Sales up, prices remain down
Home sales statistics for July released Friday by the Florida Association of Realtors reflected the good news, bad news nature of recent national economic data.
There were 1,570 existing homes sold in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area in July, an increase of 104 percent from July 2008.
The median sales price for July was $89,000, the lowest among the 19 Florida metro areas contained in the FAR report. Punta Gorda had the second-lowest median sales price at $105,000.
While the median sales price is a 43 percent decrease from July 2008, it is a slight increase from June’s $87,900 median sales price.
Chris Porter, Realtor and co-owner of Cape Coral Realty, said the bottom of the local housing market may already have been reached.
“A lot of people are starting to feel like they missed the bottom,” Porter said.
That feeling, Porter said, stems from less selection in lower-end houses. A federal $8,000 first-time home buyer credit that is aided by a Florida program that allows homebuyers to get the credit up front has also eased credit that was previously airtight.
But the troubles for the housing market could continue for the forseeable future.
Foreclosures are often sold at drastically reduced prices, lowering values in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area that ranked first in foreclosure rates in 2008.
So rampant are foreclosures in Lee County that the Clerk’s Office currently has a backlog of more than 24,000 foreclosure cases.
Lee County Clerk of Courts Charlie Green said it takes anywhere from eight to 18 months for a foreclosure case to make its way through the system. That’s an amount of time that’s only likely to get longer as lending agencies delay hearings in an effort to mitigate their loss on a loan.
Green said the time for mediation is when the foreclosure process begins, not one year into it.
“The time for mediation is up front,” Green said.