Find cheap houses for sale in Southwest Florida where home prices continue to fall, according to Ross McIntosh, head and founder of Naples-based REO Accelerated Disposition Associates.
McIntosh, who has been buying, fixing and selling foreclosed properties, said that homes sold below $300,000 in the area represent about half of their prices during the housing peak in 2005.
McIntosh also added that home prices in some areas of Lee County have plunged further down than in areas in Collier County. He said that Lee County homes selling for $350,000 four years ago are now selling for only $80,000. There are however areas in Collier such as Golden Gate and remote Estate areas where home prices have plunged.
The REO Accelerated founder also said that among the factors pushing down prices further is the increase in rental properties. He explained that neighborhoods dominated by rentals, such as college rentals in the Three Oaks area, have been pushing down residential property values and turning previously valuable properties into cheap houses for sale.
On the other hand, one factor helping preserve values in Collier is the fact that it is an agricultural region. McIntosh explained that nearly every residential property in Collier qualifies for lower-cost home loans provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Another factor showing the predominance of foreclosed properties in the Southwest Florida region is the slowdown in home building activity in the area. According to McIntosh, the number of building permits issued has sharply dropped.
In Lee County, permits for single-family homes dropped from 1,547 last year to only 696 this year. Collier issued 737 permits this year, down from more than 934 permits last year.
Lee County had only 68 active builders this year, down from 175 builders last year. Similarly, Collier County had only 44 active builders this year, down from 83 builders last year.
In another report, the rising unemployment rate was cited as the major driver of foreclosures in Southwest Florida. The Naples metro area hit a jobless rate of 12.4 percent and the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area hit 13.7 percent. All in all, the two metro areas lost more than 10,600 jobs in September.
Median sales prices for previously-owned single-family homes fell in the two metro areas, attracting more investors looking for cheap houses for sale. The median price in Lee County dropped by 33 percent and fell in Collier County by 28 percent.