Naples, Fla. (March 27, 2020) – Despite state recommendations to practice self-distancing, the housing market in the Naples area continues to breathe with life. The February 2020 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island), showed overall closed sales increased 29 percent to 789 closed sales in February 2020 compared to 610 closed sales in February 2019. Admittedly, this report reflects comparable activity in February 2020 – which preceded self-distancing recommendations due to COVID-19 – but it is a glimpse at our market’s significant and enduring desirability.
“We have a resilient real estate market that was proven during the last recession,” said Dominic Pallini, Broker at Vanderbilt Realty, who was the President of NABOR® during Hurricane Irma in 2017. “This interruption should end in a few months; not seven to ten years.”
Like many professionals, REALTORS® in Naples are working remotely or from home and using creative solutions to stay connected to their buyers and sellers. Brenda Fioretti, Managing Broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, remarked that “some offices are closed, but we are all still in business!”
In an industry that is already technology-focused and adept, NABOR® and its members are continuing efforts to help foster the sale of homes, all while following the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. NABOR® is also providing new digital resources during the coronavirus outbreak to help keep the public and real estate professionals connected and safe.
Overall pending sales in February increased 43 percent to 1,526 pending sales compared to 1,068 pending sales in February 2019! There were also 32,712 showings by agents in Collier Collier during February, which is roughly 11,000 more showings than reported in February 2019.
Wes Kunkle, President and Managing Broker at Kunkle International Realty, keeps an eye on market activity daily by analyzing activity in the Southwest Florida MLS and said on March 25, 2020, that “the MLS data is showing an average of 25 new pending sales every day.”
Fioretti said her firm is “currently focusing our efforts on closing pending transactions because February’s pending sales were so strong and many buyers and sellers are eager to successfully close on their properties.”
Fioretti added that “there are many important tasks that must be completed in order to have a successful closing, such as inspections, appraisals, final walk through, meeting lender requirements, Homeowner Association applications and approval and more.” She predicts that March closings should be strong as a result of strong February pending sales, and the vigorous efforts of REALTORS®, lenders, and closing agents.
February’s Market Report also shows a renewed and growing interest in condominium sales, which saw pending sales increase 45 percent to 802 pending sales in February 2020 compared to 552 in February 2019.
Budge Huskey, President, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, agreed with Fioretti that March’s closed sales will be strong as “most everywhere there is respect for the need to foster closings of pending sales.”
Properties priced between $1 million and $2 million reported the highest increase in closed sales (21 percent) for the 12-months ending February 2020 than any other price category. Single-family home sales in the $1 million to $2 million price category had the highest increase among all properties reported with a 27 percent increase (12-months ending February 2020)! However, condominiums priced above $2 million had the highest increase in closed sales for its property type, reporting a 20 percent increase (in the 12-months ending February 2020). These increases are in line with what broker analysts predicted in January that many buyers are rebalancing their portfolios and pulling money out of the stock market to buy homes.
Overall median closed prices increased 3 percent in February to $345,000 compared to $335,000 in February 2019. Broken down by property type, median sales prices rose 5 percent for single family homes and nearly 7 percent for condominiums in February 2020 compared to February 2019. Fioretti added that “price increases in February were expected due to the low inventory we are still experiencing.”
Because the federal government enacted stricter standards for financing following the recession in 2008, “most buyers in the last ten years have purchased homes using cash or conventional financing with significant down payments,” said Adam Vellano, West Coast Sales Manager, BEX Realty – Florida. “This has created larger amounts of equity in the market and, with our current balanced inventory, we can absorb a short disruption.”
Vellano added that we are not facing a housing crisis like what we experienced in 2008 because we don’t have a lot of highly leveraged owners with second mortgages that will be forced into foreclosure.
The February 2020 Market Report also showed a 6-month supply of inventory for properties under $500,000, while properties priced above $500,000 are at an 8-month supply. Interestingly, there is currently a 14-month supply of inventory for properties priced above $2 million.
“The February report is a continuation of the incredible pace of the market we saw in January, with impressive results across all categories and price ranges,” said Huskey. “These figures reflect the market in advance of the coronavirus impact, which will no doubt be evident in March. The reality is business is continuing, albeit at a far slower pace as the REALTOR® community and the public enact the recommended precautionary steps to ensure the situation is short-lived. But, the first two months of the year confirmed that Naples is more desirable than ever, an attraction which will be sustained long after concerns of the virus have passed.”
SOURCE: Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR)