Top real estate headlines
Far and away the top news of the year was the merger of WCI and Lennar, “a huge transaction,” Thibaut said.
If the deal closes, it will make Lennar the biggest Southwest Florida builder by far, instantly adding 14,000 lots to its books.
“To put it in perspective, last year we pulled 11,500 permits as a total of all development,” he said. “That’s years of inventory.”
Another one for the record book: “We’re going to have a Whole Foods in Fort Myers. It was zoned a month ago and it will be under construction the first quarter of 2017, with a $327 million Gulf Coast Hospital expansion starting right up the street.”
Luxury high rises still on the rise
Pent up demand for luxury products in Naples ignited this market, so much so that projects in the south are nearly sold out.
“There are going to be a lot of topping off parties this year,” Thibaut said.
The first tower at Kalea Bay is 75 percent sold out. Seaglass at Bonita Bay by the Ronto Group is 50 percent sold out. And Altaira at The Colony is over 30 percent sold, fueled by discounts to an older buying market that doesn’t want to wait six years for other developments to start.
Thibaut predicts the demand is such that Mystique at Pelican Bay, which plans to market condos upward of $3 million, will come out of the ground in 2017, although it has no start date as of yet.
The pendulum has swung
This year, the region’s top builder with 1,200 permits pulled is D.R. Horton, especially it’s economical Express Homes product line.
“Look for single-family homes to dominate in the real estate year ahead,” Thibaut said.
The reason: “Apartment rents have risen to $1.40 a square foot, and renters now have better jobs and income.” At the same time, “Builders like D.R. Horton are knocking on their doors, offering homes equal to their rent payment.”
Value also made Ave Maria the top selling community in the entire market for a second year running, but don’t expect that to continue, said Thibaut.
Adapted from an article by Patricia Borns, News-Press (for complete article see link below)