How’s Real Estate in Southwest Florida?

How’s  Real estate in Florida? You will be surprised at my answer.

Tough question to answer. But I’m going to tell you some things most agents will not. The market is slow, there are more price decreases on the MLS every day as sellers try to chase a falling demand,  Volume is half what is was a year ago, and while there are pockets of the market that are doing well, in general the market has slowed. The rental market is “Saturday night pistol” hot with vacancies below 2%. Investors are wise to buy and hold, sellers are urged to get realistic with their prices, and buyers are being rewarded with patience.

My advice to sellers is to not try to “lead the market”. Know your competition and price according to what is selling. Stand out from your competition. Make sure the home you are selling has no excuse for a buyer not to buy.

My advice to buyers is that if you see a home or investment that is right for you, examine all your alternatives and then make you move, quickly.  Inventory of suitably priced properties are scarce. If you don’t buy someone else will. ( I know this sounds like a contradiction, but this is what makes this market so crazy.)

My advice to investors: Don’t count on short term appreciation. Invest for income. (See my comment about the rental market.)

What am I doing? I’m investing in an apartment building. I’m getting back to basics and working my listings hard.  Getting creative with terms and making sure there are no excuses not to buy what I am selling.  I’m trying to be better than the next agent. I’m focusing on distinct geographical and buyer markets and trying to give sound advice.

I do not think the less than stable market will last long, but to be honest I believe a slowly appreciating market is what we should hope for. We have not had a “normal” market here, so I’m not sure we would recognize one.

Here is the  inventory, by month, for the last twelve months (Data courtesy  of Southwest Florida MLS). This indicates how many months it will take to sell the current level of inventory at the current rate of sales.


months of inventory

Below we see the sales volume, by month, for the last twelve months. We are now at less than half of what it was a year ago.


Sales volume


Rental apartments are full. On average there is a 1.4% vacancy rate. Here are the numbers for 1 bedroom units, for example.

Vacancy Rates in Fort Myers


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