Records were broken in March, but “don’t call Guinness just yet!” say broker analysts reviewing the March 2021 Market Report, released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island). The analysts are a small contingency of leaders who represent the area’s top real estate brokerage firms and meet monthly at NABOR® to interpret area housing market statistics. The group’s analysis of activity last month confirmed that March broke records; but celebrations to commemorate the month’s record high statistics should be postponed because these broker analysts also agree that our market is probably not done breaking records for the year.
According to the report, March’s historic activity included 1,851 closed sales, $1,582,474,997 in total sales volume, and 60,147 showing appointments. This makes March 2021 the highest performing month on record over the last 13 years (the span of time NABOR® has tracked key metrics reflecting the area’s housing market activity).
March was also the first month in several years where there were more reported price increases than decreases. Median closed prices in March increased 12.2 percent to $415,000 (the highest median price increase month/month on record since 2008) from $370,000 in March 2020. In March 2021, there were just 1,819 homes in inventory (the lowest it has been since 2014), which was a 73.2 percent decrease from 6,795 homes in inventory in March 2020.
“Appreciation values have not increased dramatically in all price ranges,” said Molly Lane, Senior Vice President at William Raveis Real Estate. “Most of the high appreciation that’s driving median and average closed prices up in recent months is in the $2 million and over market.”
Pending sales (homes under contract) activity in March also broke records, as seen in the 152.7 percent spike to 2,469 pending listings from 977 pending listings in March 2020. However, broker analysts were quick to remind each other that a high number of sales during the second half of the month last year were lost as we were in a pandemic lockdown. Despite last March’s COVID-19-related market anomaly, this March’s pending sales still eclipsed pending sales activity reported in any March over the last eight years.
“This is a challenging time for buyers in Naples,” said Brenda Fioretti, Broker Associate at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, “and why it’s extremely important they work with a local REALTOR® whose experience and expertise can guide them through the process.”
Fioretti is confident buyers can improve their chances of purchasing the property they want by being well prepared as they enter this competitive market. She and several broker analysts advise buyers take the following steps prior to making an offer:
- Get a mortgage pre-approval
- Be ready to make a competitive offer
- Be available to view a home at the seller’s convenience
- Confirm that your agent has activated your profile in the Southwest Florida MLS, and make sure the information is accurate so you can be matched with new listings as soon as they become available
- Stay connected and respond quickly to your agent’s requests
- Be ready to make up the difference between the appraised value and the sale price if financing your home
- Don’t fall in love with just one house: Have a second and third choice in mind in case you miss out on your first choice
- If your favorite home choice goes pending with another buyer, make a back up offer anyway! Often, the first buyer backs out and you become the primary. You can continue shopping for a home and terminate the back-up contract at any time before you become the primary
- Rely on your REALTOR® for advice concerning escalation clauses and contingency matters
- Pay with cash to be most competitive, if possible, and avoid the mortgage underwriting process