco model stretch most of the length of the hallway outside of the bedroom and are quite spacious inside.

The closet in London Bay’s Brighton model in Quail West is one of the most deluxe around. Along with shelves, drawers and hanging areas around the entire room, there is also an island with more drawers and shelves below and a huge countertop. There are three closets with mirrored fronts that pull out to form a three-way mirror. It has a pullout ironing board and even a window bench for relaxing.

“Our people just have a lot of clothes,” real estate agent Teri Speech said about her clients. “They are wealthy people. They would rather have a big separate closet than to transport everything.”

It’s not just single-family homes showcasing all the extra closet space. In the Aqua condos in North Naples, the closets are also like entire rooms.

“Luckily our wardrobe down here does not require four changes of seasons,” It’s shorts and golf attire, said Darline Hillard, director of sales for Aqua. “But they still want their closet space.”

Michael Hawkins, co-owner of EBL, a North Naples based business, says customers use their closets for more than storage and a place to put clothes.

“We’re seeing that more and more, people want it as a dressing room,” Hawkins explained.

While the trend started with homes in the $1 million-plus range, now homes around Lee and Collier counties that are far below that price are highlighting the extra closet space.

“There’s a big demand for closet space. This is one of the biggest closets for the size of the house,” said Diana Ibarria, senior vice president of the Naples division of CC Devco Homes, as she showed off a model home at Maple Ridge in Ave Maria.

Builders give a variety of reasons for the need for closet space. Some say the lack of basements and attics makes more storage areas a must, while others believe that people are just buying more clothes.

“His-and-her closets are a must these days,” said Jason Tracey of Tracey Quality Building in Cape Coral. In Florida you don’t have anywhere to store things. I get a lot of requests to make the bedroom a little smaller and the closets a little bigger.”

“We’re all buying more things. The master suite has larger closets,” added Dan Dodrill of Daniel Wayne Homes as he showed off his model in Horse Creek in Buckingham.

Even the interior design of these giant closets has changed from a shelf and rod to complete custom cubbies, shelves, shoe areasand more. Experts say it’s all part of their customer’s desire for better organization and an elegant space to dress each morning.

“We had to enlarge houses because people want bigger closets,” said David Gydosh, owner of Tundra Homes.

 

Lee County Real Estate Enters the Moderation Era

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Both foreclosures and new-home permits were little changed in February in Lee County as the real estate economy settled into something approaching normal after the wild swings of the past decade.

Contractors in the county pulled 213 single-family home permits in the month, up only slightly from 209 in January, the county’s municipalities reported Monday.

Meanwhile, lenders in the county filed 223 mortgage foreclosure lawsuits, about the same as the 216 in January,, according to statistics released Monday by the Southwest Florida Real Estate Investors Association.

There’s little chance foreclosures will rebound to the levels they reached six years ago when investors and home buyers were abandoning their mortgages, said Jeff Tumbarello, director of the association and owner/broker of North Fort Myers-based Steelbridge Realty.

At present, he said, “Over 60 percent of the home sales are cash. At some point there’s just not enough leverage to do it.”

Bob Knight, vice president and co-owner of Cape Coral-based Paul Homes, said the month’s steady numbers showed there was relatively strong demand three months ago when those home buyers were signing the deals that led to February’s permits.

Now, he said, further growth will depend in part on getting enough qualified tradesmen back in the market to support the “nice normal pace of 400” homes per month that the county sees in a healthy housing market.

That hasn’t happened yet, Knight said, because the plumbers and electricians who were working during the boom by and large have either gone on to new occupations or left the area entirely.

Now the construction jobs here are back but some of those workers are reluctant to get back into the business – still wary of another crash.

Even so, Knight said, the industry is starting to ramp up as demand grows: Some developers are building “on spec” (without a specific buyer committed. “Quite a few are rolling out right now and they’re being absorbed.”

Tumbarello said that normal market forces are starting to reassert themselves after years when foreclosures and a huge inventory of unsold homes created atypical conditions.

“Right now you’re looking at a rational market that’s driven by supply and demand, buyers and sellers,” he said.

Another wild wave of construction likely won’t happen now, Tumbarello said, because in most areas the price of existing homes still isn’t as high as the cost of replacing a typical home with new construction.

Average Home Upsized Post-Recession

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The average new-home size has increased more than 300 square feet since 2009, growing from 2,362 square feet in 2009 to 2,679 square feet in 2013, according to recently released Census Bureau data.

With that added square footage, new homes are adding more bedrooms, bathrooms, and amenities than they had in 2009.

Forty-eight percent of homes built in 2013 had four bedrooms compared to 34 percent with that number in 2009.

Thirty-five percent of homes in 2013 had three or more full baths compared to 23 percent in 2010.

Also, homes today are also accommodating more garage space. Twenty-two percent of homes built in 2013 had garage space to fit three cars or more compared to 16 percent in 2010.

The amenities that builders say they are most likely to include in new homes are a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, low-e windows, a laundry room, and a great room, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Amenities favored by many builders are granite countertops, double sinks, and a central island in kitchens, as well as nine-foot or higher ceilings, a front porch, exterior lighting, and a patio.

Bigger homes are also meaning higher prices. The average sales price rose from $248,000 in 2009 to $318,000 in 2013.

At the bottom of the list of features that builders will include in new homes in 2014, according to NAHB: laminate kitchen countertops, an outdoor kitchen, an outdoor fireplace, a sunroom, a two-story foyer, and a whirlpool in the master bathroom.