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SW Florida Real Estate Market Continues Recovery
Many would say our market is Hot, and compared to 2006-2009 it’d be pretty hard to disagree with that statement. While we are seeing some nice gains, our market is healing, which is a good thing.

A couple of things we look for are the percentage of cash vs. financing to identify the liquidity in the market as well as the percentage of traditional sales vs distressed sales. Our market has good volume now and would be higher if we had more inventory to sell.
We’ll come back to inventory in a moment. As you can see from the attached graph, traditional sales are above 70% of the total sales.
Back in 2009 they were close to 20%, so that’s a big swing.

Cash sales are dropping as a percentage of total sales. Many would say that’s a bad sign, but it’s actually a good sign. Banks add money to the market.
For awhile banks weren’t lending much.
There is a cap on cash sales and the amount cash buyers will pay, but not so much on financing. Buyers will use leverage to purchase more, so it helps add liquidity to the market.
Cash is always good, and having cash buyers is a good thing, but relying on them is a sure fire way to a stagnant market. Infusing capital into the market helps pull the market higher, and we’re seeing definite trends in financing. Banks have finally made it possible to borrow again, and that will help us continue this recovery.

I recently had a potential seller ask me why I didn’t say the market has fully recovered and that we were in full blown market mania. When I showed the seller how much his home value had increased from 2009 he was impressed, but he had refinanced his house during the boom and owed more today than it’s worth. Had he not taken money out at the height of the market he would have had equity, but since he did, he was still underwater.
He chose not to sell today but we’d revisit the issue next year.

This is exactly why I say we’re still recovering. Back in 2005 we had artificial influences affecting the market, and we still do today. Today the artificial influences are the fact that some sellers still owe more than their property is worth today. If we didn’t have upside down sellers we’d have more inventory, and if we had more inventory we’d have more sales.
Some sellers are above water but just don’t like their equity position because it doesn’t leave them much down payment for the next home.
In any event, equity positions are holding back many sellers who’d otherwise like to sell but are still trapped in their homes. This is perhaps one of the last barriers to calling this a full blown market recovery.

When the economy finally takes off, we could move closer to that point. Signs point to a recovering economy, but things like ObamaCare could stall that if companies cut back to stay afloat.
We’re also hearing from small business owners who are facing large premium increases, so this cuts into their disposable income and their real estate purchasing power.
Something tells me that when fully implemented, the public will turn to their congressmen and demand some changes, and they’ll make some changes to lessen the effects.
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