Cape Coral Single Family Homes Sales Update April 2014-May 2014.

For the time period of April 1, 2014 through May 27, 2014 there were 681 single family homes in Cape Coral that sold. The average price per square foot for the sold homes was $112.73 per square foot and an average sold price of $213,238. For the zip code of 33904 in this time period there were 137 single family homes sold with an average price per square foot of $127 and an average sold price of $229,245. Of those sold in zip code 33904 there were 7 homes that were short sales that closed. In the 33914 zip code there were 191 single family homes sold with an average sold price of $287,866. There were 7 short sales in this zip code that closed including one in Palaco Grande. In the 33990 zip code there were 94 single family home sales with an average price per square foot of $105.85 and average sold price of $185,610. There were only 2 short sales closed in 33990. In the 33991 zip code there were 73 single family homes sold with an average price per square foot of $99.38 and average sold price of $187,356, three of the sales were short sales that closed in 33991. In 33909 there were 92 single family homes sold with an average price per square foot of $81.24 and an average sold price of $134,764. Out of the 92 sold homes 7 of them were short sales. In 33993 there were 94 single family home sales with an average price per square foot of $88.66 and an average sold price of $161,909, there were four homes that were short sales.

6% of home sales nationwide bought by foreign buyers. Information on foreign national mortgages

Foreign national mortgages have returned to the U.S. housing market.

Original article from

Now, it’s not just citizens of Canada, Mexico and the U.K. who can buy homes with U.S. financing. Anyone, from anywhere, with adequate down payment and income can mortgage a U.S. home. The return of foreign national loans arrives at an opportune time — the U.S. housing market is emerging from its winter months.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, international buyers purchased more than $68.2 million in U.S. residential real estate in the twelve months ending March 2013, comprising vacation home sales in Arizona; investment property sales in Chicago; and long-term investments throughout California and Florida. In terms of total U.S. home sales by value, foreign buyers accounted for 6% of home sales nationwide.

This figure may rise in 2014 and 2015.

For much of history, investing in U.S. real estate has been profitable. Lately, however, as individual wealth increases in non-U.S. markets, investors abroad have sought the diversification and stability that the United States housing market tends to provide. Real estate is the nation’s largest asset class and values are up more than 10 percent annually in many U.S. markets since 2011.

Thankfully, banks are servicing foreign buyers in want of a mortgage. Different from 2008-2013 when foreign national lending was scarce, today’s international buyers have options. Foreign national mortgages are — once again — available via many U.S. banks.

International Buyer Mortgage Loan Traits

U.S. banks are returning to foreign national mortgage lending. Loans are not available from every U.S. bank, but the ones that make foreign national loans available are tending to follow similar loan guidelines.

At minimum, as one example, a non-U.S. citizen should expect to make a home downpayment of 30 percent or more; while, in some cases, downpayment percentages will range as high as fifty percent.

The percentage of your downpayment will vary based on loan size, property type and a bank’s overall comfort with your profile. A home buyer with extensive international borrowing experience may be allowed to make a smaller downpayment than a buyers making his first international home purchase. Similarly, a buyer of a single-family home will typically be allowed to borrow more money than a buyer buying a condominium or co-op.

Beyond the downpayment, expect to provide the following to your lender:

Credible income documentation for the last two years
Passport for identification purposes
Credit reports from your native country and/or U.S. credit bureaus
Tax Identification Number (TIN) as issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Proof of assets for downpayment and reserves, sourced from a worldwide financial institution
Note that, because you will have a TIN, green cards, work visas and social security numbers are not required. The TIN will be used for tax payments to the U.S. government once annually.

Lenders will typically treat your purchase as a “second home” or vacation program unless the home is a designated rental property for income. Loans for investment properties carry more stringent standards and may require additional reserves or evidence of credit strength.

For non-English speaking buyers, or for buyers whose documentation is printed in a language other than English, translation services must be provided.

It’s recommended to seek your local U.S. Consulate or Embassy for translation services. You will likely close on your mortgage at these locations, too.

Lastly, note that U.S. mortgage rates are not set by the federal government. Mortgage rates are set by individual banks and can vary wildly from lender-to-lender. If you don’t like the rates you’ve been quoted by Wells Fargo, for example, be sure to compare those rates to the rates from a different bank, too. Mortgage programs for foreign national buyers are available in all 50 states. If you plan to use foreign national financing, though, pre-qualify your loan before you submit a contract on a home, which may be binding.

As a specialist in working with foreign national buyers especially Canadians please feel free to contact me to go over the real estate options available in Florida.

Cape Coral Bond Rating Just Raised to A+

Cape Coral economic news. S&P raised Cape Coral’s series 2006/2007 GO bonds to “A+” from “A”.

NEW YORK (Standard & Poor’s) April 4, 2014–Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services
said that it raised its underlying rating (SPUR) on Cape Coral, Fla.’s series
2006 and series 2007 special obligation revenue bonds to ‘A+’ from ‘A’. The
outlook is stable.

“The upgrade is based on our local GO criteria released Sept. 12, 2013,” said
Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Edward McGlade. “The rating reflects our assessment of the city’s very strong liquidity and strong economy,” he added.

The stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor’s view of Cape Coral’s high fixed
cost as a percentage of its budget. The city’s strong–although
weakened–reserves have enabled it to withstand the downturn in the local
housing markets. It is unlikely that Standard & Poor’s will change the rating
over the outlook horizon as it expects the underlying factors to remain
substantially the same.

Cape Coral Home Sales Update 1st Quarter 2014

For the 1st quarter of 2014 (January 1, 2014-March 31, 2014) there were 804 single family home sales in Cape Coral including 178 gulf access homes. Here is a breakdown of the numbers: The average listing price was $224,580 with an average price per square foot at $110. The average sale price was $214,549 and the days on market was 119 days on market. Out of these 804 sales there were only 46 short sales closed and it took an average of 273 days on the market to sell those short sales. There were 141 foreclosure sales in this time period with an average sold price of $129,169 and an average price per square foot of $78.

Let’s compare the sales numbers for the same time period from last year. There were 1121 single family home sales in Cape Coral. The average listing price was $204,205 with an average price per square foot of $99.97 and average sold price of $195,758. Out of these 1121 sales there were 150 short sales closed with an average sold price of $141,474 and average price per square foot of $72. There were 158 foreclosure sales last year during this 1st quarter with an average sold price of $135,408 and an average price per square foot of $73.69.

In the zip code of 33904 for the first quarter of 2014 for single family home sales in Cape Coral there were 146 sold homes with an average sold price of $215,012 and an average price per square foot of $119.65 and days on the market of 107.

For the zip code of 33909 there were 121 sold homes with an average sold price of $128,362 and an average price per square foot of $78.16 and days on the market of 111 days. For the zip code 33914 there were 202 single family home sales with an average sales price of $313,101 and an average price per square foot of $143.60 and days on market of 125 days on average.

For the zip code of 33990 there were 106 single family home sales with an average sold price of $172,918 with an average price per square foot of $99.30 and average days on the market of 113.

For the zip code of 33991 there were 106 single family home sales with an average sold price of $202,510 and an average price per square foot of $104 and days on the market at 134 days.

In the zip code of 33993 there were 119 home sales with an average sold price of $176,857 and average price per square foot of $92.74 and days on market at 121 days. In the same time period two years ago, the average for the zip code 33993 sold price was $124,895 and price per square foot was $64.91!

If you would like some more in depth information on Cape Coral home prices feel free to contact me by email through the contact form on this site or by phone. I can go over the different areas throughout Cape Coral and give you a more historical perspective on the areas of Cape Coral that I feel have the most appreciation potential.

How to invest in Southwest Florida real estate using FHA 203K loans

Are you a real estate investor that is interested in rehabbing homes in Southwest Florida? Many times I get asked by newer real estate investors how to break into the investment market if they don’t have a ton of cash to make cash offers. Yes having large amounts of cash at your disposal will definitely give a real estate investor a big advantage over someone that needs to get traditional financing. As the Southwest Florida market for short sales is dwindling and more big money are chasing rehab projects the newer investor needs to learn about how FHA 203K loans work. The whole reason that the FHA 203K loan was created was to help improve neighborhoods by providing loan funds to purchase homes and rehab them.

HUD doesn’t loan the 203K money directly but instead uses specific approved lenders that are 203K insured. The way the 203K loan is different from a normal mortgage is that the repairs are usually made after closing. The alternative loan products for rehabs would be getting a conventional loan combined with a construction loan or a bridge loan which ends up adding more to the bottom line of expenses of rehabbing the house. With the 203K loan as long as you qualify and stick with all the regulations and rules of the loan there is only one loan and no need to refinance once the rehab is done as you have to do with a bridge or hard money loan. As a newer investor or an investor that doesn’t have the financial ability to buy houses for all cash that need to be rehabbed this is a great program. A huge benefit of the 203K loan is that the down payments are very low (usually around 3.5%), the interest rate on these loans will be lower than having to use hard money loans and you don’t have to have perfect credit.

Of course nothing is perfect and this loan is not for everyone especially if you have to do a fast closing. I recommend you use a lender that specializes in 203K loans because the application process can be frustrating and tedious as compared to normal conventional loans and not all properties will qualify. Because rules change, I recommend checking out the HUD website ( and finding a few local lenders that are experts in the 203K loan.

The reason you need to hire an expert in preparing a 203K loan is depending on how extensive the repairs are going to be is that there are 2 different versions or types of 203K loans. The first one which is a streamlined version is one where the house needs minor repairs that will cost less than $35,000. It requires that you also occupy the house for a minimum of 12 months unless the entity buying is a qualified non-profit organization. The full version will allow for converting the property in to a multi-family, adding on rooms or converting a multi-family into a single family home. This version covers structural issues and major renovations if they are covered under the loan guidelines. The repairs must be over $35,000 and this full version is mandatory if the repairs/renovations will take more than 6 months to do and when paying the contractors it will require multiple payments.

The types of properties eligible for the 203K loan are single family homes that are one year or older, condos if they are FHA approved to be owner occupied, triplexes, duplexes, fourplexes. The 203K lender will fund the purchase price of the property and holds the repair money in escrow and pays it out once the pre-approved repairs are completed by the approved contractors.

FHA usually requires 2 separate appraisals. The first appraisal is for the as-is value and the second appraisal will be for the anticipated “based on improvement” value will be once the repairs are completed.

So there you have it, if you would like to get more information on listings in the Southwest real estate market that are potential rehab projects give me a call and I can send you the best potential rehab deals as they come on the market.

Updated Florida Flood Insurance Information

The real estate industry is celebrating flood insurance changes.

Both buyers and sellers of Southwest Florida real estate are breathing a sigh of relief because of a plan to scale back a federal flood insurance law that critics say has caused premiums to soar for thousands of area homeowners. This is some welcome news for those of us involved in real estate in Southwest Florida especially for the Cape Coral area that has so much real estate surrounded by canals.

This will help us continue our real estate recovery that we are experiencing. As a realtor specializing in selling second homes to Canadians in Cape Coral and Fort Myers this concern over flood insurance premiums has been a recurring theme with many of my buyers.

Many real estate industry experts felt that if flood insurance rates were permitted to skyrocket those increases threatened to undermine the real estate recovery throughout Florida, by making insurance rates too high for many current homeowners and potential buyers in flood-prone areas, experts said.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that will allow sellers to pass their subsidized, below-market insurance rates to new buyers. The bill also would lower the cap on how high flood premiums could rise every year.

The U.S. Senate must pass the measure, which would weaken the 2012 flood insurance reform act — a law aimed at weaning hundreds of thousands of homeowners off subsidized flood insurance rates. Florida has nearly 40 percent of the homes covered under the National Flood Insurance Program, which is nearly $24 billion in the red.

Owners of older homes throughout Southwest Florida were facing skyrocketing premiums with some flood policies increasing from 700-1000% percent.

The House’s action brings “much-needed certainty” to the Florida real estate market that has been missing since the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act took effect, as well as relief to impacted homeowners who faced financial ruin, said Sherri Meadows, president of the Florida Realtors trade association.

“While good-intentioned, the Biggert-Waters Act had the effect of stigmatizing properties that are in flood zones,” Meadows said. “Current property owners, as well as those looking to buy, didn’t know if a new flood map might be adopted next week or next year.”

The House bill would permanently repeal a provision that imposes sharp rate increases on people who buy homes in flood-prone areas. It also preserves below-market rates for people whose homes meet federal flood map standards.

People whose second homes are in a flood zone, and those whose properties have repeatedly flooded, would continue to see their premiums go up by 25 percent a year until reaching a level consistent with their real risk of flooding. Despite the change, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would retain the ability to increase premiums each year, but the increases wouldn’t be as steep as mandated under the 2012 law.

Flood Zone Properties Owners Must Read

Here is some great news for those homeowners that have property located in a flood zone.

The Senate has agreed to advance a bill that would delay steep increases in flood insurance rates across the country. This is welcome news for those of us in Cape Coral and other “waterway” cities. This has been a hot topic for real estate agents and owners of homes anywhere near rivers, canals, bays, etc throughout the United States.

The rate increases, which began began to kick in late last year, could have increased flood insurance premiums in many coastal areas by tenfold or more according to some insurance experts.

The bill, which is now under consideration by the Senate and could receive a vote later this week, would delay insurance premium hikes for four years and task the Federal Emergency Management Agency with concluding an affordability study and re-evaluating the accuracy of its new flood maps, according to Reuters.

(Reuters) – A bipartisan bill to delay dramatic increases in federal flood insurance premiums for millions of American homeowners and small businesses cleared a Republican procedural roadblock in the U.S. Senate on Monday.

On a vote of 86-13, the Senate agreed to advance the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which would postpone for four years rate hikes of up to 10 fold and more.

A vote on Senate passage of the bill could come later this week after consideration of a number of possible amendments offered by members on both sides of the political aisle.

Republicans could still end up blocking the measure if they feel that they were not given an adequate chance to amend it, a senior aide said.

Backers of the legislation say big increases in premiums could force many Americans to give up their homes, which, in turn could drive down property values and hurt the economy.

“This issue isn’t just about insurance rate tables and actuarial risk rates – fundamentally it’s all about people,” said Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a chief sponsor of the bill.

Conservative opponents of the measure argue that a delay in the premium hikes would force taxpayers to continue help cover the cost of insurance in high-risk flood areas.

Nearly a third of the Senate’s 100 members are sponsors of the legislation. There are 181 sponsors of a similar measure in the 435-member House of Representatives.

In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which began raising rates in last October.

The increased premiums are designed to make property owners pay for the true risk of living in high flood hazard areas, including coastal areas of Florida, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Louisiana, and inland states prone to river flooding.

The 2012 bill was passed with strong bipartisan support to try to end a $24 billion deficit in the National Flood Insurance Program, which had mounting losses largely from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

Shortly after passage of the bill, Superstorm Sandy hammered much of the United States’ northeastern coast, generating a mountain of new insurance claims.

During this delay, Congress would consider possible changes in the insurance program to protect homeowners as well as taxpayers.

The Senate bill is backed by a number of groups, including the National Association of Homebuilders, the National Association of Realtors, and the American Bankers Association.

Reuters Article

If you have ever thought about buying a home in Cape Coral now is the time. There are still many excellent priced gulf access homes available to buy. For more information on the best buys in Cape Coral for gulf access homes contact me at 239-887-4942 to discuss.

Lawsuit filed in regard to Ceitus Barrier on North Cape Coral Spreader

A lawsuit was filed on December 27, 2013 against the City of Cape Coral and other environmental agencies to replace the Ceitus Barrier in North Cape Coral. Full information can be found at the Cape Coral Daily Breeze website

Environmental groups file lawsuit to replace Ceitus Barrier on North Cape Coral Spreader

Half a dozen environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the city of Cape Coral and a state agency in hope of forcing the replacement of the barrier in the North Spreader Canal.

The Florida Watershed Council, Inc.; Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association, Inc. (Riverwatch); Responsible Growth Management Coalition, Inc.; Calusa Land Trust And Nature Preserve Of Pine Island, Inc.; Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Inc. and the Greater Pine Island Civic Association, Inc., along with environmental activist Phil Buchanan, carried through on a previous notification and filed the suit on Dec. 27. According to a prepared statement issued Friday, the suit is intended to enforce a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order the organizations maintain requires the city to replace the Ceitus Barrier with either a boat lift or boat lock.

Also named in the suit is the Department of Environmental Protection.

According to the prepared statement, the Ceitus Barrier historically separated stormwater from flowing directly into Matlacha Pass until it was removed by the city of Cape Coral.

“Without it stormwater now dumps directly into one location – Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve, which is an Outstanding Florida Waterbody,” according to the statement.

“The lawsuit will enforce the terms of a Consent Order and Settlement Agreement signed in 2008 by Cape Coral and DEP, as well as Lee County and nine non-profit environmental organizations and individual residents,” the joint release states. “The Settlement Agreement resolved a previous legal dispute over Cape Coral’s refusal to replace the Barrier. The Settlement Agreement required that Cape Coral seek permits to restore or replace the Barrier. DEP was to approve the permits within 30 days so the Barrier would be in place before the rainy season in 2010. However, Cape Coral did not obtain or diligently pursue the permits as agreed, and over two years have passed. DEP has thus far done nothing to enforce the Consent Order or the Settlement Agreement.

The suit further alleges that “The removal of the Ceitus Barrier changed what was a stormwater spreader system into a stormwater drainage ditch that dumps directly into Matlacha Pass, a designated ‘Outstanding Florida Water.’ The excess poor quality fresh water and siltation during the rainy season has a disastrous affect on the survival of salt water dependent marine life, including sea grasses, oysters, tunicates, sponges, and (fish) eggs and hatchings.

“Rerouting of stormwater from their historic flows through the wetlands directly into Matlacha Pass also (1) also deprives wetlands and fish nurseries of essential fresh water, and (2) prevents wetlands from filtering the water before it reaches Matlacha Pass.”

City officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Cape Coral voted as one of the top markets for real estate investing

In a recent article in Forbes magazine online Cape Coral was voted as the number 2 market in the United States for real estate investing out of 15 top markets. It was noted in the article that the Cape Coral market was undervalued by more than 20% when compared to a calculated “Equilibrium” home price. “See Forbes article here.

If you are an investor looking for investment homes in the Cape Coral area there are a wide variety of single family homes available priced in the $110,000-$130,000 price range that offer great value for your money. Feel free to search this site for investment properties.

Cape Coral ranked # 5 as Best Mid-Sized City

In a recent article by one of the real estate industries leading online news sources, Cape Coral was ranked Number 5 best mid-sized cities to live in the United States.

Top 10 best mid-sized cities

1. Frisco, TX
2. McKinney, TX
3. Cary, NC
4. Pembroke Pines, FL
5. Cape Coral, FL
6. Cedar Rapids, IA
7. Overland Park, KS
8. Sioux Falls, SD
9. Naperville, IL
10. Olathe, KS

Cape Coral has made the list of Best Mid-Sized Cities To Move To by the online Movoto Blog.

Two towns each from Texas, Florida and Kansas made the top 10 list.

Frisco (Texas) tops the list followed by No. 2 McKinney (Texas). Florida’s Pembroke Pines and Cape Coral rank No. 4 and 5, respectively.

For the purpose of the ranking, mid-sized cities ranged from 128,000 to 205,000 in population (101st to 200th most populous cities). According to the blog, mid-sized cities are some of the very best untapped resources for people looking to move, expand their careers, further their children’s education or simply a change of scenery.

Some of the criteria the blog considered when ranking the cities included the number of homes for sale per capita; cost of living index; unemployment rate; median household income; crime rate and school quality.

The blog listed 50 cities and their ranking, and Cape Coral as having a population of 161,248. Using the rating criteria, Cape Coral ranked No. 1 in number of homes for sale; No. 25 in cost of living; No. 38 in unemployment; No. 52 in household income; No. 7 in crime rating; and No. 11 in quality education in order to arrive at its overall top five ranking.

Full article here

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