The Florida housing market was one of the hardest hit during the previous recession. However despite having faced significant headwinds, the whole of the Sunshine State appears primed to make large strides in 2015. At the forefront of the Florida market is a city that many probably wouldn’t suspect: Fort Myers. The Fort Myers real estate market is on par with, if not batter than, its more popular counterpart Miami, which is saying a lot – considering Miami is an international hub for investor activity. However, Fort Myers continues to show strong signs of growth, and 2015 should not be an exception.
The Fort Myers real estate market has a current median home price of $190,000. That is just over $18,000 less than the national average. However, of particular interest is the recent rate of appreciation exhibited in the area. Over the course of a year, Fort Myers real estate has benefited from an appreciation rate of 12.4 percent. At that rate, local inventory is appreciating more than twice as fast as the national average. Taking it out even further, Fort Myers homes have seen an impressive 75.9 percent appreciation rate in the past three years.
Fort Myers Real Estate Market Statistics
Homeowners in the Fort Myers real estate market have seen a lot of equity return to the area. In fact, owners in the area can finally breathe, which has promoted more housing activity. The following highlights how much equity has been gained relative to the year of the home’s purchase:
- Homes purchased in the Fort Myers housing market one year ago have appreciated, on average, by $23,577. The national average was $14,170 over the same period.
- Homes purchased in the Fort Myers housing market three years ago have appreciated, on average, by $87,404. The national average was $53,857 over the same period.
- Homes purchased in the Fort Myers housing market five years ago have appreciated, on average, by $106,726. The national average was $48,036 over the same period.
- Homes purchased in the Fort Myers housing market seven years ago have actually depreciated, on average, by $14,482. The national average increased $13,870 over the same period.
- Homes purchased in the Fort Myers housing market nine years ago have depreciated, on average, by $65,897. The national average also decreased $2,822 over the same period.
The Fort Myers housing market has received a lot of help from the local economy. Accordingly, the region’s job sector continues to support both supply and demand. Fort Myers’ unemployment rate currently sits at 5 percent. It is lower than the national average and 0.7 percent better than the previous year. In fact, employment numbers are on an upward trend, as the entire State of Florida has made moves to strengthen its economy. Fort Myers is the beneficiary of statewide actions to increase employment.
A strengthening economy has permitted the Fort Myers area to focus efforts on new housing construction. Single-family housing permits, in particular, have seen a dramatic increase. Over the course of a year, permits to build single-family homes increased more than 23 percent. Towards the end of last year, new construction in Fort Myers even surpassed perennial markets in California. As a comparison, the national average was just over 1 percent. The move suggests that local inventory has finally stabilized.
The Fort Myers housing market continues to remain affordable – even in the face of high appreciation rates. In fact, Fort Myers is more affordable than most U.S. markets. Where homeowners in the Fort Myers area spend less than 10 percent of their income on monthly mortgage payments, the rest of the country spends more than 15 percent on respective premiums.
Affordability within the Fort Myers real estate market has been instrumental in maintaining steady growth. Accordingly, lower prices and a promising job sector are more than attractive to younger Americans. Millennials, in particular, have found Fort Myers to be a desirable location. One-quarter of the entire Cape Coral-Fort Myers market, approximately 250,000 people, is made up of millennials. That is to say – the city of Fort Myers is relatively young when compared to the rest of the state. The median age in Fort Myers is currently 37.6, so it comes as no surprise that more millennials are purchasing homes in this particular area.
Trulia recognizes the following neighborhoods as the most popular in the Fort Myers housing market:
- Colonial County Club
- Pelican Preserve
Of those that made the list, McGregor and Colonial County Club appear to draw the most interest, with averaging listing prices of $593,012 and $237,361 respectively. However, of recent interest, is the neighborhood of Belle Vue. While not as sought after, Belle Vue has seen an impressive increase in week-over-week asking prices. As recently as last month, Belle Vue saw asking prices increase by as much as 27.9 percent in the period of one week.
According to RealtyTrac, the Fort Myers real estate market consists of 4,168 homes that are for sale. At the end of 2014, however, home sales were down 100 percent compared with the previous year. The median sales price of a non-distressed home was $160,000. The median sales price of a foreclosure home was $113,400, representative of a 29 percent discount over non-distressed properties.
There is a significant amount of foreclosures in the area, with 2,570 homes already in some stage of the process. Of those homes, 55.2 percent will be placed up for auction. As the overwhelming majority, auction foreclosures are up 27.8 percent from last year. Conversely, pre-foreclosures are down nearly 18 percent from the previous year, and represent 17.5 percent of the current market. Finally, bank owned foreclosures make up just over 27 percent of the market, a 7.4 percent decrease from last year.
The Fort Myers real estate market, like others in the state of Florida, are in a unique situation to thrive. Affordability will continue to bring in younger buyers for the foreseeable future, and the amount of foreclosures made available will draw the attention of investors.
Fort Myers Real Estate Market Summary:
- Current Median Home Price: $190,000
- 1-Year Appreciation Rate: 12.4%
- Unemployment Rate: 5%
- 1-Year Job Growth Rate: 1.6%
- Population: 68,190
- Median Household Income:$46,383
Fort Myers Real Estate Market Q2 Update:
The Fort Myers real estate market, much like its neighbor to the southeast (Miami), is outpacing many national housing indicators. Over the course of last quarter, the area’s median home price increased nearly $20,000; and is now at a comfortable $208,000. Today’s prices represent an appreciation rate of 12.4 percent over the last year, which is nearly twice the national average. There is no question that prices are trending upwards, and Fort Myers real estate investing should see more activity as a result.
The Fort Myers real estate market continues to receive a lot of support from the local economy. The current unemployment rate (5.1%) is below the national average and improving. However, more impressive advancements have been made in the job growth. In the last 12 months, the job growth rate of Fort Myers reached four percent. That is nearly twice as much as the national average.
Economic indicators should continue to support housing progression, as is evidenced by new housing construction numbers. Today’s level of construction is 50.2 percent above the long-term average. Single-family housing permits alone have increased by as much as 24.2 percent in the last year. The national average only saw an increase of 3.1 percent.