Southwest Florida 2014 Real Estate Trends and Predictions

Positive growth in Southwest Florida’s housing market is expected to continue into 2014.  Like other housing markets hit hard by the downturn of the housing market and recession, Southwest Florida is now experiencing a rapid recovery.

According to the latest Market Trends statistical report, home permits up 61% in Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties.  Mortgage interest rates are low and foreclosure rates are on the decline.

A low volume of existing homes available for sale coupled with increased demand is causing home prices to increase.  It all seems to be part of a positive trend, but that there’s also concern and confusion about the market as we look toward 2014.

Along with the great booming news we’ve experienced this year, in Southwest Florida in 2003, 04 and 05 that led up to a significant real estate bust.  While we’re experiencing these great results and everyone’s getting back to work and permits are being pulled and homebuyers are buyer, we also have to look at, ‘Is it too good to be true?’  The main question that we get is ‘Is this sustainable?  Are we in another run up?’

The last boom-bust cycle is still fresh in people’s minds and it could be a good thing with buyers making more prudent purchases this time around.

As 2014 approaches, market watchers are concerned about what could happen if home prices continue to rise.  A home that two years ago, just for rough numbers, was $250,000; that home today is approaching over $300,000 because of cost of materials, land prices going up, greed and builder’s profit margins.

All of the sudden you start knocking off a lot of buyers when you raise that much including adding interest rates which will increase, so we start chunking off a big segment of our market as these prices escalate so high.

In addition to concerns about the local housing market’s sustainability, the construction industry is facing a workforce shortage. Builders are fighting and competing and stealing each other’s subcontractors.

One of the reasons why we’re not getting many of the laborers that we did before is a lot of those people went ahead and moved to the center portion of the country; the energy producing states of Texas, Oklahoma and up into North Dakota.  So those people are in those particular markets which are much more stable and didn’t go ahead and have the boom-bust that we saw in Florida.  And they’re sitting down and saying, ‘Well, I could move back to Florida, but then again I’m going to have this boom-bust or I could stay in these energy producing states which is a steady, constant income.’

Even with all of the positive growth, eight out of the ten cities with the highest foreclosure rates in the country are currently in Florida.

To learn more about the real estate market in Southwest Florida, buying property in Cape Coral or buying Port Charlotte land, contact a member of the Gratia Group land sales team at (239) 333-2221.


Gratia Group Featured Plot of the Week: 5 Island Lots, Perfect for Investors!

Own a piece of island paradise with this week’s Gratia Group Plot of the week, 5 gorgeous lots located on Pine Island in sunny Southwest Florida!  The parcels must be sold together, as a 5 lot land package, making it a prime opportunity for investors.

Pine Island is a popular island destination known for its world class fishing opportunities and location on The Gulf of Mexico.  These lots and acreage for sale are located in the quaint island community of Bookelia.  With bridge access to the mainland and Cape Coral and Fort Myers just a short drive away; these plots maintain an island lifestyle with easy access to modern conveniences.

Lots included in this parcel package are:






To learn more about this lot package and other Southwest Florida real estate investments contact an expert member of the Gratia Group land sales team at (239) 222-3331.



Land Trusts 101

There are only six states that have an actual Land Trust statute (or case law recognition) and they are; Illinois, Indiana, South Dakota, Florida, Virginia and Hawaii.  Does this mean if you do not live in one of these states (and own land in the same state) that you cannot form a Land Trust?  Absolutely not!

Does Your State Have Land Trusts?

Most states recognize the validity of a Land Trust and allow its citizens to form a Land Trust to hold title to property in their state. This is typically done under the laws of the state where you live and own land.

For example, California does not have a specific Land Trust statute but you can still form a California Land Trust to hold title to California real estate by stating in your Trust Agreement that the trust is formed under the laws of the State of California.

Why Should Investors Even Care About Land Trusts?

Why should you care if you can form a Land Trust to hold title to your investment real estate (especially when advisors are recommending an LLC)? First, understand that titling multiple parcels of real estate in a single entity (be it a Land Trust, LLC or Corporation) is just plain dumb!

This practice creates a connection between each land trust.

If you agree with the philosophy of titling property in separate entities for asset protection (to insulate each property from the others), this leaves you with the question of which entity to use (LLC, Corporation or Land Trust)?  Logic tells you that setting up a separate LLC or Corporation to hold title to each of your properties would be cost prohibitive (let alone, time consuming and frustrating).

Putting each property into a separate Land Trust is easy to do and costs NOTHING!  Furthermore, the Land Trust provides privacy of ownership unlike other entities.

To learn more about Land Trusts contact a member of the professional Land Sales Team at Gratia Group by calling (239) 333-2221.


Gratia Group Featured Lot of the Week: 4116 SW 9th Ave Cape Coral

Looking for a Cape Coral lot for sale in a great neighborhood?  The Gratia Group Featured Lot of the Week is sure to please!  This gorgeous lot located at 4116 SW 9th Ave in Cape Coral, FL is western facing and the perfect lot for building your tropical dream home!  Located in one of the hottest up and coming areas in Cape Coral, this southwest Cape lot is in a highly sought after neighborhood close to the Gulf of Mexico, downtown and just a short drive from Fort Myers. 

To learn more about this wonderful Cape Coral lot for sale contact a member of the Gratia Group Land Sales Team at (239) 333-2221 or visit


Buying Land for Home Building vs. Investments

People generally buy land for two reasons; to build a home for their family or for investment purposes.  This week’s Gratia Group Land Investor Blog highlights the differences between these two main types of land buyers.

Buyers of land for the purpose of building a home actually require a bit more work than buying for investment purposes.  Many investors will never even set foot on their purchased land, while buyers looking for a home lot will be buying a piece of land that many will reside on for the rest of their lives. 

Check with local authorities (city, county and state) to determine zoning ordinances and whether you can build the type of home you want before committing to buying available land for sale.  Ask about future zoning, whether there are plans to put in shopping centers or airports, or to change nearby land uses that could also devalue your land and cause future headaches.

Buyers that are looking for purchase land or lots for sale for investment purchases will want to look for parcels that are being sold low prices in communities and areas that are currently seeing an increase in their local real estate markets.  Look for properties that will increase ROI when you choose to sell in the future.  Consider buying parcel packages that include 3-5 lots in hot areas. 

To learn more about purchasing land for home building or investment purposes contact a member of the Gratia Group land sales team at (239) 333-2221.