Steadily increasing home prices in Southwest Florida could mean only one thing: existing inventory is shrinking. That means more bidding wars on the dwindling number of available homes for some buyers, and for others, flat-out offers that are higher than listing prices. And for those homeowners who were hesitant to sell their property just a year ago or so, the upward ticks in prices are getting them off the fence and into the home-selling mood.

According to market research group CoreLogic based in California, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers and Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island metros each have seen its share of higher home prices from January 2013 to January 2014.

In The Cape and Fort Myers market, prices bumped up 13.3 percent year over year, including distressed sales, and 13.2 percent excluding them. That beat the national year-over-year price increase of 12 percent from January 2014 to January 2013, which included distressed sales.

In the Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island metro, home prices increased 10 percent over the same time period (including distressed sales). Excluding distressed sales, prices were up 11.5 percent. So we’re still seeing distressed sales making their way through Collier County.

This marked the 23rd month in a row of year-over-year increases nationwide in the CoreLogic Home Price Index. Florida was one of just seven states where prices equaled or grew faster than the nation as a whole. CoreLogic expects February’s sale prices nationwide to be higher that last February as well.

The data also indicates that home “flips” – houses bought at bargain prices, fixed up to habitable status, then re-sold for a nice profit – and investors are not so much of an influence on home price appreciation in our region.

That was not the case just a few years ago when flippers and investors had a stronghold on the Southwest Florida real estate market.

“The market” is back. But what can be done to prevent another real estate meltdown in Southwest Florida like the one that began in 2008 or so?


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