SWFL Real Estate Sales Up Again in March as Housing Inventory Remains Tight
• The area’s housing market shows no signs of slowing down, despite challenges with inventory and constraints on the supply of new-construction homes.
April 13, 2021. Closed sales were up 34 percent in Lee County in March compared to the same month last year as real estate continues to be in high demand in Southwest Florida. Prices were also up in March, posting a 16.6% increase in median prices paid for homes.
Meanwhile, housing inventory continues to be tight, with a nearly 80% drop in homes for sale in March 2021 versus the same period a year ago. In addition, new home building activity remains constrained due to higher costs for lumber and other building materials.
“We’re seeing no sign of a slowdown as buyers flock to Southwest Florida from all over the U.S.,” said Robin McKeever, president of the Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association, which comprises about 8,000 area Realtors. “Now that more and more people have the option to work from anywhere, lots of them are choosing to make Lee County Florida their new home.”
The median sale price of single-family homes in rose 24% in March to $345,000 versus $335,000 in March 2020. For condominiums and townhouses, median sale price was up 10.5% for the month to $226,500.
However, housing inventory continued in short supply last month, as days on market decreased 43.2% for single-family and 26.8% for townhouses and condos. The average home for sale in Lee County in March was on the market just 42 days before an offer was accepted. Measured by months of supply, inventory decreased to 0.8 months, or 85.2% for single-family homes versus March 2020, when we saw a more conventional figure of 4.9 months.
However, new listings for single-family homes showed their first year-over-year increase since September, with 7.9% more homes listed last month versus 2020, when inventory was especially tight.
SOURCE: Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association
March Home Sales Volume for Naples Hits Record High
Naples, Fla. (April 23, 2021) – Records were broken in March, but “don’t call Guinness just yet!” say broker analysts reviewing the March 2021 Market Report, released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). The analysts are a small contingency of leaders who represent the area’s top real estate brokerage firms and meet monthly at NABOR® to interpret area housing market statistics. The group’s analysis of activity last month confirmed that March broke records; but celebrations to commemorate the month’s record high statistics should be postponed because these broker analysts also agree that our market is probably not done breaking records for the year.
According to the report, March’s historic activity included 1,851 closed sales, $1,582,474,997 in total sales volume, and 60,147 showing appointments. This makes March 2021 the highest performing month on record over the last 13 years (the span of time NABOR® has tracked key metrics reflecting the area’s housing market activity).
March was also the first month in several years where there were more reported price increases than decreases. Median closed prices in March increased 12.2 percent to $415,000 (the highest median price increase month/month on record since 2008) from $370,000 in March 2020. In March 2021, there were just 1,819 homes in inventory (the lowest it has been since 2014), which was a 73.2 percent decrease from 6,795 homes in inventory in March 2020.
“Appreciation values have not increased dramatically in all price ranges,” said Molly Lane, Senior Vice President at William Raveis Real Estate. “Most of the high appreciation that’s driving median and average closed prices up in recent months is in the $2 million and over market.”
Pending sales (homes under contract) activity in March also broke records, as seen in the 152.7 percent spike to 2,469 pending listings from 977 pending listings in March 2020. However, broker analysts were quick to remind each other that a high number of sales during the second half of the month last year were lost as we were in a pandemic lockdown. Despite last March’s COVID-19-related market anomaly, this March’s pending sales still eclipsed pending sales activity reported in any March over the last eight years.
“This is a challenging time for buyers in Naples,” said Brenda Fioretti, Broker Associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, “and why it’s extremely important they work with a local REALTOR® whose experience and expertise can guide them through the process.”
Fioretti is confident buyers can improve their chances of purchasing the property they want by being wellprepared as they enter this competitive market. She and several broker analysts advise buyers take the following steps prior to making an offer:
• Get a mortgage pre-approval
• Be ready to make a competitive offer
• Be available to view a home at the seller’s convenience
• Confirm that your agent has activated your profile in the Southwest Florida MLS, and make sure the information is accurate so you can be matched with new listings as soon as they become available
• Stay connected and respond quickly to your agent’s requests
• Be ready to make up the difference between the appraised value and the sale price if financing your home
• Don’t fall in love with just one house: Have a second and third choice in mind in case you miss out on your first choice
• If your favorite home choice goes pending with another buyer, make a back up offer anyway! Often, the first buyer backs out and you become the primary. You can continue shopping for a home and terminate the back-up contract at any time before you become the primary
• Rely on your REALTOR® for advice concerning escalation clauses and contingency matters
• Pay with cash to be most competitive, if possible, and avoid the mortgage underwriting process
Mike Hughes, Vice President and General Manager for Downing-Frye Realty, Inc., pointed out that closed sales in March left buyers in April with a 1.6 month supply of homes. For perspective, the National Association of REALTORS® considers a six-month supply of housing a balanced market. However, Hughes was quick to also remark that “depletion of inventory is not due to a lack of sellers, as new listings have been steady over the past several years.” According to the report, new listings have been hovering around 1,500 a month for the last decade. In March, new listings even increased 32.5 percent to 1,670 new listings from 1,260 new listings in March 2020. “With limited new construction options, buyers are stripping our resale inventory,” said Hughes, “especially in the high-end market.”
The March Market Report showed remarkable closed sales performance in the condominium market during March too, which had a 71.6 percent increase in sales to 1,021 closed sales from 595 closed sales in March 2020. Closed sales of single-family homes over $2 million also increased 68.4 percent in March. Geographically, closed sales of condominiums in Central Naples rose 118.3 percent in March, while the average sale price for single family homes in Central Naples increased 38.4 percent to $901,807 from $651,370 in March 2020.
“Sellers are raising prices and multiple offers are still coming in,” said Budge Huskey, CEO, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. “This is because inventory is limited, and more sellers are realizing now is a good time to place their home on the market and get top value in the current market conditions!”
Broker analysts predict the level of demand experienced in March is sustainable and should be expected to continue for the next few months, or longer. “Season was disrupted this year because many people elected to hold off relocating until they were fully vaccinated,” added Huskey. “Agents also report that many seasonal visitors are staying longer than in previous years, possibly because they can afford to wait in anticipation of more homes becoming available in the luxury market. I believe we’ll continue to see more newcomers from northern states looking for homes in the high end in the coming months. Beyond that, and as we enter the summer season, we might begin to see a second wave of international buyers entering our market as travel restrictions begin to relax.”