Though sales are slowing, Southwest Florida home prices continue to soar, real estate trade groups reported Friday.
In December, Naples saw overall median home prices up 12 percent, to $325,000 in from $289,000 a year earlier, the Naples Area Board of Realtors reported in a news conference.
The group reports statistics for all of Collier County, excluding Marco Island.
It was a good month ending a very hot year: in 2015 median home prices hit $308,000 in 2015, up 14 percent from $270,000 a year earlier, NABOR said.
“There was bracket creep at both ends of the price spectrum,” said Coco Waldenmayer, a broker with John R. Wood Properties.
Prices for homes in the under-$300,000 range were up 12 percent in 2015 over 2014, to $200,000 from $179,000 while those I the over $2 million range rose 9 percent, to $3.21 million from $2.95 million.
Prices were up in each of the six geographical areas NABOR tracks — but especially in one of the least expensive areas, Immokalee/Ave Maria, where prices rose to $215,000 in 2015 from $151,000 in 2014, a whopping 42 percent increase.
The most expensive area, Naples Beach, saw a 15 percent annual increase, to $724,000 from $627,000.
Though single-family homes saw an 11 percent price increase in 2015, to $385,000 from $348,000, “condos were on fire,” Waldenmayer said. Condo prices were up 14 percent over all, to $250,000 from $219,000, with the biggest gains in the under-$300,000 market.
In 2015, sales slowed a bit from their former red-hot pace, mostly due to a slight bump up in supply, NABOR panelists said.
For the month of December, overall pending home sales dropped 5 percent to 666 from 699 a year earlier, and closed sales were down 14 percent to 723 from 836.
For 2015, overall pending sales fell to 10,366 from 10,494 in 2014, a 1 percent decline, while closed sales dropped 2 percent, to 9,751 from 9,902.
But Mike Hughes, former president of NABOR, noted that homebuyers are not kicking out of their contracts, and that pending sales have topped 10,000 for the last five years.
“That’s a staggering number,” he said.
And homes are not lingering on the market for long.
In December, days on the market were down to 73 from 80, a 9 percent decrease, mirroring a yearlong trend. In 2015, days on the market decreased to 78 from 87 in 2014, a 10 percent decline.
Rick Fioretti, NABOR’s current president, expects “snow up north will shorten days on the market even more.”
The supply of homes crept up slightly in 2015 in Naples, to 4,408 from 4,351, as sellers try to cash in on spiking prices.
Inventory levels currently are at 5.42 months, a level that Naples real estate appraiser Cindy Carroll pronounced “a good place to be.”
Yet none of the panelists were willing to predict what the effect of a volatile stock market, rising foreign exchange rates or even negative attack ads in an election year will have on the real estate market over the coming year.
“It’s too early to tell,” said Waldenmayer.
Meanwhile, in Lee County, home prices also climbed year-over-year in December, according to a report released Friday by the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach.
The trade group did not report total numbers comparing 2015 with 2014.
Single-family home prices saw the most dramatic increases in December, up 21.6 percent to a median of $231,000 from $190,000. Condo prices rose 2.6 percent, to $189,900 from $185,000.
But as in Collier County, overall sales slumped a bit compared with December 2014. Single-family home sales fell 2.8 percent, to 1,132 from 1,165, while condo sales dropped 6 percent, to 553 from 588.
However, single-family homes in the $200,000 to $299,999 range and condos in the $600,000 to $999,999 range had significant year-over-year price increases in December.
Low inventory in the lowest price ranges are driving up prices, said Laura Shay, a spokeswoman for the RAGFMB.
Homes are selling quickly — in just 30 days in December 2015, compared with 34 in the same month a year earlier.
“The Lee County market is still hot and we are seeing more new construction around the county,” Shay said.
The 21.6 percent single-family price increase put Lee County in the top spot for single-family home price growth in the state in December, tied with Punta Gorda, Florida Realtors said Friday.
Collier County had much slower single-family price growth of 7.8 percent, but kept its crown as the place where single-family homes are the most expensive at $430,000.
When it came to condos, however, neither Lee nor Collier counties were in the vanguard of price growth or overall prices, Florida Realtors said.
Statewide, single-family homes sold for $206,500 in December, an 11 percent increase from a year earlier, and condos for $156,500, a 5 percent bump up.
The statewide inventory of 4.3 months for single-family homes and 5.4 months for condos implies a seller’s market for single-family and a balanced market for condos, according to Brad O’Connor, Florida Realtors chief economist.
Nationally, the median existing home price for all housing types in December was $224,100, up 7.6 percent from $208,200 a year earlier, the National Association of Realtors reported Friday. December’s price increase marks the 46th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.
Total resales nationally hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million in December, up 7.7 percent from a year earlier, and capping the best year of sales since 2006, when they reached 6.48 million.
Unusually warm weather across the country during the month and the prospect of higher interest rates helped spur sales, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
By June Fletcher of Naples Daily News
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