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Florida Real Estate: Heading into 2012

Posted by Benjamin Dona on Saturday, December 31st, 2011 at 3:47pm.

Florida Real Estate: Heading into 2012After our last post reviewing some of the major stories that affected the Florida real estate market in 2011, we thought we would give you a rundown of some additional news items as we head into 2012 here in Southwest Florida.

  • The website TripAdvisor.com has named Fort Myers the No. 3 destination in its list of "Destinations on the Rise." Their review cites the deep-sea fishing, white beaches and golf courses as major reasons for travelers to choose Fort Myers. It also notes the renovation of the downtown area has helped to make the city a more prominent choice for visitors.
  • The Fort Myers area was also ranked in the top 5 as one of the best markets to invest in rental property by the Local Market Monitor and HomeVestors of America, Inc., better known as the "We Buy Ugly Houses" company.
  • Both Lee and Collier counties have fallen dramatically in terms of the national foreclosure rankings as we end 2011. Lee County, which includes the cities of Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Estero and Bonita Springs, has fallen to 24th and Collier County, which includes Naples has fallen to 39th in the rankings. That's quite an improvement over almost always being included in the Top 10 over the last few years.
  • Mortgage rates hit an all time low this month - 3.91% for a 30-year fixed rate. So, if you're in need of financing, rates are currently at unbelievably good levels.
  • Builders have jumped back on the new construction bandwagon here in Southwest Florida. There are at least five new communities set to break ground in 2012 offering over 8,000 new properties to the marketplace.
  • While you may have missed the bottom, there are still good opportunities available. Just not in the quantities that we saw in the last couple of years. Inventory levels have fallen well below the peaks of both the boom and the bust. Naples inventory dropped 18% year over year and is down over 30% from its high. Fort Myers inventory has fallen 34% year over year and is down over 52% from its high.
  • Falling inventories mean short supply and that leads to rising prices, which is already occurring in many Southwest Florida areas and in almost all price ranges. According to a Realtor.com survey, the Fort Myers and Cape Coral market ranked sixth nationwide for rising median home prices, up over 24% year over year.
  • While the downturn in the residential housing market was prolific, the commercial side of things has been fairly stable. Investors seeking multi-family unit investments are seeing low vacancy rates and very competitive rental rates, both of which are leading to nice near-term returns.

The bottom line is the market here in Southwest Florida continues to change, both for the good and the bad. Your outlook really depends on whether you're a buyer or a seller. For those of us who work in this terrific marketplace, we'd say the future looks so bright, you definitely have to wear shades.

Happy New Year to all! It looks like it's going to be a great year here in Southwest Florida.

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About the Author

Gulf Coast Associates, RealtorsBenjamin Dona is the Broker and Owner of Gulf Coast Associates, Realtors in Bonita Springs, Florida. He holds two advanced degrees, an MBA and an MA, and has an extensive background in both business and marketing. In 1998, he founded Gulf Coast Associates, and formed a group of like-minded Realtor® associates dedicated to offering professional Southwest Florida real estate services by concentrating on information, education and the use of leading edge technologies. He also is a recognized expert on the "Net," a much-quoted and read blog author, and a contributor to both national and international news outlets. Benjamin is a member of the National Association of Realtors, the Florida Association of Realtors, and numerous local real estate boards throughout Southwest Florida.

Contact Benjamin Dona at 239-948-3955



3 Responses to "Florida Real Estate: Heading into 2012"

Jenny Alan wrote:
I have to say that this article is something to give all of us hope for the new year. The only thing that concerns me is an additional wave of bank foreclosures, which has also been something we keep hearing a buzz about... let's pray that doesn't come to pass.

Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2012 at 2:26am.

Ron Nedd wrote:
I'm really glad to hear that things are picking up in Ft. Myers. I had family that lived there until my parents passed away and I liked the area but saw how hard it got hit when the market turned. We've been seeing some good improvements up here in the Tampa Bay area and I hope that the Ft. Myers and Cape Coral area continue to see strengthening in the market.

Posted on Friday, January 6th, 2012 at 6:13pm.

Veronica Gonzales wrote:
We just visited Florida and if I could I would purchase a vacation home before prices really start to climb. Again! I recently read that Florida is the place of the future for investing in Real Estate. Here in Albuquerque I expect that we have begun to see some stability in our market. Good Luck in 2012. I think 2012 will be the beginning of brighter days.

Veronica Gonzales

Posted on Saturday, March 10th, 2012 at 4:11pm.



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