Southwest Florida became a prime real estate market following the U.S. economic recession. This area, which includes the areas of Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, and Naples, has numerous empty homes. Some are foreclosures while others have yet to hold its first residents.
The empty homes are due in part to foreclosures. Many families purchased homes with an adjustable rate mortgage, which increased just as the unemployment numbers increased. As the average unemployment rate in southwest Florida is 13 percent. Most of the jobs lost were in construction. This particular area of Florida witnessed such fast-paced growth, that construction jobs were in high-demand. Sadly, once the demand fell, people lost their jobs and subsequently their homes. At the same time, home values plummeted across the board.
While these facts are not favorable for sellers that live in the area, the market is favorable for those looking to buy. Almost a quarter of all homes being sold in southwest Florida are to investors in other countries. These investors rent the homes out, or sometimes stay in them just a few months out of the year. The area itself has a mild climate and is not as busy or built-up as other areas of Florida, such as Orlando, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you are looking to buy real estate in southwest Florida. First, it is more expensive to close on a home in Florida than in other states. Although an initial asking price seems appealing, there are added costs at the end. Discuss with your agent or lender before signing anything.
Many homes in Southwest Florida are in associations. You may not recognize it at first, because many of the communities are not gated. With these types of homes, you will have to pay annual association fees on top of your mortgage. Always ask if you are unsure.