Southwest Florida Real Estate

There’s no doubt about it: Southwest Florida continues to attract new residents each year, driving up the housing market

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With more than 1.13 million people calling it home, Lee and Collier counties are magnets that draw new residents and businesses each year. Since 1990, Lee County has experienced 2.8 percent of compounded average growth annually, while Collier County has experienced a 3.2 percent increase. Both are projected to continue to grow steadily through 2045, with SmartAsset identifying three communities in Lee County—Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, and Fort Myers—as “boomtowns.”

Much of this population influx is expected to come from northern high-tax states. While Florida has a 6 percent sales tax, there is no state income tax. Collier County instituted a one-cent sales tax in 2019 (to expire in seven years) to fund needed infrastructure projects, bringing total sales tax on purchases in Collier County to 7 percent. In addition to the allure of no state income tax, Florida’s homestead exemption allows homeowners to reduce the assessed value of their primary home when it’s declared their domicile.

It’s no wonder so many people are choosing to move to Southwest Florida: It is a worldwide destination for those seeking mild winters and plenty of outdoor activities, sporting events, concerts, and festivals. The Gulf of Mexico invites boating, fishing, diving, and recreation, in addition to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Collier and Lee counties have more than 150 golf courses that draw championship tournaments. The region is ranked No. 1 nationally for golf holes per capita by the National Golf Foundation, according to the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau. Two official paddling trails—the Great Calusa Blueway in Lee County and Paradise Coast Blueway in Collier County—offer scenic routes for canoe, kayak, and paddleboard exploration inland and along the coast.

This region boasts ample salt and freshwater resources and unparalleled beauty. Vast natural lands are preserved as national, state, and regional parks, in addition to more than 34,000 acres of conservation areas purchased through Lee and Collier tax-funded preservation programs. For those who have taken up the fast-growing new alternative to tennis—pickleball—there are plentiful courts. East Naples Community Park has long been home to the U.S. Open Pickleball Championships.

Market Overview

Southwest Florida offers diverse housing options, from affordable single-family homes to elaborate mansions to many options in gated, coastal, and rural communities.

Collier County’s housing market is hot, and one of the highest in the state. In 2020, the number of single-family home closed sales, 6,337, rose 22.1 percent from the previous year. The median closed price for single-family homes rose from $411,000 in 2019 to $470,000 in 2020 (compared to the 2019 statewide average of $264,500). The condo and townhouse market is also simmering in Collier County, where the median closed price (excluding Marco Island) is $280,000. According to Florida Realtors data, the median sale price for single-family homes rose in 2020 to $289,000. From $258,615 in 2019. The median sale price for condos and townhouses in Lee County is $209,900.

Communities

Lee and Collier counties are filled with a wide diversity of cities and towns, stretching from the smallest post office in the United States in teensy Ochopee in Collier County to the opulent shores of Gasparilla and Sanibel Island to the backroads of Buckingham. Some neighborhoods have pockets of turn-of-the-century and 1920s Mediterranean-style homes, ranch-style homes from the 1960s and ’70s, and contemporary condominiums, townhouses, and updated homes with all the modern amenities expected today. Communities may be laid out in suburban-style grids or grouped into small mini-developments around a golf course or lake. There is a generous offering of gated, walled communities, as well as large lifestyle communities catering to boating, urban living, 55-plus living, and more.

Municipal Populations by County (2019 Estimates, U.S. Census)

Collier County, 384,902

Everglades City424
Marco Island17,947
Naples22,088

 

Lee County, 770,577

Bonita Springs59,637
Cape Coral194,495
Estero33,871
Fort Myers87,103
Fort Myers Beach7,094
Sanibel7,401

 

Housing Statistics

Collier County (Excluding Marco Island) 

20192020
Single-Family Home Statistics
New Pending Sales6,3228,573
Closed Sales5,1886,337
Median Closed Price$411,000$470,000
Average Sale Price$751,542$875,984
Monthly Inventory Average3,3932,689
Average Days on Market10191
Townhouse & Condominium Statistics
New Pending Sales6,3018,024
Closed Sales5,1145,963
Median Closed Price$260,000$280,000
Average Sale Price$433,538$490,649
Monthly Inventory Average3,2762,932
Average Days on Market10290

 

Lee County 

20192020
Single-Family Home Statistics
New Pending Sales15,98418,912
Closed Sales13,79015,541
Median Sale Price$258,615$289,000
Average Sale Price$345,379$394,618
Monthly Inventory Average5,9433,977
Median Time to Contract (Days)7249
Townhouse & Condominium Statistics
New Pending Sales7,7128,676
Closed Sales6,9167,485
Median Sale Price$192,000$209,900
Average Sale Price$248,845$274,380
Monthly Inventory Average3,3262,593
Median Time to Contract (Days)7861

 

Sources: Naples Area Board of Realtors and Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association 

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