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Slim pickings in SW Fla. for homebuyers, report shows

Thirty new homes were under construction in January 2014 at Mediterra, a 1,700-acre gated community in northern Collier and southern Lee counties.

Mediterra

Thirty new homes were under construction in January 2014 at Mediterra, a 1,700-acre gated community in northern Collier and southern Lee counties.

Buyers searching for a new home in the Naples-Fort Myers market are more likely to find themselves in a waiting game.

The latest report by Metrostudy — a national housing data and consulting firm — shows the new home inventory dropped to only a 1.1 month’s supply in the fourth quarter of last year, That means almost every home under construction has been claimed in the two-county market, said David Cobb, the company’s regional director in the Naples market.

“That’s minuscule,” he said. “That’s virtually no finished inventory. A normal supply would be between two and three months of finished vacant homes.”

Likewise, the inventory of finished, developed residential lots has reached its lowest number in years, the report stated.

In the fourth quarter, there were 11,227 lots in the Naples-Fort Myers market — a 42-month supply, but well below the peak of 164 months registered in early 2009.

“Although slightly above a normal level, this metric does not truly represent the finished lot situation in Southwest Florida, as many of these lots lie outside the core in fringe areas.

All of the ‘A’ lots in this market are under development, and they are being conveyed to end users at a rapid pace,” Cobb notes in his report.

In the fourth quarter, housing starts took a bit of a breather, falling 20 percent quarter-over-quarter, but they were still up year-over-year.

Builders started 712 homes in the fourth quarter, down from 894 in the third quarter. The drop can be attributed to several factors, including rising interest rates, escalating home prices and a drop in consumer confidence following a government shutdown in October, Cobb said.

“It will remain to be seen if this is a trend or not,” he said. “It may just be a blip.”

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Comments » 1

volochine writes:

Nice advertising for the banks and realtors, but get educated and read some real numbers.

You can't have a declining middle class and a prosperous real estate market, unless banks and realtors are lying. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon a correction will happen.

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