Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

May 14, 2020

Housing forecast 2020

Forecast: Year of Housing Market Ups and Downs

What happens when pent-up demand meets a pandemic? Realtor economist predicts a hot late summer RE market, a fall slowdown and another hot market in spring 2021.

It’s hard to predict what will happen in the real estate market if you can’t predict what will happen with the COVID-19 pandemic, but realtor Chief Economist Danielle Hale revised her 2020 predictions this week.

At the heart of her estimate is that the pandemic will recede slowly this summer followed by a rebound in the fall, and the pent-up buyer demand will drive the market forward during those times when COVID-19’s spread has slowed.

 

HOUSING MARKET SHOWS SIGNS OF A THAW

Strong buyer demand hasn’t faded. The 2020 real estate market will be shaped like the letter “W”, with clearly defined high and low points. The updated forecast predicts an uptick in transactions during the third quarter driven largely by millennials, but 2020 total home sales will be down 15% year-to-year.

The forecast also expects home prices to flatten nationally as demand shifts to the secondary markets that offer buyers more affordability and space. Rebounding in July, August and September as fears of the coronavirus taper off and buyers return to the market to make up for the lost spring homebuying season. Sales will then dip again in the final months of the year as virus infections spike and the lingering impact of high unemployment rates are felt.

“The U.S. housing market started 2020 with substantial momentum, “With some of the best home sales and housing starts in more than a decade, our biggest challenge going into the spring home-buying season was a lack of for sale homes.”

The pandemic has, thus far, maintained the balance between buyers and sellers – though with fewer of both – and that has preserved market values.

“As cities and states begin the slow process of reopening, we’re going to see a see-saw recovery with ups and downs that will favor the nation’s secondary markets in the short-term. After experiencing life under quarantine, many buyers are searching for affordability and greater space, which is driving demand out of the nation’s largest metros and into surrounding smaller towns.”

The updated forecast projects mortgage rates to drop to new lows below 3% by the end of the year, primarily driven by an accommodating Fed and tepid economic outlook. While rates will be favorable, however, lenders’ qualifying criteria will be tougher than normal as they try to mitigate their own risks amid unfolding economic uncertainty.

Predictions are that home prices will flatten, increasing just 1.1% for the calendar year – but the inventory of for-sale homes will remain tight, and buyers will have trouble finding available homes for sale. However, homebuyers should have less competition from all-cash investment buyers than they did during the 2008 recession where they dominated the market.

Sellers will face their own array of 2020 challenge, a well-priced home would normally generate multiple offers, but that may not be the case this year. Sellers who need to sell a current home in order to move up or downsize will find the dual process especially difficult compared to prior years.

5 factors that will drive the rest of the 2020 real estate market:

Baby boomers – Many boomers have held onto properties longer than expected, and they may decide to postpone a home sale even longer until things return to normal – a move that will further constrict the number of homes for sale.

Millennials – Millennials will continue to be the market’s dominant buying force. Because their home purchases are less discretionary, their share of the market will continue to grow. Predictions are that millennials will make up 50% of home purchases in 2020, but this number could grow if older generations decide to step back from the market.

Secondary markets – Secondary markets throughout the U.S. with resilient jobs markets could see greater than normal demand as buyers continue to search for affordability and additional space. As these markets heat up, we also expect to see a change to the mix of homes available for sale nationwide. As the mix of homes for sales shifts, we could see the national listing price decline to reflect the change towards more affordable homes.

Election – The 2020 presidential election will be a wild card. Historically, economic strength is a good predictor of how people will vote.

Global economy – The global economy will be key this year. The U.S. is heavily dependent on imports and exports, so if the global economy struggles, the U.S. will feel the impact.

2020 Florida Realtors

Posted in Market Updates
May 11, 2020

Green living - Efficient Lighting

Green living BIR

 

When you step into a hardware store, you’re faced by a wall of energy efficient lighting

choices, including CFLs (compact fluorescents) and LEDs (light-emitting diodes).

Both are replacements for the phased-out incandescent bulbs. Keep these five things

in mind as you re-light your home with these more efficient bulbs:

 

1. Energy and cost

 

Though upfront costs for LEDs and CFLs are higher than the old incandescent bulbs, the payback comes

through longer life and lower energy costs. Energy Star-rated LEDs use at least 75% less energy

and last 25 times longer than a 60W incandescent bulb. With LEDs operating costs at about $1.00 a

year, it’s possible to save $135 in electricity costs over the life of the bulb. Energy Star CFLs use about 75%

less energy and last ten times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Annual operating costs run about $1.20.

 

Tip: CFLs contain a small amount of mercury. Don’t toss them in the trash. Instead, recycle them through

a qualified recycler. If you break a CFL, clean it up carefully

 

2. Styles

 

CFLs and LEDs can be swapped for decorative lights, halogens, recessed fixtures, and tube bulbs.

Use them for any function you used incandescents, and some new functions that are more tech-savvy.

Some LEDs allow you to program styles that promote relaxation or focus.

 

3. Lumens in, watts out

 

CFLs and LEDs are measured in lumens—the amount of light a bulb puts out—not in watts. Make sure to

choose bulbs with the right lumens for your needs.

 

For example:

 

•Replace a 40-watt incandescent with a CFL or LED bulb that provides 450 lumens

 

•Replace a 75-watt incandescent bulb with a CFL or LED bulb that provides 1,100 lumens.

 

4. Light quality

 

Check a bulb’s Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) to get either warm or cool light. Light color is

measured on a temperature scale called Kelvin (K). Lower Kelvin numbers provide warmer yellow light

and higher ones are associated with cool, bluer or whiter lights. Choose:

 

•2200K to 3000K for soft or warm light that is similar to incandescent bulbs

 

•3500K to 4100K for neutral or cool white, appropriate for kitchens and work spaces

 

•5000K to 6500K for the look of daylight that works well for reading.

 

5. Color Rendering Index

 

The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a scale that ranges from 0 to 100, indicating how the color of objects and

skin will look with a given bulb. Bulbs with higher CRIs help things look closest to their true colors.

 

 

Posted in Home building
June 13, 2019

Home inspection

Most buyers and sellers know that a home inspection is an essential part of the purchase process. But in real estate, there's more than just one type of inspection to consider. In fact, there are dozens.

Whether you're purchasing a new home or investment property, selling your current home or trying to build equity in the house you're already in, here are the top five inspections you should know about.

Pre-purchase inspections are the most common. They include a full assessment of a property's systems and structure, and they offer the buyer a full report of any repairs or issues that need attention. The buyer can use this report as a negotiating tool to have the seller address any repairs before closing or to lower the sales price to reflect the necessary repair costs.

Pre-listing inspections are performed to give sellers a checklist of repairs to consider before listing the home. They can also help them gauge how much to list their property for, given its condition.

Feature-specific inspections are performed on a home's various features or systems. Some examples include inspections for swimming pools, septic tanks and wells.

Termite or wood-destroying insect inspections are needed if wood-eating pests are common in your area. Damage from these bugs can lead to costly repairs. Often, a buyer's inspector will recommend a termite inspection if they see specific signs of damage.

Municipal or COO inspections are required by municipalities to show that a newly constructed home or a home that has undergone major renovations is fit for occupancy. A municipal inspector will focus on the home's electrical, plumbing, building and fire code compliance to issue a certificate of occupancy.

May 30, 2019

Solar steel home

Steel solar home, offered at an affordable price!

The longtime East Naples businessman built the home so he could offer it as a more affordable and environmentally friendly place to live in Collier County. He plans to sell the house to one of his crew leaders for $300,000. He built the prototype single-family home — made out of metal — because he grew tired of seeing so many workers in town including teachers, firefighters, nurses and other essential employees, struggling to find an obtainable place to live in the county. 

The home is made from pre-engineered, pre-insulated steel panels. Henderson used the same building materials, supplied by Star Building Systems in Oklahoma City, for both projects.

Henderson estimates the monthly mortgage payment for the new home at $1,300. That compares to $3,700 to rent the average house and $1,700 to rent a smaller two-bedroom apartment, with one bathroom, in Collier County, he said. According to the latest report by Florida Realtors, the median price for existing homes, or resales, in Collier County rose by more than 4% to $499,500 in April. The median is the price at which half the homes sell for more and half for less. With a roof and walls of steel and storm-resistant windows and doors, the home has been built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with 180 mph winds.

The house can take care of itself. Solar panels on the roof of the 1,500-square-foot home produce more power than the home needs, which will allow the owner to send energy back into the power grid and greatly reduce his monthly electric bill. Twenty solar panels on the roof produce 6.4 kilowatts of power, which on average is expected to generate 24 kwh per day. That's enough to cover power bills in the range of $100 to $130 per month. 

"We make so much electricity here, it's almost like a factory," Henderson said. With the installation of a simple adapter, he said, the owner of the home could charge an electric car and never have to pay a gas bill. No wood was used in the structure, so Henderson said termites would "starve to death" if they ever got inside the home.  

The house doesn't have soffit or any exterior openings in any part of the walls or roofing, and there isn't an attic, making it waterproof, Henderson said."There are no trusses. All of the other houses require trusses," he said.

Recent data shows there's been a 15% increase in building metal homes, although they're still few and far between when compared to the number of traditional homes. With a modern industrial feel, the house has exposed metal beams throughout and vaulted ceilings. It was staged by a local interior designer, with simplicity in mind. 

Also, there's little waste with the assembly of the home. described the prototype home as a great concept that's waterproof, windproof, fireproof and insect-proof. 

"Maintenance, upkeep and recurring expenses, like power and insurance, all factor into a home’s affordability. With a product that has virtually no power bill, significant insurance savings, and little to no maintenance required, it allows buyers to stretch their housing dollars further," he said.

Henderson qualified to have his building permits and inspections fast-tracked in the county, which helped speed up the building schedule. 

By selling the home to an employee with a moderate income, the house also qualified for a deferral of impact fees, reducing final costs by a little more than $21,000.

 

Posted in Home building
Aug. 12, 2018

Wind Mitigation

Home buyers are faced with many costs when purchasing a home. 

What is wind mitigation report? A wind mitigation report is an insurance form that details certain elements of a given home that will affect the resistance of the structure to wind storm damage. This includes the height and shape of the roof; how the roof is attached to the walls; the type of wall construction and a number of other important criterion's (see the attached form for more information).

Why is this important? State law requires the insurance industry to issue credits on premiums if certain criterion are met that help reduce the risk of wind storm damage. Each credit reduces the policy by a predetermined percentage. If all criterion are met the premium could be reduced by more than 80%!! This could save  a substantial sum of money; usually hundreds of dollars a year in premium reduction.

It is important to note that not all the criterion need be met to get credits. Each credit merits a deduction regardless of the status of the other criterion. For example; a home built in 1990 that is a single story structure with a hip roof and has straps attaching the truss to the exterior wall would qualify for those credits even though it may not have opening protection (shutters).

What homes should have wind mitigation?  Most homes qualify with one or more credits; any of which would cover the cost of the mitigation report. Homes built prior to 1990 are less likely to get substantial credit unless it was re-roofed after 2002 or has had other improvements made such as the installation of impact rated windows or shutters.

Any home permitted or re-roofed after 3/01/2002 should definitely have a wind mitigation report completed as several criterion's would be met by basic construction standards set by the building code changes that occurred at that time. Additional changes occurred in 2006 and again in 2010. Homes built after 2010 should qualify for maximum credits.

The opening protection credit is the largest potential credit and often the most misunderstood; many people belief that if their home has Shutters they comply for wind mitigation credits; this is not always the case. Shutters must be impact rated (many are not); must be fastened properly; and must cover every opening of the home. The insurance industry views a home that has all openings properly protected except one as having no protection and no credits will be given for opening protection.

Skylights if present, are often overlooked for protection. Glazing in skylights must be impact rated to qualify a home for this credit; the sidelight by the entry door is considered an opening and is often left unprotected. The garage door is also considered an opening and must be wind rated and/or have an impact rating for the home to qualify for opening protection credit. Many home owners spend thousands of dollars to install shutters on windows and doors only to ignore these items and then discover they cannot qualify for the opening protection credit. They may qualify for other credits but they would not receive credit for this item.

 

Feb. 27, 2018

Home prices in SW Florida

The median home value in Cape Coral is $219,700. Cape Coral home values have gone up 1.7% over the past year, prediction they will rise 1.6% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Cape Coral is $151, which is lower than the Fort Myers Metro average of $161. The median price of homes currently listed in Cape Coral is $265,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $201,800. The median rent price in Cape Coral is $1,600, which is lower than the Fort Myers Metro median of $1,880. Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The percent of delinquent mortgages in Cape Coral is 1.1%, which is lower than the national value of 1.6%. With U.S. home values having fallen by more than 20% nationally from their peak in 2007 until their trough in late 2011, many homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their home is worth. The percent of Cape Coral homeowners underwater on their mortgage is 5.8%, which is lower than Fort Myers Metro at 7.2%.

The median home value in Fort Myers is $202,800. Fort Myers home values have declined -0.4% over the past year, prediction they will rise 1.2% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Fort Myers is $150, which is lower than the Fort Myers Metro average of $161. The median price of homes currently listed in Fort Myers is $249,500 while the median price of homes that sold is $187,000. The median rent price in Fort Myers is $1,750, which is lower than the Fort Myers Metro median of $1,880.  Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The percent of delinquent mortgages in Fort Myers is 0.9%, which is lower than the national value of 1.6%. With U.S. home values having fallen by more than 20% nationally from their peak in 2007 until their trough in late 2011, many homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their home is worth. The percent of Fort Myers homeowners underwater on their mortgage is 8.2%, which is higher than Fort Myers Metro at 7.2%.

The median home value in Lehigh Acres is $154,600. Lehigh Acres home values have gone up 7.7% over the past year, prediction they will rise 4.1% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Lehigh Acres is $111, which is lower than the Fort Myers Metro average of $161. The median price of homes currently listed in Lehigh Acres is $169,900 while the median price of homes that sold is $151,000. The median rent price in Lehigh Acres is $1,150, which is lower than the Fort Myers Metro median of $1,880. Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The percent of delinquent mortgages in Lehigh Acres is 2.0%, which is higher than the national value of 1.6%. With U.S. home values having fallen by more than 20% nationally from their peak in 2007 until their trough in late 2011, many homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their home is worth. The percent of Lehigh Acres homeowners underwater on their mortgage is 10.7%, which is higher than Fort Myers Metro at 7.2%.

The median home value in Estero is $308,400. Estero home values have declined -3.7% over the past year, prediction they will fall -0.0% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Estero is $177, which is higher than the Fort Myers Metro average of $161. The median price of homes currently listed in Estero is $323,990 while the median price of homes that sold is $286,500. The median rent price in Estero is $2,300, which is higher than the Fort Myers Metro median of $1,880.  Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The percent of delinquent mortgages in Estero is 0.4%, which is lower than the national value of 1.6%. With U.S. home values having fallen by more than 20% nationally from their peak in 2007 until their trough in late 2011, many homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their home is worth. The percent of Estero homeowners underwater on their mortgage is 6.1%, which is lower than Fort Myers Metro at 7.2%.

The median home value in Naples is $332,200. Naples home values have declined -0.9% over the past year, prediction they will rise 1.5% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Naples is $216. The median price of homes currently listed in Naples is $415,000.  Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The percent of delinquent mortgages in Naples is 0.7%, which is lower than the national value of 1.6%. With U.S. home values having fallen by more than 20% nationally from their peak in 2007 until their trough in late 2011, many homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their home is worth. The percent of Naples homeowners underwater on their mortgage is 6.0%, which is lower than Naples at 6.7%.

 

Posted in Market Updates
July 31, 2017

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Posted in Market Updates