The big question most home buyers have today is "where is the market now?" That is a multi-layered question as like a diamond, the market has many facets. One facet is this year vs. last year. I don't have the data for Charlotte County but it I do have it for Lee County as I recently attended a meeting that spoke about the 39.1 percent increase in Lee County new home sales for 2012. Buyers started to look less favorably at Southwest Florida after 2006. Everyone wanted a $500,000 home for $100,000 and thought it was easy to find nice ones. This was not quite the case but deals were out there. According to Randy Thibaut, CEO of Land Solutions and prominent local keynote speaker, there is now a pent up demand for new homes. Most resales were built before 2006.
If you were looking at a new car or a used car, you may want one that is one or two years old but most used home choices now available are over 6 to 10 years old (clunkers). Another facet is the price equilibrium between new and resale has shrunk. Prior years, because of the large number of distressed properties out there, many were at bargain basement prices. The gap is now between 5 to 20 percent more to get that brand new home. The monthly payment is often about the same as many builders have some preferred lenders who help with rates and closing costs.
Another facet is many buyers who "lost" their homes they acquired between 2004 and 2006 are now eligible for easy to qualify for FHA loans. These loans only need 3 1?2 percent down payment. This brings more buyers into the market. These buyers, because of prior bad loans and low down payments, are overlooked by the lenders who own the distressed properties. They are now ready to get real and buy new homes from quality builders Thibaut quoted local Realtor Denny Grimes, "It's time for Realtors to buddy up to builders." He has the Right idea.
The last facet is coming back into place; land is again selling at less than "giveaway prices." In Cape Coral, one large builder bought 30 home sites for $1.2 million. In Bonita Springs, 60 acres (undeveloped) went for for $9 million. In Charlotte County another large builder bought 25 home sites for $825,000. These are just a few of the dozens of like transactions this year.
Bill Panebianco is the sales manager for the Fort Myers Division of Adams Homes.