Unless you haven’t been watching the news or seeing the number cars with out of state license plates traveling our roads, let me tell you there has been a tremendous increase in the number of people who are now calling Florida “home” on a full time basis. As I’ve mentioned many times in our previous newsletters, last January we were hearing people saying it was the inclement weather and high taxes that had them strongly considering a move to Florida however, when Covid hit, it changed the market dynamics.
No longer did people want to live in densely populated areas, commute via mass transit and work in the tight quarters of commercial office buildings. Employers found production levels didn’t decrease as anticipated and were now allowing their employees to work remotely. As a result instead of waiting for retirement to move to Florida, they were making the lifestyle change now, and for some cities, it has become a mass exodus!
Florida and Texas are two states seeing a tremendous influx of people looking to relocate on a permanent basis and with very low inventory levels the competition for existing homes has been fierce. In fact some of major builders such as Lennar have put a “sales hold” on some of their developments so construction can catch up with sales.
Recently we had three of our listings sell in one day, and well over full price. Our most recent listing had 28 confirmed showings within 12 hours and 15 offers, with the accepted high offer almost $80,000 over full list price….yes, you read it correctly! Agents were telling us of their frustrations in not having their offers accepted when bidding $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 and more over list price. Buyers who wanted to give some thought to the home they viewed before making an offer found themselves on the outside looking in as the property went pending shortly thereafter.
While this may seem reminiscent during the real estate boom in 2004-2006, it is a very different scenario. Sub-prime mortgages and other forms of loans were being approved for buyers who under normal circumstances would never have been able to qualify. Inventory levels were much higher and the speculation that baby boomers were headed to Florida for the next 20-30 years had everyone giddy the sky wasn’t going to fall. Appraiser’s couldn’t keep up with the increases and started giving valuations on properties that were called into question years later.
What you are seeing now are not only retirees, but those looking to make lifestyle changes prior to retirement, both vying for short supply of available properties. Unlike the market back in 2004-2006, this market is not being driven by investors and speculations. We are in a market where there is strong demand and short supply. With the cold weather now hitting the north, those that were contemplating a lifestyle change are acting with a sense of urgency, adding an additional strain to an already robust market. Sensing their opportunity may be slipping away we have seen an immense uptick in offers well above list price. What was a market characterized by gradual growth, we are now seeing the realization by some this may be their last opportunity for some time and are willing to pay a premium for it.
As always if you have any real estate questions, feel free to reach out firstname.lastname@example.org 941.916.0939
If you’re like me it seems every time you turn on the t.v. or pick up a newspaper there is nothing but negative news. If it isn’t the Coronavirus it is the political and racial divisiveness that is making front page news. The left is yelling at you “we want change,” the right is screaming “come to your senses.” Can’t I just be left alone? And let’s not forget about the stock market. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think any Disney World roller coaster ride has anything over the highs and lows we are seeing in the stock market. One day it is up 800 points and the next day it is down 400. What is going on with this country we live in? Can’t we just go back to the way things used to be?Call me an eternal optimist, but for some time I decided to take a step back and take a look at things from a different perspective. Sure, I have my opinions, but what if I quieted down the entire minutia and got back to the basics of what were the most fond moments of my youth? What I found was without all the clamor the very things I held most dear I was having an opportunity to experience again. I, too, got caught up in the rat race of everyday life and the simple things I thought of most I was now being given another opportunity to enjoy.
I was forced to slow down and savor each day and the friends we have made along the way . It was the same feeling I had after working in the “concrete jungle” of New York City and coming to Florida 21 years ago. It was like a breath of fresh air that afforded us a quality of life we didn’t have in New York because of the fast paced lifestyle. Unfortunately like most, we got so caught up with work and projects around the home we didn’t take the time to savor the life we found those twenty one years ago. However, the Coronavirus changed all that and we’ve not only had an opportunity to reflect on what really matters in life, but how fortunate we really are.
Closer to home in the smaller cities like Venice and Punta Gorda you are seeing the embrace of a community and a quiet enthusiasm that is translating into new developments and business. Once seen only as places to escape the cold weather up north, we are now seeing somewhat of an exodus from those looking to escape the high taxes and congestion for a better way of life.
I sat down to interview Mark and Leigh McCann who are Captains with Allegiant Airlines . In fact, Leigh is the most tenured Captain in Punta Gorda that has 38 Captains based here and 36 First Officers. According to Mark and Leigh, air travel dropped in March, but came back in May and June very strong. Out of the 186 passengers the planes can hold, they were flying typically with 170 passengers and sometimes more!
Back in 2007 & 2008 when airlines were suffering from the downturn in the economy, Allegiant was the only profitable airline and up to this pandemic had 70 consecutive quarters of profitability. While the stimulus was supposed to keep the airline industry running through September, like many airlines, Allegiant had plans to furlough an estimated 30% of its pilots however, now there is not only no plans to furlough anyone, they are training new pilots.
Mark and Leigh continued by saying while other airlines are downsizing and pulling out of marginal routes, Allegiant will have an opportunity to pick up new routes and more equipment (planes). The attribute Allegiant’s success to tourist or pleasure travel, not business travel and said they have developed a loyal passenger base.
Turning our conversation to Sunseeker, Mark went on to say, we have a connection to this community, and for all the positives that Allegiant is doing for the community by bringing passengers from various points around the country to our area, the last thing they want is to be tied to a failed project. H e said while it was important to make sure the airline remained on solid ground during this time, which led them to delaying the development of Sunseeker , the 18 month delay was seen as a conservative estimate and that they hope to resume the project prior to then . He said as a company they are cautiously optimistic, but optimistic nevertheless!
Turning back to the real estate market and it’s upturn in activity, RE/MAX Harbor had 61 showings for the month of May, however that number dramatically increased in June to 458! Yes, people are still looking to move from the large cities where this pandemic has had them reconsider their routine of day to day activities. They are finding out what we’ve known all along…. “Quality of life.” And it comes from moving to those smaller, quaint towns with a feel of community.
In speaking with those in the RV and marine industries, sales have increased dramatically and as one representative from a local marine company said, “We just can’t find any new or used boats to meet the demand.”And most recently, Punta Gorda was named #2 in USA Today’s Readers Choice Awards for “Best Small Town Food Scene.”
All this and more is why we love living in Southwest Florida and why others are choosing to do so as well. As we soar through 2020, all the ups and downs, I think something we can all agree that truly matters is our faith, family, sense of community, and stopping to focus on all the good around us.
It seems like yesterday when the New Year started with a bang. The real estate market got off to its fastest start than we had seen over the past couple of years. People were giddy watching the stock market on its meteoric rise reaching an all-time high on February 14th of 29,398.
Restaurants were packed; sports bars were getting ready for college basketball’s March Madness and people were shopping and enjoying life “as usual.” Then came news out of China of a Coronavirus and since then the world has been in turmoil, or so it seems.
As I look back over my life I think of all the upswings and downturns in life I’ve personally experienced and Billy Joel’s 1989 hit song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” comes to mind. In just over 3 minutes, he takes us through a recap of history, highlighting man’s greatest achievements and the devastating events that impacted us all from wars, and worldwide epidemics, to political and social unrest. Nothing summarizes this better than his choral lyrics:
We didn’t start the Fire
It’s been always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it.
So what have we learned from our experiences? Apparently, not much! Instead of looking back to how we overcame Polio, SARS, Ebola, H1N1 (Swine Flu), Aids and Influenza, we have driven ourselves into a panic that is being heightened by the media and the emotional roller coaster inherent in the stock market.
Now before you think I’m making light of this pandemic and oversimplifying the cautionary steps that need to be taken,
this newsletter is being written by someone who during the seventh grade missed over a month of school due to Whooping Cough. Back then it wasn’t common for someone to be out of school for over a month where homework, class notes and assignments had to be brought home with the expectation that I had to keep up as if I were attending class daily.
Throughout the years, I’ve not only experienced the same worldwide epidemics as most of you, but I’ve gone through economic downturns in the Texas economy in the late ’70s with the devaluation of the Peso and plummeting oil prices. While the rest of the country was experiencing great economic growth, Texas was in a recession. I remember gas lines, as do most of you, the stock market crash in 1987, subsequent recessions, Y2K, the crash in the housing market, and who can’t remember the devastation caused by Hurricane Charley with almost no advanced warning and how our area came back better and more improved than ever? Wow, with that recap I’m starting to sound like Billy Joel myself!
Writer and philosopher George Santayana wrote in his book, Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” You would think our past experiences would have enhanced our coping mechanisms, but the example we are setting for this next generation is that of panic and hoarding, instead of seeing the opportunities afforded in challenging times and taking advantage of them.
One of my clients who does financial consulting, restructuring and sales growth for businesses recalls the 1987 stock market crash. He was working on Wall Street at the time and ready to go into a corporate meeting when it was delayed by 45 minutes due to brokers actively working the phones. Conventional wisdom would have you think there was a frenzy with everyone looking to sell, but they were swamped with investor calls from those looking to capitalize during the markdown downturn. He said it was during those times the “men were separated from the boys.”If you were to speak with the likes of Rich Dad, Poor Dad writer, and Entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki and Warren Buffet, they will both tell you the times we are presently going through are the times that savvy investors wait for and then jump back into the market.
We saw the same thing in the housing market when Hurricane Charley scored a direct hit on Punta Gorda in particular. Most won’t recall that home prices within a week increased by $50-100,000 due to the demand and limited inventory. Then when the housing bubble burst, again some took advantage of great opportunistic buys in a market that had been over-inflated. Those who had bought their homes years before the unprecedented upswing in the market, found themselves still ahead of the game when the market corrected itself.
I feel when the economy is robust and we are seeing meteoric rises in the stock and real estate markets, for example, we get caught up in the excitement, much the same way we do when the team we are rooting for seems to be scoring at will. What we lose sight of during our euphoria is that adjustments or events are going to occur that are going to temper those gains, and those that anticipate those adjustments insulate themselves to a degree from the drastic downturns we are currently experiencing.
In speaking with Faiza Kedir, Director, Business Development Financial Advisor of the nationally recognized Private Wealth Asset Management company of Lansberg Bennet, she stressed how they are a non-commission based fiduciary, whose sole focus is protecting their client’s investments.
In a letter written to their clients a few weeks ago by Principal Financial Advisor and the company’s Chief Investment Officer, Michael Lansberg CIMA, CFP, it read in part:
Your performance is different than what you see on TV.
Does CNBC have you scared to look at your portfolio? You should sign onto the Landsberg Bennett client portal or the fidelity.com webpage and look at your balances instead of listening to all the gloom and doom on TV. Although you will be down from where we were January 1, we think you will be pleasantly surprised by your portfolio’s performance.
In every balanced account (where we own any amount of bonds), we trimmed our stock positions in January to protect some of the gains from a superb 2019. This has given us some more downside protection in this recent sell-off as well as giving us some “dry powder” for when we see some attractive opportunities in the market.
We have been watching market metrics over the last week or so hoping for an opportunity where we would see an abundance of fear creep into the market.
This morning, a number of our metrics gave us a clear sign that a great deal of fear and anxiety had entered the market and provided us an opportunity to start slowly buying at these lower levels.
Baron Rothschild, an 18th-century British nobleman and member of the Rothschild banking family, is credited with saying that “the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets.” It appears to us as this may be starting to happen, figuratively not literally.
We are not suggesting that the market
cannot go lower from here, but we believe this is a good entry point to start adding to existing positions. For long term investors, volatility is a good thing that allows entry points into the market for those that have prepared ahead and have liquidity. We did and you do.
Michael W. Landsberg, CFP®, CIMA®
Principal, Chief Investment Officer
Not being one to make light of the current situation, just as there is a big difference between calm and complacency there is between panic and preparedness as you see from Michael Landsberg’s letter above.
As consumers, we are always in the market looking for good buys and now we are seeing sellers reacting to the market and making price reductions in their list prices.
Don’t think for one second the real estate market is only open a few months of the year. Some of our strongest selling months have been during the summer and fall, as buyers are not going to let the time of year dictate when they will pounce on an aggressively priced home. With affordably priced airfares we’ve seen more and more clients fly down in a matter of days so as not to miss a great buying opportunity. Just remember, this current situation will pass, but inclement weather and high taxes in many northern cities and states will remain and that is what has led to a very active real estate market these first few months.
The silver lining in all this is our real estate market is not characterized by over-inflated pricing, excess inventory and over-leveraged banking industry.
Our industry is very healthy and to coin a phrase from Denny Grimes, a Realtor who I have great respect, “We are selling water, warmth and a way of life,” and that is what will enable our state to thrive better during this time than those from other parts of the country.
Since we cover a large area people are always asking, “How are things selling in Sarasota (City) and Venice (City) as well as our area?” Well, here is what is going on in those markets as well as ours.
Sarasota saw a 2.8% increase in the number of homes that sold from January 1st through August 31st this year compared to the same time period last year. Home prices were also on the rise increasing 6.9%.
Condos sales were up 9.1% with the average price increasing 15.8%. This jump was greatly influenced by the condo sales closest to the water and downtown areas where prices have risen dramatically.
Venice saw a 2.3% increase in home sales with the average selling price increasing by almost 7%. Condominiums outpaced homes sales posting a 7.6% increase with the average selling price rising by 4.3%.
Charlotte County homes saw a robust 11.2% increase in sales with the average home selling for almost 8.5% higher than the previous year. Condominium sales increased by 15.6% with the average selling price increasing by almost 5.5%.
The boating communities of Punta Gorda Isles and Burnt Store Isles always are of interest to our readers. Home sales rose in these developments by over 17.7% with the average selling price increasing by 3.4%. Condominium sales were even with last year increasing slightly in price by just under 2%.
And as always if you want to know specifically about your home, feel free to email/call us anytime!
*Sales figures pulled from MLS data.