Current Real Estate Market in Southwest Florida
According to a local real estate expert, “Southwest Florida has become the darling” of Florida right now. This was according to FOX4. People are moving to the beach markets because they are so popular. New homes are expensive, so many people are looking to buy a resale property and add value.
The same strong activity seen in the Southwest Florida real estate market is affecting the state’s economy and housing market as well. The population is growing and the municipalities are more business-friendly. There’s also more demand for real estate than there is supply. These are the exact things rental property investors love to look at.
The “west coast” of Florida is where Southwest Florida is found. This region borders the Gulf of Mexico with Tampa Bay to its north and Everglades to its east. This region is well-known for its beautiful beaches and tropical landscapes, as well as its winter resorts.
The Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance, SWFLEDA, notes that all five of the Southwest Florida counties – Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry, are seeing strong growth. The largest cities in Southwest Florida include Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, East Naples, and Port Charlotte.
Southwest Florida’s population growth
According to the Economic Development Alliance, Southwest Florida is one of the most rapidly growing areas in the state. Projections indicate that this strong growth trend will continue. Lee County is the fastest-growing county in Southwest Florida. However, smaller counties such as Glades or Hendry have experienced positive growth over the past 10 years.
Key Population Statistics:
- Southwest Florida has a population of approximately 1.3 million.
- The population has increased by 2.08% in the last year.
- The region is expected to increase to 1.75 million by 2035, and to reach at least 1.8 million residents by 2045.
- Lee County is the most populous of the five Southwest Florida counties and home to almost 619,000 residents.
- Collier County has 321,520 inhabitants, Charlotte County has159,978, Hendry is home to 39,140, and Glades County houses 12,884 residents.
Southwest Florida job market
Based on strong population growth and the number of local businesses, Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, and Fort Myers have been named among the largest “boomtowns”.
This region is friendly to business and offers a high standard of living that’s also affordable. Southwest Florida’s government, community, and business leaders work together to create an economy that is focused on high-wage jobs.
Southwest Florida employment statistics:
- The GDP for Southwest Florida is more than $34.5 billion. It has increased by approximately 60% in the past 10 years.
- According to the BLS, there is still strong job growth in the construction, business and professional services, education, and health service sectors.
- The region has a 3.9% unemployment rate.
- The 2 largest counties in Southwest Florida are Collier and Lee. They have a 6.2% and 4.6% annual job growth, respectively.
- The Cape Coral-Fort Myers median household income is $62,240, and it has increased by 10.9% in the past year.
- The key industries in Southwest Florida are manufacturing, defense, life sciences, manufacturing, cleantech and emerging technologies, financial and professional services, logistics and distribution, and aviation and aerospace.
- The Southwest Florida job market is strong with many industry sectors including leisure and hospitality, professional services, and trade and transport showing the strongest growth.
- The major employers in Southwest Florida are Lee Health, Lee County Schools District, Publix Super Markets, NCH Healthcare System, and Walmart.
- The Hertz Corporation, Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation, Chico’s FAS, Chico’s FAS, and Arthrex, Inc. are some of the companies with corporate headquarters in Southwest Florida.
- Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Southwestern State College are among the most prestigious colleges and universities in the area.
- The most common concentrations for a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management are general business management and resort management, speech communication, and rhetoric.
- Interstate 75 connects Southwest Florida with Tampa, to the north, and Greater Miami to the east.
- Port Manatee, one of Florida’s fastest-growing cargo seaports, and Seminole Gulf Railway provide rail freight service throughout the region.
- The Southwest Florida region is served by five commercial airports: Tampa International, Southwest Florida International in Fort Myers, Sarasota-Bradenton International, St. Petersburg-Clearwater International, and Punta Gorda Airport.
Real estate market
Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Lehigh Acres are some of the largest cities in the Southwest Florida real estate market that is flourishing. According to Florida Realtors, single-family homes go under contract an average of 12 days after they are listed. Median sales prices have increased by 17.7%.
As developers try to keep up with the demand in the Southwest Florida real estate market, the area is experiencing a boom in housing construction. The lack of homes for sale in Fort Myers and Cape Coral have contributed to these areas experiencing the second-largest single-family home building increase in the United States. This is a sign of how strong Southwest Florida’s real estate market is.
Southwest Florida real estate market statistics:
For the three largest counties of Southwest Florida – Lee County, Collier County, and Charlotte County.
- Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and Lehigh Acres are the biggest cities
- Zillow Home Value Index: 337,891
- Annual increase in home value: 31.8%
- Median listing price: $369,500
- The median selling price: $340,000
- Median list price per square foot: $216 per square foot
- Average days on market: 51
- Ratio of sale-to-list prices: 100%
- With a median listing value of $1.5million, Useppa Island is the most expensive of the 40 Lee County cities. Villas, on the other hand, is the most affordable with a median listing cost of $187,000.
- Biggest cities: Naples, North Naples, Marco Island
- Zillow Home Value Index: $476 396
- Annual increase in home value: 31.4%
- Median listing price: $599,000
- The median selling price $500,000
- Median list price per square foot: $326 per square foot
- Average days on market: 58
- Sales-to-list price ratio: 100%
- Pine Ridge, the most expensive of the 24 Collier County cities, has a median listing value of $2.4 Million. Immokalee is the least expensive, with a median listing cost of $259,000.
- Biggest cities: Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Boca Grande
- Zillow Home Value Index: 317,287
- Annual increase in home value: 32.3%
- Median listing price: $349,900
- The median selling price of $315,000
- Median list price per square foot: $209 per square foot
- Average days on the market: 50
- Ratio of sale-to-list prices: 97.98%
- Placida, the most expensive of the 12 Charlotte County cities, has a median listing cost of $617,000, while Solana, the most affordable, has a median listing cost of $199,000.
Attractive renters’ market in Southwest Florida
The Southwest Florida real estate market is booming, which is driving demand for rental properties. Rent prices are rising because houses that were once rented out are being bought up.
The reasons people travel to the region are many:
- Students looking for affordable housing in college towns like Cape Coral or Lehigh Acres will be attracted to these places
- To be near their aging parents, white-collar workers are returning to the region
- Relocating to Southwest Florida for job opportunities
Southwest Florida rental market statistics:
For the three largest counties of Southwest Florida – Lee County, Collier County, and Charlotte County.
Lee County (Fort Myers)
- Median rent for a 3-bedroom house: $2,570 per mo
- Annual rent increase: 47%
- Percentage of renter households at 44%
- Brookhill, Dunbar, and Winkler Safe Neighborhood are the most affordable neighborhoods. Rents range from $1,195 to $ 1,275 per month.
- Colonial County Club, Paseo, and Pelican Preserve are the most expensive neighborhoods. Average rents range from $3,995 to $5,000 per month.
Collier County (Naples)
- Median rent for a 3-Bedroom house: $6,800 Per Month
- Annual rent increase: 71%
- Percentage of renter households: 15%
- The most affordable neighborhoods include Lake Park, Coquina Sands, and Moorings. Rents range from $2,300 to $4,500 per month.
- Aqualane Shores, Park Shore, and Old Naples are the most expensive neighborhoods. Rents can reach as high as $13,500 per month.
Charlotte County (Port Charlotte)
- Medium rent for a 3-bedroom house: $2,500 per mo
- Rent increases by 30% annually
- Percentage of renter households: 23%
- Rent Range: 98% have rents between $1,000 and $5,000 per Month
Southwest Florida historical price changes and housing affordability
Real estate investors consider price changes and affordability when forecasting rental demand in a market. The Freddie Mac House Price Index, (FMHPI), and the NAR’s Housing Affordability Report are two online resources.
These are the historical changes in home prices for Southwest Florida based on data from Freddie’s latest FMHPI Report.
Lee County (Cape Coral MSA).
- October 2016 HPI: 180.83
- October 2021 HPI: 303.43
- 5-year change in home prices: 67.8%
- 1-year change in home prices: 35.1%
- Monthly changes in home prices 2.6%
Collier County (Naples-Marco Island MSA).
- October 2016 HPI: 194.83
- October 2021 HPI: 31.6
- 5-year change in home prices: 62.3%
- 1-year change in home prices: 35.6%
- Monthly changes in home prices 2.8%
Charlotte County (Punta Gorda MSA).
- October 2016 HPI: 171.09
- October 2021 HPI: 290.30
- 5-year change in home prices: 69.7%
- 1-year change in home prices: 32.1%
- Monthly changes in home prices 2.2%
The National Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Index ( HAI ) measures whether a typical family can qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced existing single-family home (resale) in the market.
An HAI value of 100 indicates that the family has enough income to qualify (assuming a 20% down payment).
If the HAI in a market is 130, the typical family will have 130% of the median household income required to be eligible for a conventional loan on a single-family house. If the HAI is 90 in a market, that means the typical family has only 90% of the median income required to qualify for a loan.
It is becoming harder for the average family to get a mortgage for a single-family home on the market in all three of the Southwest Florida counties below.
- Lee County (Cape Coral-Fort Myers MSA): HAI 120
- Collier County (Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island MSA): HAI 110
- Charlotte County (Punta Gorda MSA): HAI 114
The quality of life in Southwest Florida
U.S. News & World Report ranks Fort Myers, the largest city in Southwest Florida, as the 7th most desirable place to retire and the 43rd most desirable place to live in the U.S. Over the past century, Fort Myers has maintained its small-town charm. Just a few miles from the city, Sanibel Island and Cape Coral are ideal for boaters, sailors, and fishermen.
Stats on the quality of life:
- Southwest Florida is well-known for its tropical climate, water, and wildlife. It also has an ecosystem of preserves.
- Naples, Fort Myers, and Cape Coral are the major cities.
- Fort Myers is about three hours away from the world-class theme park of Orlando.
- Southwest Florida is home to the Everglades National Park and Edison Ford Winter Estates.
- The three top hospitals in Florida are NCH Baker Hospital Downtown, Lee Memorial Hospital, and Gulf Coast Medical Center.
- Southwest Florida is home to more than 150 golf courses. It has been called the “Golf Capital of the World”.
- Spring training is held in Southwest Florida for the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins as well as the Tampa Bay Rangers.
Are you looking to buy or sell in the Southwest Florida real estate market? Contact us today to locate the perfect house for you. Learn more about the benefits of using a discount real estate broker.