Naples Area Board of Realtors: 2Q 2017 Market Report Shows Home Sales Activity is Hotter than 2Q 2016

Naples, Fla. (June 16, 2017) – Record-breaking rain fall in June did not dampen buyer interest in the Naples housing market as evidenced in the Second Quarter and June 2017 Market Reports released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which track home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). The 2Q report showed strong and steady sales activity leading into summer with a 7 percent increase in overall closed sales to 2,880 closed sales in 2Q 2017 from 2,704 closed sales in 2Q 2016, and a 9 percent increase in overall closed sales for the month of June to 907 closed sales from 832 closed sales in June 2016.
There were many remarkable areas of activity in the 2Q Market Report. For example, condominiums in the $2 million and above price category saw an 86 percent increase in closed sales and a 38 percent decrease in median closed price in 2Q 2017 from 2Q 2016. Similarly, pending sales (homes under contract) in the North Naples market increased 20 percent during 2Q 2017 from 2Q 2016, and was the only geographic area that reported a decrease in median closed price (-1 percent).
“The North Naples area is making a big turnaround,” said Coco Amar, a managing broker at John R. Wood Properties, “Especially in the condominium market which had the highest pending and closed sales reported.”
As reflected in the 2Q Market Report, pending sales of condominiums in North Naples increased 30 percent to 428 condominiums in 2Q 2017 from 329 condominiums in 2Q 2016. Closed sales of condominiums in North Naples increased 29 percent to 463 condominiums in 2Q 2017 from 358 condominiums in 2Q 2016. Condominium sales moving into summer look very good for North Naples too as June’s Market Report showed a 30 percent increase in pending sales.
Overall inventory during the 2Q of 2017 rose a respectable 4 percent to 5,189 homes in 2Q 2017 from 4,983 homes in 2Q 2016. According to Bill Coffey, Broker Manager of Amerivest Realty Naples, inventory during the 2Q was “getting eaten up by sales.” This is very evident in the Report for homes in the $2 million and above price category, which only saw a 1 percent increase in inventory, yet a 43 percent increase in closed sales.
Despite a 12 percent increase in inventory for the $300,000 and below price category, there was a 4 percent decline in overall closed sales in this low-end price category. Interestingly, while inventory for condominiums in the $300,000 and below price category saw the highest increase (17 percent) in the 2Q of 2017, the number of closed sales for condominiums in this category did not change quarter over quarter.
“Buyers struggling to find homes under $300,000 in the single family market are turning to condominiums or coach homes as an alternative,” said Steve Barker, Advising Broker for Equity Realty. “Even so, as it stands today, there is only 2.4 months worth of inventory available in the under $300,000 single-family home market, and 4.2 months worth of inventory available in the under $300,000 condominium market.” In response, many broker analysts remarked that slack sales in the low end of the market might be due to the imminent burden of additional costs beyond the sale price such as high condominium association and/or club membership fees.
Closed sales in the $2 million and above price category are poised to remain strong through the summer as this category experienced a 30 percent increase in pending sales during the 2Q of 2017. One explanation for the burst in closed sales activity for the $2 million and above condominium market was given by Amar, “It appears sellers in the high end of the market are coming around to the idea that a realistic price will sell a property faster. The 38 percent reduction in median closed price for this category during the second quarter shows we are not only seeing more negotiations, but also that sellers are more willing to accept real market offers.”
Broker analysts reviewing the June 2017 Market Report acknowledged that the first two weeks of June started out a little slow, but the month ended strong with 907 closed sales, up 9 percent from 832 in June 2016. Sales of condominiums on the Naples Beach took center stage in June with a 50 percent increase over June 2016. June’s pending sales activity may set the tempo for a promising summer, as pending sales increased 16 percent in June 2017 from June 2016.
At the end of June 2017, the Naples market contained 7.86 months of inventory, which is considered to be normal, indicating that the June market is neither a sellers’ nor a buyers’ market. Inventory has not been this robust for the month of June since 2011.
Mike Hughes, Vice President and General Manager for Downing-Frye Realty, Inc., remarked that the Days on Market increase of 18 percent could be due to overpriced listings. Wes Kunkle, President and Managing Broker at Kunkle International Realty, agreed and said, “With median home prices flattening out in June, there would have been more sales if the homes were priced right.”
If you are looking to sell your home in Naples, seek guidance from the Wakelin Realty Team of Amerivest who can help you determine a fair market price for your home and then market your property correctly to appeal to summer buyers. We can also locate properties that match summer buyer needs and negotiate a purchase price that reflects the market. Discover more at

Ranch Style Home in Naples’ New Stonecreek Community


This three bedroom + club room and three and a half baths Bal Harbor model home is move-in ready. Food enthusiasts will appreciate the open concept kitchen area, complete with a gas cook top stove. The Master Bedroom highlights two spacious walk in closets and tray ceilings. The Master bathroom features his and her vanities and a step in shower.

The Stonecreek community is gated and offers a multitude of amenities including indoor and outdoor basketball courts, a fitness center, game rooms, billiards, hobby room, a resort style pool area, spa, a lap pool, water play area, tot lot, party pavilion, five lighted tennis courts, beach volleyball and four pickleball courts. At the heart of the community will be a 13,676 square foot clubhouse with a social hall, catering kitchen, indoor sports court, card room and more. A full-time activities director is prepared to keep members of this community active and social for all lifestyles once the community is completed as far as building.

A-rated schools and a desirable North Naples location, just North of Immokalee Road, close to I-75 and minutes from shopping, dining, and beaches, also make Stonecreek a wonderful place to live.

The beautiful one-story single-family ranch style home with 3,101 square feet is located at 4386 Caldera Circle in Naples and is listed at $692,900.

Stonecreek is being built by GL Homes, known for building communities with lush landscaping, high-end amenities and quality construction. When complete, Stonecreek will provide its residents with an idyllic Florida-lifestyle experience. There will be just over 600 single family homes within this community, ranging from 1,900 to 4,800 square feet and from approximately $400,000 to the low $700,000’s, and many of them will offer preserve of lake views.

Please contact us today to schedule an appointment and view this move-in ready model home.

Increased Number of Home Sales for Florida in May


Florida housing market statistics reported for May show an increased number of closed sales, increased median prices, an increased number of new listings, and a higher number of pending sales for May, according to the latest housing data released by Florida REALTORS®. Single-family home sales across the state of Florida totaled 27,850 for May; an increase of 7.6 percent compared to data for May 2016. Southwest Florida data for May 2017 is on par with the overall data for the state, showing an increased number of pending home sales, an increased number of closed sales, an increase in median closed sales price, and an increase in inventory.

“Buyer demand continues to fuel Florida’s housing market this month,” said 2017 Florida REALTORS® President Maria Wells. “As for-sale inventory continues to be tight, prospective buyers are responding by being prepared, pre-qualified and ready to make an offer when they find the right home. REALTORS® across the state report that many newly listed homes are selling quickly. In May, sellers of existing single-family homes received 96.4 percent (median percentage) of their original listing price, while those selling townhouse-condo properties received 94.7 percent – a signal that the listed price is extremely close to value.”

The median sales price for single-family existing homes in Florida for May was $239,000 – an increase of 7.7 percent from May 2016. The statewide median price for townhome/condominium home properties in May was $178,000 – an increase of 8.1 percent over May 2016 data. May was the 66th consecutive month that the statewide median prices for both single-family homes and condominium homes increased year-over-year. Listing prices have been dropping to be more in line with the fair market value in Southwest Florida as well as other markets across the state, but the median sales price also increased in Southwest Florida for May.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the national median sales price for existing single-family homes in April 2017 was $246,100 – an increase of 6.1 percent from the previous year. The national median price for existing condominium homes was $234,600.



Naples Area Board of Realtors May 2017 Market Report:

May Shines for Naples

Naples, Fla. (June 16, 2017) – Overall closed sales of homes in May shined brighter than any other month previously reported in 2017, with an impressive 23 percent increase to 1,027 closed sales in May 2017 from 838 closed sales in May 2016. Likewise, overall pending sales (homes under contract) also outperformed activity reported in the last four months. Leading broker analysts who reviewed the May 2017 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island), are quite confident that real estate agents will be very busy this summer.

“If May’s momentum continues, this year will turn out better than last year,” said Mike Hughes, Vice President and General Manager for Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. “Home sales during the summer months have become stronger over the past few years. We are no longer seeing a huge disparity in activity between winter and summer like we once did.”

One familiar obstacle summer buyers will face again this year is a reduction in available inventory. Whereas the market saw a 26 percent increase in inventory in January 2017 to 6,393 homes from 5,091 in January 2016, the May report showed only a 4 percent increase to 5,404 homes in May 2017 from 5,207 homes in May 2016. Inventory increases are leveling off. Many broker analysts who track activity on a daily basis report that they have witnessed upwards of 900 listings disappear from the Southwest Florida MLS since May 1st.

“This type of behavior is short sighted,” said Hughes. “Those who let a listing expire at the end of our winter season are missing a huge opportunity to sell their property during the summer months.” Hughes added that our area attracts a variety of buyers during the summer such as international travelers, families from Northern states, and those relocating from other parts of Florida.

Comparatively, the overall median closed price decreased 8 percent in January, while the May report showed an increase of 5 percent to $355,000 in May 2017 from $338,000 in May 2016. Incidentally, January’s median closed price was $314,000. If the logic behind removing a listing at the end of season is based on old beliefs that a property will obtain a higher sale price during the winter months, then sellers need to examine the May statistics more closely. According to NABOR reports, there were 424 more closed sales during May than January.

“Buyers during the summer are more serious,” said Wes Kunkle, President and Managing Broker at Kunkle International Realty. “In season, we get a lot of traffic, but it’s mostly lookers. In the summer, people are ready to buy. They ask real buyer questions, and most often have financing in place.”

As noted by Coco Amar, a managing broker at John R. Wood Properties, activity in the $2 million and above price category has really picked up strength this year. As reflected in the report, overall pending sales in the $2 million and above price category increased 52 percent in May. There were also 78 closed sales of homes in this price category in May 2017, up from 36 closed sales in May 2016. And while the overall median closed price for homes above $300,000 increased 8 percent to $590,000 in May 2017 from $547,000 in May 2016, the overall median closed price for this top reported price category decreased 8 percent to $2,950,000 in May 2017 from $3,220,000 in May 2016.

The May report also showed overall inventory increased 4 percent to 5,404 homes in May 2017 from 5,207 homes in May 2016. Homes in the $300,000 and below price category had the highest inventory increase of all other price categories, reporting a 12 percent increase to 1,551 properties in May 2017 from 1,391 properties in May 2016. While still an increase over last year, the rate of the market’s overall inventory increase is tempering. In fact, brokers are concerned that housing options in some geographic areas, such as in the Central Naples single family market, may start to pinch sales as this area experienced a 50 percent increase in single-family closed sales during May, but had only an 8 percent decrease in inventory.

According to Kathy Zorn, broker/owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Pristine, “Buyers who are looking for a condominium in the Naples Beach or North Naples area this summer may encounter some challenges as these areas are running low on inventory.” Zorn pointed out that in North Naples there was a 47 percent increase in closed sales of condominiums during May, a 26 percent increase in pending sales of condominiums during May, and only a 9 percent increase in inventory. The situation is even more alarming on the beach, as both pending and closed sales of condominiums increased by double digits, but its inventory rose only 1 percent in May.

If you currently have a home for sale in the Naples market, brokers recommend against terminating the listing during the summer. In fact, there were 875 closed sales in June 2015 and 832 closed sales in June 2016, both higher than the number of closed sales in January (603) and February (613) of 2017.

As a highly desirable second-home location that rarely falls below 70 degrees, Naples will always increase in population during the winter months and then decrease during the summer. But according to county growth reports, the permanent residential population in Naples is also growing steadily. When asked, several brokers say that a large majority of the next season’s part-time residents, along with a host of new permanent transplants, prefer to do their home buying during the summer. So now is the time to seek guidance from The Wakelin Realty Team who can help you market your property correctly to appeal to summer buyers. We can also locate properties that match summer buyer needs and negotiate a purchase price that reflects the market.

Must See Home in Naple’s Kensington Community


Located at 3017 Gainesborough Court in the gated “Gardens” section of Kensington, this home sits on one of the largest lots with lake to golf course views over the 17th green. This 4 bedroom and 3 ½ bath home, listed for $1,449,000 is absolutely amazing. The home has great street presence, including a wide front yard and enhanced landscaping. The Mahogany wood entry with etched glass panels hints at what lies beyond. Attention to detail is seen in the wood cased windows, crown molding, lighted coffered ceilings and transom glass allowing plenty of natural light. The master suite has a sitting area and French doors leading to an expansive lanai. The master bath has custom cabinetry, a walk-through shower and Jacuzzi tub. Separate guest areas allow for privacy and the large gourmet kitchen features Kitchen Aid appliances, an induction stove, raised dishwasher and polished wood top center island – all open to the breakfast area and family room. The huge lanai boasts a summer kitchen with covered terrace for relaxing and entertaining, as well as an additional under roof dining area and two sunning areas. The home’s beautiful large lagoon pool and spa are surrounded with lush landscaping. Membership is optional for the Kensington Golf and Country Club, which offers some of Southwest Florida’s best tennis, fitness, spa and country club living.

Well-known for its intimate, friendly atmosphere, championship golf course, outstanding activities and award-winning cuisine, Kensington is where people create memorable experiences. Kensington Golf and Country Club is a private, member-owned country club, nestled within an intimate gated community located in the heart of Naples; off Pine Ridge Rd. & Livingston Blvd. The Kensington community has a mixture 566 estate & single-family homes, detached villas and condos on 370 acres of land. Kensington boasts a spectacular, recently redesigned, Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course. The championship golf course is 6,848 yard, par 71 masterpiece with multiple tee locations and pin positions that are designed to challenge golfers of all levels. Each hole blends with the Club’s natural surroundings, which features native vegetation, shrubs and trees, crushed coquina shell pathways and bunkers. The membership is limited to 350 equity golf members, which ensures that you will have guaranteed access to tee times and enjoyable play. Additional first class amenities include Kensington’s 30,000 square foot clubhouse, which was built in the tradition of Britain’s finest clubs to feature a variety of dining, banquet facilities, lounge, and private meeting rooms. Adjacent to the clubhouse is an Olympic sized heated pool, cabana area, seven lighted Har-Tru tennis courts, fitness center and a spa offering an array of treatments for men and women. Whether enjoying the sports facilities, the dining venues, the countless parties throughout the year or simply interacting with friends, the Club offers an elegant and picturesque setting to establish traditions and create memories.

Beautiful Home Located in Riverstone in Naples Florida


Riverstone in Naples, Florida is a very special gated community developed by GL Homes that pays homage to luxury living in harmony with nature. It’s a community developed beginning in 2012 by popular builder, GL Homes.  GL is known for building communities with lush landscaping, high-end amenities and quality construction. Riverstone provides its residents with an idyllic Florida-lifestyle experience. The beautiful, low-density site plan features 286 acres of preserves and 86 acres of lakes with most home sites offering a preserve and/or lake view. Homes range in size from 1,800 to 4,700 sq. ft. and prices in Riverstone range from $450,000 to slightly over $1 million. The Lifestyle Complex includes six acres of recreational activities for the entire family. A full-time Lifestyle Director organizes activities, outings and clubs for all ages, providing lots of opportunities to enjoy your new community and meet your neighbors. The magnificent clubhouse features a “cool” indoor sports court for air-conditioned basketball, volleyball, pickleball and more. There is a fully equipped fitness center, a social hall, a catering kitchen, game rooms and a multi-purpose studio. Outside amenities include a free-form resort-style pool with rock waterfall, a separate lap/exercise pool, a children’s water play area, a Jacuzzi spa and a relaxing pool deck with shade pavilions. Tennis enthusiasts enjoy five, Har-Tru courts, lit for night play. Also, there is an outdoor basketball court, a tot lot, plus walking/biking trails. Riverstone is located in an ideal North Naples location; just North of Immokalee Road, close to I-75 and just minutes from fantastic shopping, dining, beaches and “A” rated public schools.

This beautiful and nicely appointed Venetian floor plan is a true gem. This five-bedroom-plus-den, five-bath residence with a large game room or media room is all you could want and more. The richly appointed details include wood floors in the living area on the first floor, travertine on the lanai, new pool cage, granite throughout, crown molding that enhances ceilings, custom great room entertainment built-in and a chef’s delight kitchen with plenty of space to prepare the family’s favorite meal. This home has a tranquil preserve view with a fenced-in yard for the family pet. You will truly enjoy calling this your home. The Lifestyle Complex at Riverstone has a magnificent clubhouse that features indoor sports, fully equipped fitness center, a social area with outdoor covered patio, catering kitchen, multi-purpose studio, game room, free-form resort-style pool with rock waterfall, a separate lap or exercise pool and a jacuzzi spa.

Contact us to schedule a tour of this stunning home located at 3296 Atlantic Circle.

Naples Area Board of Realtors April 2017 Market Report Shows Strong End-of-Season Activity

Naples, Fla. (May 26, 2017) – Inventory decreased for the second consecutive month and prices continued to remain stable in April, setting into motion a burst in end-of-season sales for homes in the market’s sweet spot – the $300,000 to $500,000 price category. Activity in that price category for both single-family and condominium homes in the resale market continued to outpace all other price categories during the month of April according to the April 2017 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). And while overall closed sales for the month decreased 5 percent, closed sales for homes in the sweet spot saw a 14 percent increase.

Phil Wood, President & CEO of John R. Wood Properties, pointed out that the April report showed a 41 percent increase in pending sales for homes in the $2 million and above price category. “There were 10 sales over $5 million in April,” said Wood. “This was a good sign we had a very strong season. I think April’s activity sets us up for a good summer.”

Overall inventory in April increased 8 percent to 5,920 homes in April 2017 from 5,480 homes in April 2016. Most notable was a remarkable 35 percent increase in the $2 million and above condominium inventory for April. However, April’s inventory decreased by 470 homes from March’s level, which was 6,390 homes.

The group of brokers reviewing the April Market Report added that homes that are unrealistically priced influenced April’s average days on market, which showed an increase of 35 percent to 97 days in April 2017 from 72 days in April 2016.

“There appears to be a number of sellers who, when pricing their homes, refuse to take into account the added competition from the new construction market,” said Jeff Jones, Managing Broker at the Naples-Park Shore office of Coldwell Banker®. Several other brokers collectively surmised that, in many cases, the selling price is typically 8 to 10 percent below the original asking price. Dominic Pallini, NABOR® President and Broker at Vanderbilt Realty, said, “an influx of new homes onto the market creates additional competition that many sellers don’t take into consideration when pricing their homes to sell.”

In response, Jones said, “Prices overall have remained relatively flat over the last year. Only the homes in the $300,000 and below price category increased in median closed price in the 12-months ending April 2017 from $207,000 to $219,000. There were actually minor decreases in all other price categories above $300,000.”

The last frontier of growth is eastern Collier County where buyers seeking single-family homes have more affordable options. This area, which includes 34114, 34117, 34120 and 34137, saw a 17 percent increase in closed sales to 122 single-family home closed sales in April 2017 from 104 single-family home closed sales in April 2016.

Several brokers commented that financing has become more complex in the last year and may be one reason the days on market have increased. For the 902 homes that closed in April 2017, the majority (65.3 percent) were cash sales and only 34.7 percent were conventional (financed) sales, a statistic that signifies the seasonal wealth factor.

According to Lauren U. Melo, PA, Licensed Real Estate Broker with Florida’s Realty Specialists, who works with many first-time homebuyers including Millennials interested in purchasing REO properties (real estate owned by lenders and bank-owned foreclosure properties), “REO inventory is very low, and 90 percent of it is priced above $150,000.”

On the commercial side of the real estate market in Naples, Bill Poteet, owner and broker at Poteet Properties, said the area has dramatically low industrial property options. “Naples has plenty of office and retail space available, but not much in terms of large commercial space.”

Before you sell your home, seek guidance from the Wakelin Realty Team. We know the local market and can help you price your property correctly. We can also locate properties that match buyer needs and negotiate a purchase price that reflects the market.

Naples Area Board of Realtors 1st Quarter 2017 Market Report:

NABOR® Market Report Posts Solid First Quarter

Naples, Fla. (April 14, 2017) – It was a busy season for REALTORS® working in Naples as evidenced in the First Quarter 2017 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). As predicted by broker analysts at the beginning of the year, once sellers began to heed the advice of their agents and reset to reasonable list prices, buyers would react in stride with more solid offers. The statistics reflected this prognosis precisely, and resulted in an increase in overall pending and closed sales, making the first quarter of 2017 as solid as expected.

Noted by Mike Hughes, Vice President and General Manager for Downing-Frye Realty, Inc., and the 2016 REALTOR® of the Year, “The first quarter was a bit of a bumpy ride but the trend line for sales moved upward throughout the quarter with March coming in as a pretty strong month for sales activity. Overall, we ended the first quarter better than last year and I think the local brokers are cautiously optimistic that we might have a decent summer for sales.”

Quite a few broker analysts who reviewed the report agreed with Hughes and said the word on the street is that many buyers who didn’t make a purchase during the first quarter have plans to return to the area during the summer as they anticipate home prices may decrease.

Quarter over quarter, the report showed overall median closed prices increased only 2 percent, driven by a narrow 3 percent increase in the $300,000 and below price category. Yet all other price categories tracked by NABOR® showed decreases or no change at all. One exception was single family homes in the $300,000 to $500,000 price category, which jumped 14 percent in median closed price to $387,000 in the 1st quarter of 2017 from $339,000 in the 1st quarter of 2016.

Collectively, broker analysts agreed that activity in the condominium market during the first quarter of 2017 was impressive. In fact, condominium inventory increased 19 percent, while the single-family home inventory saw an 8 percent increase. The report also showed five times the number of condominiums under $300,000 were available in the first quarter of 2017 than single-family homes in the same price category.

“Inventory is up and prices have come down,” said Budge Huskey, President of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. “This is an indication that some fundamental economic principles are taking effect in the Naples housing market.”

But according to Cindy Carroll, SRA, with the real estate appraisal and consultancy firm Carroll and Carroll, Inc., monthly inventory levels have increased through March, but at a progressively lower rate each month of the quarter. For example, Carroll said, “In a year to year comparison, single family inventory was up 24 percent in December, 19 percent in January 2017, 9 percent in February, and 8 percent in March. The same trend is mirrored in the condominium market. In the long view, overall inventory increased 35 percent between March 2015 and March 2016, and 23 percent between March 2016 and March 2017.”

However, Bill Coffey, Broker Manager of Amerivest Realty Naples, was quick to point out that a tempering of inventory levels does not mean fewer options for buyers in the coming months. “The condominium market was hot in the first quarter. Both inventory and closed sales increased 19 percent. And overall sales only lagged last quarter because properties were not priced properly, but now we are seeing price adjustments and the statistics are reflecting the correction. We currently have 8.89 months worth of inventory. In February we had over 9 months. This progressive reduction in inventory Cindy is talking about will not curb market activity greatly.”

The Market Report also indicated a trend in how buyers are purchasing homes in Southwest Florida. “In March 2014, cash sales encompassed 74 percent of all sales for the month. In March 2015 it was 73 percent, then 67 percent for March 2016, and finally, in March 2017 cash sales accounted for 64 percent of all sales made in the month,” said Hughes. “In the past few years cash sales have been decreasing and more buyers are financing home purchases.”

Geographically, the market had some hot areas of action during the first quarter of 2017. Of note was Central Naples (34104, 34105, 34116), which saw a 74 percent increase in single-family home inventory to 634 single-family homes in the 1st quarter of 2017 from 364 single-family homes in the 1st quarter of 2016. And the median closed prices for single-family homes in South Naples (34112, 34113) increased 22 percent in the 1st quarter of 2017 to $386,000 from $317,000 in the 1st quarter of 2016.

If you want to sell your home, we know the local market and can help you price your property correctly. The Wakelin Team can also identify properties best suited for buyers and negotiate a purchase price that fits any budget.

Southwest Florida Housing Market Strong and Steady


Real estate website named the Fort Myers and Cape Coral areas of the Southwest Florida housing market as the second-hottest real estate market to watch in 2017. This is great news for both buyers and sellers in the Southwest Florida area.

In naming the “hottest real estate markets to watch in 2017,” took various factors into consideration, including weather, job growth, and rates of vacancy over the past twelve months. Housing market experts say the Southwest Florida area was averaging approximately 18 months of housing inventory five years ago, making it a challenging market overall. Since then, the area has seen a surge of growth and the current state of stability and growth in Southwest Florida is expected to remain.

University of Florida’s most recent consumer survey results indicate a consumer sentiment reading of 99, the highest rate since March 2002 and the second-highest rate since November 2000.

“Overall, Floridians are far more optimistic in March than the previous month. The gain in March’s index came mainly from consumers’ future expectations about the economy. Importantly, these views are shared by all Floridians, independent of their demographic characteristics and socioeconomic status,” says Sandoval. “These expectations are particularly strong among women and those with an income under $50,000.”

Consumer sentiment in Florida is likely supported by positive economic news. The labor market in Florida has forged forward, with more jobs added on a monthly basis for over six years. The unemployment rate in Florida remained at five percent in February, which represents the most recent data reported. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Florida ranked third out of all states in the nation as far as personal income growth, with a rate of growth of 4.9 percent in personal income from 2015 to 2016.

Across the United States, economic activity and the labor market have continued to grow and strengthen, and household spending has reportedly increased. “In general, the economic outlook is very positive and the positive sentiment will aid the economy to expand even further,” says Sandoval. “The vast majority of housing markets across the nation remain healthy and are projected to stay that way through 2018,” says Dr. Ralph G. DeFranco, Global Chief Economist at Mortgage Services of Arch Capital Services, Inc.



Phishing Scam Aimed for Google Users in Real Estate Industry


A new phishing scam has surfaced and displays what looks like a Google sign-in page if the email recipient and Google user clicks on attachments. If they then log into their Google account to view the file, the hacker’s program automatically retrieves account names and passwords and sends them to the hackers.

The scam has specific relevance to the real estate industry, because it gives hackers access to Gmail accounts and real estate professionals who use Gmail could simultaneously be accessing their own email account for both sending and receiving, while the hacker has access to their account and is also sending and receiving emails through their account. These hackers often monitor correspondence between real estate professionals, title companies and buyers and, at the last minute, have tried to have the final check needed for closing wired to their own bank account.

Typically, the scammer will send an email to your Gmail account. The email likely will appear to be coming from one of your contacts and ask you to look at an attached file, such as a PDF or Word document. It may appear to be legitimate since it seems to be coming from one of your actual contacts, but when you click on the attachment to try to preview the attachment, a new tab opens and prompts you to sign in to your Google Gmail account.

If you sign in to your Google Gmail account, the scammer will instantly have access to your email account and will have the ability to use one of your actual email attachments and subject lines to try to scam others on your contact list as well.

To avoid the phishing scam, always check the browser bar before you log in. The Google sign-in page that users are directed to appears legit, with the same logo, text boxes, and tagline, but the address bar says the page is a data URL with the prefix “data:text/html.” It’s not a URL that begins “https://.”

Google also recently released a Chrome update to 56.0.2924 to help spot such fake forms. With the update, if you view a data URL, the location bar will show “Not Secure” to help users spot a phishing scam more easily. Users on laptop and desktop computers can often hover their cursor over the attachment to check its URL before clicking.