Where do we grow from here: Buying and selling

Author: Rob Spicker
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. – In 2008 the bottom fell out of our booming real estate market. Today, that market is bouncing back with people flocking to get a piece of paradise.

Don Redmond and his wife Linda can tell you just how hot the real estate market is right now. A year ago they did not even think of trying to sell, but this fall they did and got full price in just a week on the market.

“We’re really happy,” said Don. “We really were anticipating a slower market if you will, and really we’re surprised the house sold as quickly as it did.”

Agents will tell you, in some size and price ranges there are very few, if any, homes available right now. In a healthy market, there would be about six months inventory. Lee County is at three point seven months right now and in Collier it is four point two months.

“I don’t think our market has been this healthy in at least a decade,” said local realtor Denny Grimes.

For single family homes, the median price is up from the $79,000 it bottomed out at in 2009 and is now up to $211,000.

“For sellers who want to maybe take advantage of the market this maybe the year where you can go out bragging you found the peak time to sell,” explained Grimes. “If a buyer found the house they wanted, now is the time to buy it. Waiting maybe more expensive.”

Where does the market grow from here, is anybody’s guess since real estate predictions are a risky business. But Grimes said he thinks this year, “will be our strongest season.”

When it comes to new construction, there are plenty of signs that our area is coming back. Permits for single family homes in Lee County are on pace to top 1,000 this year, climbing back up from a low of 331 in 2009 after the crash… but still a fraction of the peak 10,471 in 2005.

For the first time in its 40-year history, GL Homes is building more on the West coast of Florida this year than on the East. One of their new neighborhoods is Marina Bay on Treeline Avenue. Eight-hundred-two homes are planned, and they are already selling at a record pace.

“In just short of ten months we’ve already sold 160 homes,” said GL Homes Division President Patty Campbell.

She said Treeline corridor from the Forum at Colonial, down past the airport, Gulf Coast Town Center, FGCU, and down to Miromar Outlets is where to expect growth. Then east out Corkscrew Road and south over to Estero where plenty of other building is already going on.

The next neighborhoods are planned, waiting to start years from now when the developing ones sell out.

“Southwest Florida is different than many markets because we have retirees, we have seasonal buyers and we have families and people that actually live here,” explained Campbell.

The experts say steady and sustainable growth is what you want as Southwest Florida gets bigger, and for now, it is what we have.

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