Prices for condominiums in Lee County jumped 8.6 percent year over year, according to statistics released Wednesday by Florida Realtors.
But prices and sales for existing single-family homes dropped, falling by 4 percent year over year.
The median price of a condo in Lee was $131,900 in January, up from $121,400 in January 2010. That price climbed from $128,200 in December — an increase of almost 3 percent.The numbers are for sales assisted by a Realtor.
Leading the drive upward in prices: Buyers have eaten through the inventory of bargain-priced condominiums, said Stephen Luta, a real estate broker in Cape Coral.
“We never overbuilt condos as significantly as we overbuilt homes,” he said. “So you’re seeing a faster recovery in condos.”
Luta said about 60 percent of the residential units in Lee are single-family, and condominiums make up the other 40 percent. Because the bargains have been picked through, more homebuyers are going after higher-priced condominiums and the foreclosure and short-sale deals have declined, he said.
Condo sales have mostly settled, with only seven more sales in January — totaling 397 — compared to the 390 sold the same month a year ago.
A rebound has been a long time coming, but Realtors have seen prices rising over the past year.
The median price for multifamily residences in Lee in 2010 was $92,500, compared to $84,600 in 2009 — a 9 percent increase, according to figures provided by Royal Shell Real Estate.
It’s an improvement, but nothing near the median price of $142,500 for a condo in 2008.
Prices and median sales dropped in January for existing single-family homes in Lee, but those in the industry remain upbeat, pinning the dip in sales and median prices on the longstanding practice of pushing sales to go through before the year’s end, said Brett Ellis, head of The Ellis Team with Re/Max Realty Group in Fort Myers.
“I don’t put too much stock in it, yet at the same time I’m a little bit surprised,” Ellis said.
Florida Realtors reported the median sales price for single-family homes in Lee was $88,500 in January, down almost 3 percent from $91,000 for the same month a year ago. Sales dropped 4 percent year over year to 1,072.
The median sales price also dropped 4.5 percent month over month from December’s $92,500.
Ellis expected the volume of sales to sink slightly below what they had been last year, but expected to see the median sales price rise.
“You’re starting to see higher prices for foreclosure sales,” Ellis said. “That should also lead, going forward, into a rise in median sales prices – at least that’s the theory.”
Although prices have dropped slightly, the volume of sales and median price has increased significantly from what they were in the early 2000s, he said.
Interest rates are rising – and that will help spur on buyers to shop now, Ellis said.
“Our market has been in the process of healing,” he said. “It’s been painful for some and an opportunity for others, but (the crash) was going to happen whether we liked it or not.”
Courtesy of News Press