At dark o’clock this morning I sat down at the computer with a cup of coffee and the first email I read began, “If my brother is trying to scare me, it worked. What do you have to say to counter this article?”
The referencing article was a CNN Money article with some reconstituted stats from an old article written a few months ago which touted the gloom and doom of Florida real estate. Didn’t hear the freshness vacuum seal pop? Well, neither did I. The stats in that article stunk the first time I read it months ago. When it was reheated as leftovers it was even less palatable.
The article included fabulous blood red graphs which indicated the vacancy rates for Lee and Collier counties. The data was collected by the totally-accurate-for-10-year-increments Census Bureau.
There probably isn’t a real estate agent in Southwest Florida who didn’t show property with Census notes on the door of vacant condos or homes. I know I did. I also know that the market has changed dramatically since then, too. We’ve sold off a staggering amount of real estate since the census data collection.
What’s was not included in the re-reporting of those numbers was any sort of update with viable recent sales figures. What is included in the numbers is, well, everything else lumped into a pile.
When the term “Lee County” is used, Sanibel Island is lumped in with Lehigh Acres, and Bonita Springs is lumped in with Cape Coral. When they got to Collier County there were even guestimates that Naples would not “come all the way back” until the late 2030’s.
The question begs to be asked, “Come back to what?”
Simply back to a balanced real estate market or back to the prices the real estate was in 2000, 2003 or 2006? Was that speculative date for the beachfront condos, Golden Gate Estates or all of Collier County?
According to someone in a cubicle 2,000 miles away, if any of us do live beyond December 21, 2012, Naples real estate won’t recover until 2038.
There is one thing certain and that is that if I was going to be buying a condo in Las Vegas, Cleveland or Southwest Florida, my first call for inventory, absorption or vacancy rates data wouldn’t be the United States Census Bureau or an analyst based in Pennsylvania.
Market statistics are only reliable if they’re collected from a relevant, current source, not from recycled, stale information or the Census Bureau’s year-old data. I’m still trying to figure out why anyone would speculate the prognosis of Southwest Florida or Naples, without accessing and referencing local data.
Our real estate isn’t all puppies and daisies but it’s not in the dumper until 2038. The only way to find out whether or not you should be in or out of any real estate market is to arm yourself with current, local data and then make the judgment call.
Good news or bad news, if you’re reading a national publication and it doesn’t include local real estate stats you simply do not have the real story or all of the information. Period.
The link to the CNN Money story is here: http://budurl.com/Naples2038
Five days later Bloomberg had this to say about Florida real estate: http://budurl.com/NaplesRises
I would be happy to send a copy of the articles upon request via snail mail to those who would rather not access the Web to read the stories.
- - -
Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.