January 2014 market update
Overall 2013 finished slightly ahead of 2012 in terms of unit sales across the board with less than 5% growth in unit sales in Charlotte County, PGI/BSI & the Burnt Store markets. Where we recognized the most significant increases in unit sales is in the sale of vacant land. Specifically, Charlotte County experienced a 14% increase in lot sales in 2013 over 2012, while the 33950 (PGI/BSI market) witnessed a 27% increase, and 33955 (Burnt Store market area) witnessed a 19% increase. The increase in lot sales had a corresponding increase on the number of building permits issued, as confirmed by the city of Punta Gorda who alone issued 87 permits in 2013.
This is encouraging news for property sellers in our market today, as many of the “value lots” are being cleared from the market pushing buyers back into the resale market, versus considering new construction. With our market now one year stronger and our feeder markets firming up in the Midwest and Northeast we are better poised for a potential uptick in property prices.
Abnormally cold weather experienced so far this winter will certainly contribute to the migration that Michael wrote about last week. This coupled with more mortgage markets opening back up will in fact help to spur buying activity this season.
We will continue to experience the challenges with mortgage lenders being more rigid with their qualification of buyers, though more money should be available for those who qualify. Moreover, as prices start to creep up we will be confronted with the never ending challenge of access to adequate data to substantiate the necessary appraisal.
The other hurdle on the horizon for sellers with older homes is the Biggert- Waters Flood Insurance reform, which is grossly increasing the cost of flood insurance for homes built in 1973 and before in Charlotte County and 1982 and before in Lee County. The Senate is currently moving to postpone the implementation of this act, which will have a devastating impact on these property owners.no comment