Squeeze continues in January sales, plus a fraud alert
What we are defining as a short squeeze in the Cape Coral real estate market continued with strong levels of closed sales and median sales prices this January compared to January 2020, as the supply of single-family homes listed for sale by a Realtor continued to shrink in February. The pace of closed sales did slow down a bit from December’s record levels. Our home supply tightened to only 354 active listings as of Feb. 24, declining by 9.46 percent from 391 active listings on Feb. 15. This shortage of active listings has been squeezing prices higher as strong out-of-town buyer demand is creating more competition between potential buyers looking to escape to Florida from high tax and more restrictive state and local governments. There is still a pipeline of 1,257 Cape Coral homes under contract with buyers as pending sales (1,269 including foreclosures and short sales), most of which are likely to close within the next 30 to 60 days.
The big difference between our recent market boom and the peak market boom back in 2006 is that our current market activity involves end users looking to move into their homes, versus the irrational flippers who were driving the market artificially higher back in 2005 and 2006 by buying spec homes financed through largely unchecked and extremely lenient mortgages. As we said at the beginning of last year, it will likely take some “unexpected” turn of events that impacts the economy enough to slow down the momentum in our current housing market. Before we get into the market numbers for January, we have an update about a change in the data and statistics of one of our market segments, plus a fraud alert.
Now that we are beginning a new year of market data and statistics, we are going to make a change to the way we post the statistics for our Cape Coral gulf access canal home segment based on additional information provided to us through the Multiple Listing Service. When we first started collecting this data, gulf access canal homes included all “saltwater” canal homes in the Cape, and we were then able to separate the “sailboat access” canal homes out into their own segment as a subgroup of the gulf access homes. Sailboat access simply meant that a homeowner could keep a larger boat docked behind their home because they did not have any bridges to go under in the canal system to reach open water. With this change, we will be providing a segment for “indirect gulf access canal homes,” meaning there are bridges in the canal system limiting the size boat one can dock behind their home, and a segment for “direct sailboat access canal homes,” which allows for larger boats. This will provide for “cleaner” data and statistics, but with less historical data for the indirect gulf access segment.
We also wanted to touch on an incident we encountered last week with someone attempting to fraudulently list a vacant lot for sale. We received a cryptic text message from a total stranger asking if we could list their Cape Coral residential lot for sale. They wanted pricing information about the lot “ASAP,” and insisted that we get the lot listed on the market that day. Their urgency, aIong with some other details, raised red flags and heightened our suspicions. As we did our due diligence about this property we were able to track down the actual out-of-state owner, who was surprised by what we told them. We will cover this topic in depth in a future column, but for now we would caution anyone calling on vacant lots with “for sale by owner” signs on them. Do not send funds directly to someone you do not know, and protect your money by working with a Realtor, a title company or a real estate attorney.
In the overall Cape Coral single-family home market, there were 439 closed home sales in January, which was 39.81 percent higher than the 314 closed sales in January 2020, but 30.97 percent less than the 636 closed sales in December. The median sales price in the Cape’s overall single-family home market was $307,000 in January, or 25.31 percent higher than the $245,000 posted in January 2020, and up 7.14 percent from $286,548 in December. As a quick market snapshot, the median sales price this January compares to $285,450 back in January 2006, which was the peak month in the overall market that year.
Indirect gulf access canal homes
In the Cape Coral single-family indirect gulf access canal home segment, there were 53 closed home sales in January, which was 96.3 percent higher than the 27 closed sales in January 2020, but 36.14 percent less than the 83 closed sales in December. The median sales price in this segment was $569,000 in January, which topped the $442,000 in January 2020 by 28.73 percent, and it was 4.4 percent higher than the $545,000 in December.
Direct sailboat access homes
In the Cape Coral single-family direct sailboat access canal home segment (no bridges to get out to open water), there were 64 closed home sales in January. This was 52.38 percent higher than the 42 closed sales in January 2020, but 12.33 percent below the 73 sales in December. The median sales price in this segment was $649,950 in January, which was 38.43 percent above the $469,500 posted in January 2020, and 3.99 percent higher than the $625,000 in December. By comparison, back in 2006, the median sales price for direct sailboat access homes in the Cape came in at $772,500 in January, with peak month for median sales prices occurring in this segment during March 2006, at $793,000. Prices then dropped sharply in the subsequent mortgage backed bear market in housing.
Freshwater canal homes
In the Cape Coral single-family freshwater canal home segment, which consists of landlocked canals with no access to the river or the Gulf of Mexico by boat, there were 61 closed home sales in January, which was 117.86 percent higher than the 28 closed sales in January 2020, but down 20.78 percent from the 77 closed sales in December. The median sales price in this segment was $365,000 in January, or 24.04 percent above the $294,250 posted in January 2020, and 14.42 percent higher than the $319,000 in December. By comparison, the median sales price for freshwater canal homes in the Cape came in at $337,500 back in January 2006, before hitting their peak at $382,000 in March 006.
Dry lot homes
In the Cape Coral single-family dry lot (non-canal) home segment, there were 256 closed home sales in January, which was 21.33 percent higher than the 211 closed sales in January 2020, but 35.68 percent less than the 398 closed sales in December. The median sales price in this segment was $253,500 in January, or 14.03 percent above the $222,305 posted in January 2020, and up 1.84 percent from $248,925 in December. By comparison, the median sales price for dry lot homes in the Cape came in at $264,500 back in January 2006, before hitting their peak at $268,000 in February 2006.
The sales data for this article was obtained from the Florida Realtors® Multiple Listing Service Matrix for Lee County, Fla., as of Feb. 21, 2021, unless otherwise noted. It was compiled by Bob and Geri Quinn and it includes information specifically for Cape Coral single-family homes and does not include condominiums, short sales or foreclosures. The data and statistics are believed to be reliable, however, they could be updated and revised periodically, and are subject to change without notice. The Quinns are a husband and wife real estate team with the RE/MAX Realty Team office in Cape Coral. They have lived in Cape Coral for over 41 years. Geri has been a full-time Realtor since 2005, and Bob joined Geri as a full-time Realtor in 2014. Their real estate practice is mainly focused on Cape Coral residential property and vacant lots.