It just keeps getting better.
The Naples Area Board of Realtors released its third-quarter statistics today, and the figures suggest the local real estate market continues to rebound. For the months of July, August and September, overall closed sales numbered 1,821 units, an increase of 55 percent over the third quarter of 2008.
Overall pending sales numbered 2,570 for the quarter, a whopping 96 percent over the third quarter of 2008.
If the closed sale total was broken down into a daily figure, it would mean 20.2 units closed every day in the third quarter, noted John Steinwand, president and CEO of Naples Realty Services.
“The resiliency of the Naples real estate market is truly amazing,” Steinwand said. “Bear in mind we’re talking about summer sales, summer closings.”
The increases show ongoing improvement in the local market. In the second quarter of 2009, closed sales increased 37 percent over the previous year, while pending sales showed a 92 percent increase.
“It seems like things are going in the right direction,” said Phil Wood, president and CEO of John R. Wood, Realtors. “I can’t complain.”
Some of the most dramatic activity continues to be in the lowest end of the market. Overall pending sales under $300,000 showed a 126 percent increase in third quarter 2009. But as the pending sales increased, the median closed price dropped, decreasing 30 percent to $176,000 in third quarter 2009 from $250,000 in third quarter 2008.
The quarterly report tracked Realtor sales though the SunshineMLS multiple listing service. Excluding Marco Island, it included all of Collier County and was divided into six geographical areas.
One of those areas, East Naples, showed a pending sale increase of 136 percent over the third quarter 2008. Closed sales increased 99 percent. That’s because East Naples includes Golden Gate Estates, explained Brett Brown, president of NABOR, and the area has been the epicenter of the foreclosure and short sale market.
In recent months, it has become easier to put together a short sale, noted Mike Hughes, the vice-president of Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. Lenders are more responsive to short sale buyers and returning a financing answer more quickly.
But short sales have made their share of skeptics, too, Wood explained. Some buyers have heard too many horror stories about short sales, and aren’t interested in seeing them.
Buyers aren’t shy about wanting to see property, though.
Wood said his company, which has offices in Lee and Collier counties, has recorded 80,000 showings to date this year. The main office of Downing-Frye has recorded 26,000 showings to date this year, Hughes said.
“We’re showing a lot more property than we used to before a contract is written, but that’s probably because there’s a lot of inventory,” Hughes said.
Maybe so, but inventory seems to be the one percentage that’s decreasing. In the third quarter of 2008, there were 10,658 units for sale. Now, there are 9,209 – a decrease of 14 percent.
“We’ve known for a while that there have been a lot of people sitting on the fence, trying to time it right,” Hughes said. “I would caution buyers, don’t wait too long because a lot of the choice properties are being picked off.”
E-mail Elizabeth Kellar at firstname.lastname@example.org.