Housing Market Shows Rising Prices in February


April 2014
1 — April Fool’s Day
13 — Palm Sunday
15– Tax Day
18 — Good Friday
20 — Easter
22 — Earth Day
23 — Administrative Professionals’ Day
25 — Arbor Day

Featured Listing
Pelican Bay – St. Tropez 
Beautifully upgraded 2BR/2BA plus Den unit with sunset views of the Gulf of Mexico and Clam pass. Gorgeous new kitchen cabinets with granite countertops and granite bath vanities and hardwood flooring! Enjoy all the amenities of Pelican Bay with its private beach, tennis, fitness and steps from the boardwalk tram to beach restaurants! Close to Waterside Shops & the famous Mercato shopping center! 
Offered at $585,000
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Bed/BA:  2BR/2BA
Year Built: 1988
Building Design: High Rise (8+)
2013 Taxes:  $3,025
MLS #: 214018001
Master HOA: $416 quarterly
HOA Fees: $1974 quarterly
Living Area: 1,290 
Total Area: 1,415
Water/Sewer: Central
Living/Dining: 24 x 16 x 13
Kitchen: 12.6 x 9
Den: 11 x 9.6 
Master Bedroom: 14.6 x 12.4
2nd Bedroom: 12 x 10
Porch: 16.6 x 11.8
Terrace: 15.6 x 6
Construction: Concrete Block/Stucco

Housing Market shows rising prices in February

An article from FloridaRealtors.org reported that, “higher median prices, more new listings, fewer days on the market and a stable level of inventory in February, according to the the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors.” A total of 15,826 were closed sales for single-family homes statewide, up 1.5 percent from February 2013. 
Distressed properties listed for sale are diminishing with a return of more of a traditional housing market. New listings for single-family homes in February rose 11.6 percent, while new townhome-condo listings rose 4.6 percent. 
“The statewide median sales prices for single-family existing homes last month was $165,000, up 10 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data & Analysis department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations. The statewide median price for townhouse-condo properties in February was $132,500, up 15.2 percent over the year-ago figure. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less.”
Also, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), “the national median sales prices for existing single-family homes in January 2014 was $188,900, up 10.4 percent from the previous year; the national median existing condo price was $188,700.” 
To read more of this article please visit www.floridarealtors.org

Study: U.S. housing recovery uneven across markets
“Over the next five years, the median price of single-family homes will approach the peach reached before the housing market tanked in 2006, predicts the Demand Institute, a nonprofit think tank run by The Conference Board and Nielsen.”
The institute predicts that some local markets will rebound faster than others, creating an unbalanced recovery.
The national median price is expected to grow at an annual rate of 2.1 percent from 2015 to 2018 driven primarily by new-household formation, according to the study. 
To read more of this article please visit www.floridarealtors.org 

Average 30-year mortgage rate falls to 4.32%

The average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined, getting closer to historically low levels. Freddie Mac said that the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.32 percent from 4.37 percent. The average for the 15-year mortgage ease to 3.32 percent from 3.38 percent. 
“This increase was driven by speculation that the Federal Reserve would reduce its $85 billion-a-month bond purchases, which have helped keep long-term interest rates low. “
The National Association of Realtors reported, “that sales of U.S. existing homes slipped in February, the sixth decline in seven months as severe winter weather, rising prices and a tight supply of homes discouraged buyers.” 
There are still some signs that the market could pick up in the coming months. Sales improved in the South and West, where weather was less of a factor. 
To read more of this article please visit www.floridarealtors.org

Senate Passes Flood Insurance With House Amendments
On March 13, 2014, the United States Senate voted 72-22 to approve the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (H.R. 3370). “The Senate acted quickly to pass the bill as amended by the House to avoid the need for a conference committee to reconcile any differences. The new bill further reins in and holds the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accountable for the Biggert-Waters implementation issues.”
“As passed, the bill repeals FEMA’s authority to increase premium rates at time of sale or new flood map, and refunds the excessive premium to those who bought a property before FEMA warned them of the rate increase. The bill limits premium increases to 18% annually on newer properties and 25% for some older ones. Additionally, the bill adds a small assessment on policies until everyone is paying full cost for flood insurance. President Obama signed the bill into law on March 21, 2014. NAR had urged a swift vote in the Senate.”
To view the video click here.
This article was referenced from the realtor.org.

April Events in Naples
April 2nd — Dancing Under The Stars at Mercato 
April 4th — First Friday Arts Day at Waterside Shops
April 6th — Naples Music Festival, located on Third Street South. 239-434-6533
April 5th-6th — Marco Island Festival of the Arts, located at Veteran’s Park off North Collier Boulevard in Marco Island
April 10th — Evening on Fifth. Enjoy live music, shopping, dining, dancing on Fifth Avenue South. 
April 19th — Easter Egg Hunt at Naples Botanical, 9am to noon. Located at 4820 Bayshore Drive. 877-433-1874


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January 2014 data points to homebuying season early start/ March 2014 Newsletter

 Car Magnet 2013
March 2014
3 — National Anthem Day
4 — Mardi Gras
7 — World Day of Prayer
9 — Daylight Savings Time Begins
17 — St. Patrick’s Day
20 — Vernal Equinox/ First Day of Spring

Featured Listing
2389 Turnberry Court, Pelican Marsh 
Kitchen  Living Room  Dining  Master Bedroom
Located in one of North Naples upscale neighborhoods and close to Mercato with fine restaurants and great shopping. Absolutely stunning private Lakefront views overlooking fountain from the extra-large lanai with heated pool & spa. Custom built in 2000 and beautifully maintained with open floor plan including summer kitchen–perfect for entertaining.
Offered at $1,250,000
BED/BA .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  4BR/3.5BA   
LIVING AREA .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 3,397
 YEAR BUILT  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .2000
MASTER BEDROOM .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 20 x 15
 TOTAL AREA .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 4,943               2nd BEDROOM  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 16 x 12
 BUILDING DESIGN  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  Single Family               3rd BEDROOM.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .16 x 12
 WATER/SEWER  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . Central
 4th  BEDROOM.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  15 x 17
2012 TAXES  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  $11,442
LIVING ROOM  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  17 x 76
MLS #  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  214009358
DINING ROOM  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  21 x 12
DEN .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . .  15 x 12
KITCHEN  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  15 x 14
LANAI .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 30 x 61
FAMILY ROOM.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .19 x 16
GARAGE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 25 x 22

January 2014 data points to homebuying season early start

An article from Realtor.com, posed that 2014 homebuying season has begun on a positive note despite all of the sever weather conditions across the country. Data reveals that the median list price for January 2014 is 8.3 percent above levels from January 2013. The number of properties for sale is up 3.1 percent and the median age of inventory is unchanged, indicating a transition to a less frenzied market compared to January 2013.
“January’s start compared to year-ago levels is an encouraging sign of sellers’ interest, particularly given the adverse conditions brought on by the polar vortex,” said Errol Samuelson, president of Realtor.com. “We saw the tight-supply market of last fall carry all the way into November – later than is typically expected – and this early rise in inventory is a welcome trend. The sustained median list price growth supports the gains we saw last year, and sellers are responding with confidence in that consistency. We will continue to watch inventory movement in the coming months as we move further into typical seasonal patterns, but anticipate a more balanced buying market.”
The national median existing home price is projected to rise 5 to 6 percent in 2014, according to the National Association of Reatlors (NAR). 
To read more of this article please visit www.floridarealtors.org

Freshen Up Your Home, Spring has Sprung

March is a great place to begin to get a fresh start around the house. Here is a checklist to get your house for Spring.
1. Clear the Kitchen. Completely declutter the kitchen surfaces and then scrub the countertops and walls. After this has been done, step back and admire how beautiful your kitchen looks without all the extra appliances and random clutter. Consider putting back only the items you use daily, and store the rest in your pantry or in your cabinets.
2. Clean out the pantry. If you have a fairly large pantry this task could take a few days. Break it down and do one shelf at a time. Toss expired food and purging of things you know you will never use or even donate them to a local food pantry. Consolidate! Pour the last few grains of rice into a new container and toss out the empty packages to make more room. 
3. Beautify your command center. The place in your kitchen or entryway is often the hub of all of your household activities and tends to be swamped with piles of paper and random clutter. Take time to clear the decks, file papers, log upcoming events in the calendar and put things away. Add something beautiful, a pretty cloth covered box to keep your papers tidy, a few small framed prints and or a potted plant.
4. Launder and mend soft furnishings. Early spring is a great time to clean soft furnishings, such as, slipcovers, pillow covers, curtains, shower curtains, etc. Either launder the smaller items at home or bring the larger pieces to a pro. 
5. Spring clean your wardrobe. Take the time to your through your entire wardrobe. Purge of the ill-fitting and unworn, and setting aside winter clothes that are ready to be cleaned and stored. If clothes have been stored away and are a bit stale, fluff them in the dryer before putting or hanging them up.
6. Clear clutter in the mudroom. Go through every shelf, cubby and drawer, and put away the things you are no longer using. Pull out that umbrella for spring showers! 
7. Spiff up the porch. Make it look more inviting. Inspect the floor and repaint if needed. Sweep away cobwebs, wipe down the mailbox and porch light. Freshen it up with a new doormat and put out a few plants.
8. Swap out storm windows for screens. This pertains to those who use storm windows in the winter and the worst weather has passed. Swap them out for screen doors and put up screens on all the windows.
9. Inspect the exterior. Inspect the roof, siding, gutters and yard. Call in a professional to repair any openings or for any needed repairs. 
Have any tips that we forgot? Feel free to share them with us. 

Tips are from Houzz.com

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Naples #1 in growth for jobs and economy

February 2014

February 2nd — Groundhog Day

February 7th — National Wear Red Day
February 12th — Lincoln’s Birthday
February 14th — Valentine’s Day
February 17th — Presidents’ Day
February 22nd — Washington’s Birthday

Naples #1 in growth for jobs and economy
Based on findings from USA today, Naples is forecast to lead metros in economic growth and job gains.  Naples will be the fastest-growing metro area in the country, with an economy expanding by 6.3%, the report sats. Naples will also add jobs faster than any other metro. Among larger cities, top performers include Raleigh, NC, expected to grow by 4.2%; Atlanta, 3.7% and Austin, at 3.6%.
“The key thing in the northeast was the stabilization of housing,” Diffley said. “When prices normalized and people weren’t underwater any more, small but positive job growth has been able to stimulate spending.”
To read the full article, please go to the link below: 

Annual Market Report for 2013 for Naples, Bonita, Estero market area
Closed Sales
The number of closed sales in 2013 continue the upward trend of the past 6 years, culminating in the highest number of sales on record. Average sales price increased 13% year over year and median sales price is up 18%.
Inventory Levels & New Listings
Inventory continues to decline in the Naples, Bonita & Estero markets. Condominiums priced from $500,000 to $750,000 and those priced between $2,000,000 and $5,000,000 experienced large decreases in availability, down 26% and 30% respectively. The number of properties placed on the market is down 41% from the 2006 high, and the second lowest on record.
Pended Sales
Buyer interest in Southwest Florida real estate pushed the number of pended sales to an all time record. All price categories reflected increased demand with the exception of entry level product priced below $250,000. Not all pended sales close, however, this benchmark, along with current inventory, has proven to be the best leading indicator of market direction.
2013 Quarterly Stats – Single Family Homes 1st Qtr          2nd Qtr         3rd Qtr          4th Qtr Median closed price (<$300K)    $175,167       $178,333        $182,650       $187,359 Median closed price (>$300K)    $549,667       $529,167        $515,000       $493,640 Closed sales                             1,014            1,359             1,148            1,027 Avg. days on market                 156               149                133                87 2013 Quarterly Stats – Condominiums 1st Qtr          2nd Qtr         3rd Qtr          4th Qtr Median closed price (<$300K)    $146,683       $151,000        $153,000       $158,833 Median closed price (>$300K)    $523,250       $581,667        $557,500       $526,250 Closed sales                             1,253            1,833             1,220             1,085 Avg. days on market                  496               515                440               317
Market Update provided by John R. Wood Properties, “Bring Your Highest Expectations!”

Pending Sales Tumble in December 
According to the National Association of Realtors in Washington, “Pending home sales measurably dropped in December, with abnormal weather partly inhibiting home shopping in much of the U.S.” The Pending Home Sales Index stated that it fell 8.7 percent to 92.4 in December from 101.2 in November, and is 8.8 percent below December 2012, when it was 101.3. 
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist stated, “Home prices rising faster than income is also giving pause to some potential buyers, while at the same time a lack of inventory means insufficient choice. Although it could take several months for us to get a clearer read on market momentum, job growth and pent-up demand are positive factors.” 
Pending home sales in the South fell 8.8 percent to an index of 104.9 in December and are 6.9 percent below what it was a year ago. Total existing-home sales this year should hold close to 5.1 million, but inventory remains limited in much of the country. 
To read the full article, please go to the link below: 
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Average rate on 30-year loan eases to 4.42%

Average rate on 30-year loan eases to 4.42%
Straight from Washington on December 13th, the average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages eased up a bit, remaining near historically low levels. 
Mortgage rates peaked at 4.6% in August and have stabilized in September. The average fee for a 30-year mortgage jumped to 0.7 point from 0.5 point. The fee for a 15-year loan rose to 0.7 point from 0.4 point. The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage fell to 2.51% from 2.59% from the week prior of December 13th. The average rate on a five-year adjustable mortgage declined to 2.94% from 2.99%, as well. 
To read the entire article please go to the following link below:
Economists: Florida’s housing sector will grow in 2014, but at a slower pace
According to the Florida Realtors(r)’ 2014 Real Estate and Economic Summit held in mid December state that, “Look for 2014 to bring continued growth in the state’s housing sector, though at a slower pace than in 2013 due to changing market and economic conditions. The real estate market is going to grow, and we’ll probably see about a 10% increase in residential sales, ” Chief Economist John Tuccillo said.
Home values will rise at roughly 5% a year, which is in line with historical trends. In the last 18 months, home values have gone up about 12%, in which Tuccillo said, “I don’think we’ll see that next year.”
To read the entire article please go to the following link below:
Small Steps for Keeping Your Housekeeping Resolutions
January sometimes bring the mere thought of a huge drum of worry and stress. Instead of making resolutions that seem so grandor and impossible, what if we made things simple and took them slowly? How do we do this and maintain them, permanently? 
Here are a few suggestions:
Remember that you’re not the only one. 
Determine your fitness level. “It’s easy to compare ourselves and our homes to others and their homes, but that’s not really helpful. Figuring out your level of fitness is just another way of facing reality. And it’s important to do so without judgement. The goal is to become stronger and move to the next level, rather than bemoan what is. This applies to every sort of fitness, whether it’s physical, emotional, relational, organizational–you name it,” says Alison Hodgson, Houzz Contributor.
Target a muscle group. If you want to organize your home, you need to start with one room, and even then narrow your focus. 
Choose an exercise. If you decide your pantry is where you would like to start, you decide what you are doing first. Choose one small thing you can do every day and then just do it. 
Don’t worry about the rest. Once you’ve tackled your one small thing, you’ll know what you want to work on next.
To read the entire article please go the following link below:
Naples January Events
January 1, 2014– New  Year’s Day! 
January 8, 2014 – Dancing Under the Stars’ at Mercato! 6pm-9pm, Mercato Shopping Center
January 11, 2014 – Paddleboard Fitness and Yoga, 8:30-10am, Beach 2nd Ave North. 239-591-3199
January 19, 2014 – Naples Daily News Half Marathon 2014, 7-9:45am. Race starts at 5th Avenue South, 239-434-9786.
January 20, 2014 – Martin Luther King Jr. 
January 24-26, 2014 – Naples Winter Wine Festival. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. 239-514-2239
January 25-26, 2014 – Swamp Buggy Races. 12:30-3:30pm Saturday, 12:30-4:30pm Sunday. 8250 Collier Blvd. Florida Sports Park.
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Inventory in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero Market Declines 17% versus October 2012

Closed Sales

Closed sales from January to October 2013 increased 10% from the same time period in 2012. YTD closed sales in the $250,000 – $500,000 price range and properties priced between 750,000 and $1,000,000 have posted the largest increases, up 31% in each category over prior year. In the luxury home market above $1,000,000, the average closed price for sales in October 2013 is $2,280,793, which is 13% higher than 2012. Sales greater than $5,000,000 almost doubled year to date with 41 sales this year vs. 21 for the same period 2012.


Pended Sales

Pended sales through October 2013 are 10% higher than the same time period in 2012 and the highest on record during the past 10 years. The number of pended sales in all price segments increased over prior year with the exception of properties priced below $250,000, which decreased 4%.


New Listings

The number of new listings placed on the market in October is down from prior year and 10% below the five year average for the month. On November 1, 2013, available inventory in the combined Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero market stands at 5,371 units (2,697 single family homes and 2,674 condominiums). This represents a 5.3 month supply based on the number of closings in the past 12 months, and is a 17% decline from October 2012 when there was a 7.2 month supply



7— Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

15 — Bill of Rights Day

17— Full Moon

21 — Winter Solstice

25 — Christmas Day

31 — New Year’s Eve

Time is Running Out to Claim Energy Tax Credits!
The end is drawing near to 2013 so don’t miss your chance to claim your energy tax credits!  The Federal Government has extended the $500 tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements through the end of this year. If you have made any recent improvements or upgraded certain systems you may be in luck!  How do you know if you qualify?  Check out HouseLogic’s article “How to Claim Your Energy Tax Credits” for more details!

And finally, as we enter the month of December, we hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!




                                                                                    Annual Holiday in the Park

Bonita Springs


A blizzard in the park marks a sunny December day one to remember each year! This magical free family-friendly event located in Riverside Park at 26740 Pine Avenue in Bonita Springs on December 3rd, includes a blizzard in the park, giant slow slide, a snow fall area for kids, live holiday music, a holiday train and horse drawn carriage rides, free apple cider and cookies, and more. All children fourteen and younger receive a toy and a chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus!


For more information call (239) 949 -6262 or visit http://www.cityofbonitasprings.org/events/holiday-in-the-park-2/


Holiday Express Festival of Lights

Fort Myers


Ready to celebrate the season with a festive ride through the train village? The Holiday Express Festival of Lights Event runs nightly from December 14th to Dec 30th, 2013. (However, is will be closed December 15th due to Lakeside Country Concert, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.)  Tickets are just $5.00 for ages 6+ and $2.00 for ages 1-5.  Located at Lakes Regional Park at 7330 Gladiolus Drive in Fort Myers, the event’s hours of operation are nightly from 6PM to 8:45PM.  For more information, call (239) 267-1905.


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Homes Sales Reach Highest Level in 6+ Years; Hello Season!

Hello Friends! 

October has arrived and in our area that means the beginning of season, along with Fall Festivals, Football Games and the beautiful Florida weather! 


Continue reading

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Homes Listed Are Increasing

More Homes are coming to the market. Most of the areas with the smallest inventory are seeing increases in the number of homes for sale between May & June; Naples being one of them. From the article, from MSN, ” The number of homes listed for sale grew 4.26% from May to June, with a total of 1.93 million listed for sale nationwide.” 

With the lower inventory levels, it has become a seller’s market—is it your turn to sell? Are you curious about what the market is doing in your neighborhood? Do you want to know what your neighbor’s home sold for? Contact Karen Sweatlock today! 

August & September Events: 

August 3rd

Naples Beach Brewery Tour & Tasting, Tour starts at 3pm, 4110 Enterprise Ave, Suite 217

August 8th

Outside Live Entertainment at CJ’s, 6pm-9pm, Marco Island

Every Saturday

Farmer’s Market on Third Street South, 7:30am-11:30am

August 24th

Summer Jazz On The Gulf at Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, 7pm-10pm

September 12th

Evening on Fifth, Festive Sidewalk Entertainment. 7pm-10pm

September 19th

Thursdays on Third, Live Music 6:30pm-9:30pm





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