homepage logo

Homing In | Listings, pendings up as deadline approaches for homeowners

By GERI and BOB QUINN - Homing In | Feb 16, 2024

Geri and Bob Quinn

We continue to see rising inventories and pending sales while the preliminary numbers in the overall Cape Coral single-family home market for the month of January are showing that the number of closed home sales are running some 17% below the number of sales registered in January 2023. As you may recall, in January 2023 home sales in the Cape were still in recovery mode with a lot of storm damaged homes being sold at big discounts as our market bounced off of the post-Hurricane Ian lows set in October 2022.

The number of closed home sales this January is positioning our current market somewhere above the 263 sales from back in January 2019, and below the pre-COVID number of 314 January sales in 2020. Remember, most of the homes being posted as closed sales in January went under contract with a buyer some 30 to 45 days prior to the sale being finalized, and as noted below, we are seeing a solid seasonal increase in the number of homes going under contract with buyers since the first of the year.

While the sales are lower, the preliminary overall median home sales price for this January has edged about 6% higher than in January 2023, and at $425,000 it will be the best January number ever in the Cape. At the same time, we continue to see a rising supply of homes listed for sale to go with the continued softness in the median list prices and median pending sales prices, while the unsold supply of homes on the market hit 13 months, for its highest January level since reaching 12 months in January 2014, and 16 months of supply in January 2009. In January 2023 our supply of homes on the market was at 7 months, so plenty of challenges remain for the current and growing influx of home sellers.

Before we get into data for active listings and pending sales, here are a couple of important “house cleaning” items for homeowners. First, the deadline is fast approaching for new homeowners who bought a home in Cape Coral in 2023 to apply for their Homestead Tax Exemption. In order to qualify for a Homestead Tax Exemption, you have to declare Florida as your permanent residence, which generally means being registered to vote in Florida, and if you drive, having a Florida driver’s license, along with using your Florida address as your home address on your Federal Income Tax Return. As long as you met these requirements by Jan. 1, 2024, you are eligible to apply for this substantial property tax benefit.

The deadline to apply for your Florida Homestead Tax Exemption benefit is March 1, 2024, and it is easy to do online through the Lee County Property Appraiser’s website. Just go to “leepa.org” and click on the tab on the right side of the property appraiser’s homepage titled, “Apply for Your Homestead Exemption Online.” You will need to provide the Florida driver’s license number and the date of birth for each person listed as an owner of your home (or condo) in the records at the appraiser’s office. Once you have your Homestead Exemption in place, you do not need to reapply for it every year unless your information has changed.

If the purchase of your home closed after Jan. 1 of this year, and if the seller had a Homestead Exemption in place on the home, that exemption will remain in effect for the remainder of this year, and then you would need to apply for your own Homestead Tax Exemption, if eligible, by March 1, 2025. Keep in mind that your future property taxes will reset based on your purchase price for the home and they will likely be higher than what the current homeowner/seller is paying for their property taxes. The Lee County Property Appraiser’s website also has an easy-to-use property tax calculator that lets you plug in a purchase price for a home and it will calculate a property tax estimate for you on both a homesteaded and non-homesteaded property basis. Be sure to click on the website for the property appraiser in Lee County, Florida, and not Lee County, Alabama, when searching online.

Finally, if you have owned a home in Cape Coral without a Homestead Exemption, while maintaining your primary residence through a home located in another state, and if you became a Florida resident by Jan. 1, 2024, and if you have established your Cape Coral home as your primary residence, you should look into applying for your Homestead Exemption before the March 1 deadline. Qualifying for a Florida Homestead Tax Exemption provides some great benefits and tax savings to homeowners.

Briefly, another thing to look into if you own a home, condo, business property or land here in Lee County, is to register for the Lee County Clerk of Court’s “Property Fraud Alert” service. This service is designed to notify you within 24 hours if any documents are filed with the clerk’s office that affect a property you own. This is a free service and you can sign up at www.leeclerk.org/fraudalert. It is a simple process that requires your name and email address, and you can also register for it from your phone.

Getting back to our market, as of Tuesday, Feb. 13, there were 2,784 active listings for Cape Coral single-family homes in the MLS at prices ranging from $249,900 to $11.9 million, with the median list price at $499,970. The number of active listings is up 14% from 2,442 homes on the market about six weeks ago on Jan. 1, and it is 110.7% higher than the 1,321 active listings one year ago on Feb. 14, 2023, when the median list price was at $519,000. Currently, there are 1,107 homes listed for sale in the Cape at $450,000 and under, with 41 of these homes priced below $300,000.

At the other end of the price spectrum, there are 357 Cape Coral homes listed at $1 million and above. One year ago, there were only 498 homes listed at $450,000 and under, including 22 homes priced below $300,000. At that time there were 180 homes on the market at $1 million and above, with the highest-priced listing in the Cape at $4.275 million.

Along with the steady rise in active listings, we are also seeing our usual seasonal surge in pending home sales since Jan. 1, with 716 Cape Coral homes now under contract with buyers as of Feb. 13. This is up 67.7% from the 427 pending sales in the pipeline at the beginning of this year, but still 6.4% below the 765 pending sales from a year ago on Feb. 14, 2023. Back one year ago, 482 pending sales were priced at $450,000 and under, while 34 homes were pending at $1 million and above. Currently, a total of 433 homes are pending at $450,000 and under, with 48 pending sales at $1 million and above.

Of note, especially to people trying to sell their existing Cape Coral homes, out of the 2,784 active home listings through the MLS in the Cape, a total of 854 or about 31% of them, are for new construction homes. In addition, 276 or 38.5% of the current 716 pending home sales in the Cape are for new construction homes. New home builders are offering much more aggressive incentives to potential buyers and their Realtors, creating stiff competition for sellers in the existing, older home market trying to sell to the same buyers.

The sales data for this article was obtained from the Florida Realtors Multiple Listing Service Matrix for Lee County, Fla., as of Feb. 13, 2024, 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 44 years. Geri has been a full-time Realtor since 2005, and Bob joined with Geri as a full-time Realtor in 2014. Their real estate practice is mainly focused on Cape Coral residential property and vacant lots.