The Southwest Florida housing market continues its steady climb as indicators point to strong growth in 2018.
New data released by the Naples Area Board of Realtors on Friday showed an increase of seven percent in closed sales over the last year. In Lee, BEAR, the Bonita Springs-Estero Association of Realtors have reporting an increase in closed sales every month this year but April.
Realtor Jonathan Burg, of FL House Hunters, said that the upward trend picked up steam in 2015 but has become more noticeable to the average person as even lagging indicators like condominium prices are reflecting the growth.
“Inventory is low, buyer confidence is high,” said Burg. “Buyers are having a hard time finding homes under $300,000, that pushes the condominium market up. The condo market is the first to go down and the last to go up. Now that the condo market has increased that just shows the health of the overall market.”
Burg said that one thing helping to bolster the market is the increase in opportunities for young people in the area. He said that companies like Gartner opening large centers in Fort Myers provides a reason for young professionals who attend Florida Gulf Coast University to stay in the area after they graduate.
“There’s now a sense that you can graduate from FGCU and stay in Southwest Florida and work if you want to. Retail, hospitality, sales, services, there’s a lot of opportunity here for people.”
Despite the uptick in prices, Burg said the market is still a good one for young, first time house buyers, if they have the right qualifications.
“It’s positive, it’s strong. There’s a lot of opportunity there for them. If they have good income, good credit, and good debt to income ratio.”
Burg said that he expects the trend to continue in part because pro-development policies by local governments helps to grown the real estate market in the area.
“The local governments here are pro-growth,” said Burg. “Honestly, in my opinion, it’s easier here that it is anywhere else in the country.”
The only issue that Burg said he sees on the horizon is the increase of new construction in the area. He said that there is a danger that those houses could eventually flood the market, though he has not seen any indication of that yet.
“It’s a large amount of construction that’s going on in our area,” said Burg. “All of Southwest Florida is getting inundated with a ton of new construction. Ultimately that will affect the resale market but at this point it really hasn’t.”
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