Home sales in Cape-Fort Myers area dip in May
Sales of existing single-family homes in May in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area dipped slightly from April, but the median sales price jumped slightly, according to data released Tuesday.
The Florida Association of Realtors reported that the metro area’s median sales price was $88,500, up from April’s median sales price of $85,500.
There were 1,417 existing home sales in May, a 72 percent increase from the same time last year, but less than the 1,468 that were sold in April.
The median sales price statewide for May — $144,000 — was also higher than April’s $138,500 figure, but it remains to be seen whether the positive numbers suggest a rebound in the housing market or merely an anomaly.
“While one month of data does not a trend make, it is the first green shoot we have seen in some time as far as prices are concerned; until prices stop declining, we cannot state with confidence that the housing market has stabilized,” Dr. Sean Snaith, director for the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness, said in a prepared statement.
Some local Realtors say fiercer competition for bargain foreclosure homes is helping force prices in the lower end of the market slightly higher.
“We are running out of inventory,” Paula Hellenbrand, president of the Cape Coral Association of Realtors, said of houses valued at less than $250,000.
According to Hellenbrand, there were 6,100 homes on the market in February 2007, compared to 2,050 now.
Foreclosure hunters, who previously had easy pickings in the local housing market, are now sometimes coming up empty.
“They’re trying to but there’s not much out there,” she said.
One element of homebuying that is helping to keep prices low, and in some instances thwart sales and closings, are low appraisals that are undercutting previously agreed-upon sale prices.
Hellenbrand relayed the story of a home in the northwest Cape that was agreed by buyer and seller to sell for $125,000. The property was then appraised at $108,000.
“The appraiser drove three and a half hours to get there,” she said.