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Naples Housing Market Amongst Nations Healthiest

Posted by Benjamin Dona on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 at 11:08am.

Naples Housing Market Amongst Nations Healthiest in 2014The Naples area housing market (including Bonita Springs and Estero) is one of the healthiest in the country according to a new report produced by John Burns Real Estate Consulting. The California based national marketing research firm said "strong demand from second home buyers and retirees (up 30% year over year) have been pushing prices up an average 0.5% a month,"  according to the company's proprietary Burns Home Value Index.

Last year, flights to Southwest Florida International (RSW) airport experienced their largest increase since 2007, the consulting firm noted, which generally correlates into higher vacation home sales. Tight inventory and strong employment growth - the highest for any city in the country in December at 7.7% - "bodes well for the Naples area for the rest of the year,"  predicts the reports author Lesley Deutch. January's and February's job growth has remained strong at 5.9% and 6% respectively.

Another report by RealtyTrac, showed that the real estate markets in 95% of U.S. Counties are better off now than at the height of the foreclosure crisis four years ago. The study analyzed median home prices, percentage of bank owned (foreclosure) sales, and the median household income in 410 Counties from 2006-2014. According to the data, the depth of the housing crisis here in Southwest Florida came in 2010. In that year, bank owned sales accounted for 18% of the real estate sales transactions in Collier County and 30% of sales in Lee County. The median housing price fell to $82,000 in 2010 in Lee, from $239,050 in 2006. In Collier County, the median housing price in 2010 was $165,000, down from $385,000 in 2006.

This year the housing market has significantly recovered. The median price of homes sold so far in 2014 in Collier County is $225,000. In Lee Coutny the median price is at $141,500. Bank owned sales have decreased to 5% of sales in Collier and 14% in Lee. Currently, out of roughly 6,500 total active listings available for sale in these three market areas (Naples, Bonita springs and Estero), only 305 are short sales and/or foreclosures.

Downsides do exist though, even in a healthy market. Responding to the area's favorable factors, builders are offering fewer incentives and discounts, and existing home sale prices are rising at an extraordinary pace (up an average of 23% in February year over year). Florida is one of only four states where NAR is reporting that real estate practitioners are predicting the biggest price increases (estimated at 5% to 7% for 2014) in the nation. And, available inventory in many price ranges is also very slim indeed. The days of "really good"  buys are long gone and buyers now have to settle for just "good"  buys in most instances.

Though the area is healthy now, Deutch added the firm is "carefully watching the Naples area market for signs of overheating."

So are we Ms. Deutch, so are we.

Some Sales Data Statistics from SWFL MLS.

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