Market Watch panel: Real Estate market appearances deceiving

08/17/2015

So how is Southwest Florida’s newly awakened real estate market really doing?

That’s in the eye of the beholder as the economy continues to recover and people try to read the tea leaves and figure out what’s coming next.

But as the saying goes, you’re entitled to your opinions — not your own facts.

In this review of the second quarter of 2015, the three News-Press Market Watch experts get into the statistics and the history that show where both commercial and real estate prices and construction are likely to go.

Land sales and development expert Randy Thibaut, owner and founder of Land Solutions Inc., takes on the perception that “our new home market has fully recovered and we’re headed for years of double-digit growth.”

Thibaut looks at the levels of construction, household growth, buyers, skilled labor and availability of financing to reach a more nuanced view of today’s trends.

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(Photo: SCopeland)

Commercial real estate expert Stan Stouder, a partner with CRE Consultants, likens that sector’s strong comeback to a California wildfire — “fueled by plenty of dry tender created from years of drought.”

But that’s still just a metaphor, and Southwest Florida’s commercial markets won’t rage out of control forever, Stouder cautions.

He gives credit to the winners who bought at the bottom and profited, but reminds us that new commercial construction doesn’t come without an increase in the number of new homes being built.

Denny Grimes, residential real estate expert and president of Denny Grimes & Co., says that nationwide there’s been a big run-up in the numbers of home sales and “the median sales price is at an all-time high.”

But the local markets haven’t hit those exalted mileposts, and a good thing, he says “To me wishing for ‘those good old days’ would be like wishing for a direct hit from a Cat 5 hurricane.’”

Connect with this reporter: @DickHogan (Twitter) or email dhogan@news-press.com

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