Monday, February 27, 2017

Collier County home sales up, prices down to start 2017

Collier County's median home price dropped in January compared with a year ago, but an overall increase in sales encouraged analysts trying to gauge the 2017 real estate market after a rough 2016.

The median — the price that divides half the homes that sold for more and half for less — fell 8 percent in January to $314,000, compared with $340,000 for the same month a year ago, according to a monthly report released Friday by the Naples Area Board of Realtors.

The NABOR report tracks sales by the Realtor association's members in Collier County, excluding Marco Island, and includes mostly resales, not new-home sales.

"I don't think it's down that much to be scared of, and I think we'll see those numbers start to come up," said Kathy Zorn, broker/owner at Florida Home Realty.

Overall, according to the report:

    • Pending sales were up 9 percent to 924 in January, compared with 847 a year ago.
    • Closed sales were up 6 percent to 603, compared with 571 in January 2016.

That represents a turn-around of sorts from 2016, when overall sales fell by nearly 13 percent to 8,510 homes, down from 9,751 in 2015, according to NABOR's year-end report last month.

NABOR reported January was the first time both overall pending sales and overall closed sales were on the rise at the same time since March 2015.

"January was off to a good start," said Mike Hughes, vice president and general manager for Downing-Frye Realty.

The increase in closings in January likely was a result of buyers signing contracts after Donald Trump won last year's bitter presidential election, Hughes said.

An increase in pending sales bodes well for carrying momentum through the tourist season, particularly in the market between $300,000 and $2 million, where sectors posted increases between 20 percent and 37 percent in January compared with January 2016, said Zorn.

"This will set the trend for the confidence in our marketplace, and consumers will be returning to the closing table," she said.

The overall increase in sales was driven by a 14 percent increase in condo sales; the 34112 and 34113 ZIP codes led the way with a 47 percent increase in sales from 49 in January 2016 to 72 in January 2017.

Overall, according to the report:

    • The median sales price for condos dropped to $265,000, or about 5 percent, but dropped by just 2 percent to $467,000 in the market above $300,000.
    • Single-family home sales dropped by 7 percent overall to $397,000, and by 9 percent to $510,000 in the market above $300,000. 

The inventory of homes and condos available for sale stands at almost 6,400 homes, up 26 percent from almost 5,100 homes a year ago in January.

That might indicate asking prices are too high, analysts said.

It also means buyers have more to choose from, Hughes said.

"Personally, I look at it as the glass is half-full," he said.

Hughes said a booming stock market could work against the Collier real estate market, which has a lot of cash buyers. Cash buyers might want to leave their money in the market rather than take it out to buy a home or condo, Hughes said.

"It can be tough to pull it out when the market is hot," he said.
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