Real estate market ‘strong’

Liz Hardaway, Charlotte Sun — May 24, 2019

PORT CHARLOTTE — Big things are happening in Charlotte County.

Sunseeker Resorts has broken ground, slated to complete construction in the fall of 2020. Arredondo Pointe and the Lost Lagoon Development, a dining, shopping, arts and entertainment district and water park in Murdock Village, is in the planning stages.

“My philosophy is you get a big idea, and everything else follows,” said Dave Gammon, the interim director for the Charlotte County Economic Development Office. “It opens up all types of investment.”

The Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port Association of Realtors held its 13th annual Economic Outlook Conference on May 3, informing Realtors about opportunities in the market.

“We always point people back to the data,” said Brian Bailey, the commercial real estate subject matter expert for the Atlanta Federal Reserve. “Home sales are very robust … it could be temporary or last a while. The real estate market tends to overcorrect.”

However, Bailey said the main issue in the local market is the shortage of affordable housing.

“It creates less margin of error, shrinking spending in other areas, creating more stress,” he said.

Bailey also said retail space has to be re-positioned, as fewer people are going into actual stores. “What happens to all that space? It’s not obsolete, but it has to be changed. Realtors can reinvent and add value to some of those places that are past their prime.”

“Our community is growing with several new projects around and the real estate market is strong,” said Afra Newell, president of the Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port Association of Realtors.

Learn more about the current condition of the real estate market, thanks to the association’s April report, below:

Sales have been going up Single-family home sales have been following an upward trend since January. April was an exceptionally lucrative month, with the 428 sales being the second-highest amount of sales the market has experienced since January 2016.

Since 2016, typically the year’s peak is reached around April or May, and then slowly declines into the slower, winter months.

“We may experience the same this year, due to lower traffic,” Newell said. “However, more and more we see serious buyers coming during the summer when they face less competition.”

Meanwhile, condominiums and town homes are following the same trends, being the highest they’ve ever been in the past four years at 113 sales. Newell attributes this to consumer confidence, lower interest and possibly a higher demand.

Prices are higherIn April, the median sale price for single-family homes was $225,000, $2,000 less than last month, which was the highest median sale price in the three four years.

Town homes and condominiums reached their highest peak in April at a median sale price of $175,000. The last time these properties sold for almost that much was April 2018 at $172,000.

Though this growth does indicate a steady market, Newell said, “supply and demand will dictate future market moves.”

Inventory is fluctuating Single-family homes experienced their most inventory

The most inventory for single-family homes was experienced during February with 4.9 months supply of inventory. Since then, the supply has slowly been declining to 4.4 months supply for April.

The standard for a balanced market is 5.5 months of inventory, according to the Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port Association of Realtors. Anything higher is a buyer’s market; anything lower is a seller’s market.

Town homes and condominiums inventory also reached their peak in February, at 5.3 months of inventory. April continued to dip off this month to 5 months worth of inventory.

The fluctuations in both single-family homes, town homes and condominiums are all “a sign of a healthy market,” according to Newell. “A small slow down shows that the market is correcting itself to maintain its balance.”