Investors continue to steer Southwest Florida’s real estate market recovery with all-cash deals, which in many cases are squeezing traditional owner-occupiers out of the market. Many of those purchases stem from foreign investors, who are gobbling up foreclosures and short sales at a ferocious pace for use as rentals, a phenomenon that first began elevating the market almost a year ago.
That investor thirst, coupled with tight lending restrictions, have made cash real estate transactions more prevalent in Southwest Florida than perhaps at any time before. Cash represents a very large portion of current real estate sales, especially in many Florida markets.
Buyers closed on 2,091 homes in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties in August, well outpacing numbers from a year ago. Of those, buyers paid cash on 62 percent of the sales in Lee, 65 percent in Charlotte and a whopping 74 percent in Charlotte, all above the national average of 40 percent in August. Those gains were led largely by bulk-investment buyers.
The recent influx of cash also has been fanned by baby boomers, who have regained enough equity to sell houses up north to finance Sunshine State retirements. Bank-owned listings and short sales, which also tend to draw more cash offers than mortgage-backed buyers, both have risen steadily over the year, as well.
Some real estate consultants point out that this area always has carried a greater portion of cash buyers than most real estate markets, given the seasonality and dependence on retirees. To learn more about the local market contact a member of the 9 Core Realty sales team at (239) 222-3331.