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Local home sales slide for metro area in November

By Staff | Dec 23, 2008

Sales of existing homes in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area were up 64 percent in November compared to November 2007, according to a report released Tuesday by the Florida Association of Realtors.
The year-over-year increase is a continuing trend, but sales dipped when compared to October’s numbers.
A total of 600 existing single-family homes were sold during November, up from a tally of 365 during the same month last year, but down from the 720 that were sold in October.
The median sale price also dropped to $106,100 in November, down from October’s median price of $139,500.
Realtors said banks are dealing with the large number of forecloses by selling homes at cut rates, thus decreasing prices.
“It’s the competition of your average person trying to sell their house at retail prices, but you’ve got banks selling the foreclosed homes at wholesale prices and it’s driving their prices down,” said Jim Fischer, Realtor for Sellstate Professionals.
Lee County Clerk of Court Charlie Green is in the midst of pushing through a backlog of foreclosures in the court system. In addition to the usual four circuit judges handling the number of foreclosure cases, Green moved three senior judges on the cases.
There were 25,000 foreclosure cases at the beginning of December. Green said his office has moved 2,800 cases through the system since Dec. 4.
“We’re moving more out than are coming in,” Green said.
Gary Tasman, executive director of the Cushman & Wakefield commercial real estate firm, said pushing the foreclosures through will benefit the market as long as haste does not give way to mistakes.
“I think it’s a good thing, they need to get through. But I hope they don’t push them so fast they don’t get done correctly,” Tasman said, adding that confusion over who holds title on properties could cause problems in the future.
Home sales typically drop slightly during the holiday season before picking up in January, but the uproar in the market this year added to the slowdown.
“It typically does slow down over that time, and it was exacerbated by the turmoil over the markets. It doesn’t surprise me that people are holding off,” said Tasman.