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Realtors: It’s ‘a great time to buy’ in Cape Coral

By Staff | Jun 5, 2015

The housing market continues to improve in Southwest Florida with dwindling inventory that is priced higher than previous years.

Gloria Tate of Raso Realty Inc. said she believes the housing market has stabilized to a certain degree. She said although she is still seeing a percentage of foreclosures coming into the market, as well as auction homes and banks taking homes back, those numbers are occurring at a smaller level.

“The market has really begun to bounce back,” Tate said.

According to the 2015 Tax Roll Values, which were released last week by Property Appraiser Ken Wilkinson, Lee County is seeing 5.5 percent higher appraisal’s than last year’s final figures.

Cape Coral taxable property values are 6.01 percent higher than last year’s final assessment numbers.

“If people are looking, it is a great time to buy,” said Edward Schiff of Schiff Realty. “Inventory is down, property values are going up. You can still get a great deal. It’s a great time to invest in the Cape Coral, Fort Myers area.”

The increase also indicates that the city of Cape Coral’s budget proposal will be able to roll back the millage rate by .75 mils for 2016. That rollback was withdrawn for 2015 because the Fire Service Assessment funds held in escrow were not available because the city’s methodology was tied up in an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court. The court recently ruled in the city’s favor releasing the FSA funds. The .75 mil rollback was promised taxpayers by council three years ago when the FSA revenue source was passed.

Tate said the housing inventory has been reduced, but it’s not a sellers’ or buyers’ market, but rather a market where individuals are finding property and making negotiations with their Realtors for a successful sale.

She said houses that are priced too high are not going to sell, but homes priced according to the market are selling quickly.

Schiff said prices of homes have gone up each year, which, in turn, is reducing the inventory.

“People are eating up the pricing,” he said. “People that have come down from last year are shocked.”

Homes are now selling from $200,000 to $1.5 million, Schiff said. He said the homes under $200,000 are dwindling, but they are still out there.

“It was not like it was a year or two ago,” Schiff said. “If you find something in a good area, it just goes.”

Tate said in order to find good quality properties under $200,000, individuals have to search. She said people are especially struggling to find properties for less than $150,000 with utilities.

With the higher home prices, apartments and homes for rent have also increased.

“Homes to rent and apartments to rent have really gone up,” Tate said. “It’s a difficult time finding reasonable rentals under $1,000.”

Schiff agreed that rentals for under $1,000 are hard to come by.

“Because the market has stabilized, rent has gone up,” he said.

Condos are also selling, according to Tate. She said the condos on Chiquita and Cape Coral Parkway are nearing the mid $200,000s and up.

“That will be the first new development to come out with garages and amenities that people want,” Tate said.

Higher rental prices are a good indicator that the market is doing well. She said individuals are now looking for lower priced properties for a greater return for their investment.

Another reason the market is doing well, Tate said, is because they have not seen a huge impact of water and sewer assessments.

“People are getting more accustomed to assessments and what it means for everyone,” she said.

The taxable values in Fort Myers are 7.7 percent higher and on Sanibel they are up 3.31 percent. For Fort Myers Beach the values are up 5.68 percent over last year and 7.34 percent for Bonita Springs. Estero is on the roll as a taxing authority for the first time after voting to become Southwest Florida’s newest city this year.

The Matlacha-Pine Island Fire District will see a 4.63 percent gain in revenue for 2015, North Fort Myers 4.05 percent, Sanibel 3.21 percent and Captiva 4.52 percent.