Housing Market Among Hottest

Lee-Charlotte area ranked ninth in Country in single-family sales

Southwest Florida once again is near the top of a national list of hot real estate markets.

In statistics released Tuesday by the National Association of Realtors, the Fort Myers/Cape Coral/Punta Gorda area was ninth and Sarasota was 10th for the increase from the fourth quarter of 2003 to the fourth quarter of 2004 for single-family homes sold.

"I think the price is driven by the demand, by the increasing population coming this direction" in Southwest Florida, said Fiona Finn of The Finn Team Realty in Fort Myers. "A lot of the baby boomers are coming a few years before they retire; they want to buy at today's prices."

Affordibility is becoming a serious problem in Lee County as the median price increased 27 percent to $205,000 over the past year. The national median price for existing homes in the fourth quarter was $187,500, according to NAR, an 8.8 percent increase from last year. Six of the top 10 markets for the fourth quarter were in the Sunshine State. Prices in West Palm Beach and Boca Raton increased 34 percent over the past year, while in Bradenton they were up 32 percent.

"With more buyers than sellers nationally, what we're seeing is a natural pressure on home prices as buyers compete to bid on available properties," said NAR chief economist David Lereah. "Fortunately, the historically low cost of debt service on a home purchase means that we have a comfortable buffer in most of the country because the typical family can afford to buy a home well above the median price."

Housing market among hottest [News-Press]

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