Home resales rose more than 60 percent in October in Lee County.
Members of the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach Inc. closed 63.6 percent more single-family homes last month than they did in October 2008. Nearly 70 percent of those transactions involved foreclosures or short sales - sales made for less than the bank is owed.
More than 48 percent of last month's sales were bank owned and a little more than 30 percent were traditional sales, according to the Realtor association.
Many first-time homebuyers scrambled to take advantage of an $8,000 federal tax credit that was scheduled to expire on Nov. 30, which has now been expanded and extended until next year.
In October, 1,371 existing single-family homes were sold, bringing the total for the year to 14,056. Total sales are now 60.3 percent above all of 2008 and 42.8 percent above 2005 when the market was booming.
Pending sales - those that have yet to close - are 8.3 higher than last year. There are 1,643 single-family home sales pending.
Meanwhile, the number of active properties has dropped by more than 50 percent when compared with October of 2008. There are now 6,706 homes available for purchase through the MLS, or multiple listing service.
The association estimates there is now 4.1-month supply of homes on the market throughout the greater Fort Myers area.
The median price of all existing homes sold last month was $85,600 - up by $100 from September.
In October 2008, the median price was $119,900 _ nearly 30 percent higher.
“We are very pleased that Congress has extended the tax credit to April 30, 2010 and that it has been expanded to include a new $6,500 credit for owners of existing homes who are purchasing a new principal residence," said Suzanne Sherer, the Realtor association's president in a statement. “We expect that homes sales will continue to be strong during season as the influence of distressed properties continues to put downward pressure on home prices, while the expansion and extension of the tax credit will enable more local residents to purchase a new home."