Cape area at top of list for affordable housing
The Cape Coral/Fort Myers area was recently recognized as being one of the top 10 most affordable housing markets in the world, according to an international survey.
The survey originated from Demographia Inc., which ranked Cape Coral/Fort Myers seventh in the world.
Lee County was behind some of the most economically depressed areas in the nation, including Detroit, Flint and Lansing, Mich.
According to Realtor statistics, the median home price in the greater Lee County area was between $89,000 – $90,000 in December 2009.
A total of 1,340 homes were sold in that month, an improvement of more than 300 homes from December 2008.
Realtors on both sides of the bridge are not surprised by where Cape Coral and Fort Myers ranked on that list.
They say now is the time to buy, especially if you’re someone who’s looking to stay in the new home for three to five years.
“It’s extremely affordable right now,” said Christie Knight, president of the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers. “We strongly believe our momentum will increase because of the extended tax credit for first-time home-buyers, and because interest rates are historically low. We feel very confident.”
The inventory of existing homes has decreased year over year, and Realtors are feeling optimistic about 2010.
Most feel the bottom has already been hit, and there isn’t anywhere to go but up, though a new round of foreclosures is expected to hit the market sometime soon.
Paula Hellenbrand of Encore Realty and a former president for the Cape Coral Association of Realtors said the number of foreclosures is deceiving, and that many of those properties are “evaporated” before they ever hit the market.
She added that now is the time for first-time home-buyers to seek out that dream home, as not only has the tax credit been extended, but companies like Fannie May are instituting 15-day waiting periods for owner occupied properties so home-buyers are in direct competition with investors looking to flip properties quickly.
“Our inventory is at a healthy level,” she said.
David Diaz, real estate broker and CEO of Carney Properties and Investment Group, said the company’s been selling 15 – 20 homes a month.
He said the key to the sustained success through the housing slump is providing buyers with quality homes and good service, things that aren’t in abundance.
He added that Carney Properties’ goal has been to never move a family into a home they wouldn’t move their families into, and that has helped in the company’s success.
He said that while the retail market is dangerous, if buyers can find the right company to help lead them to their first or second homes, now is the time to invest, especially with some of the values that are out there.
“I think people are going to be looking back and saying, ‘I could never buy that home again at that price,'” he said. “No one knows how much longer interest rates are going to stay this low.”