Southwest Florida has always been popular for its subtropical landscape. For a long time, it has attracted people looking for a second home. Customers are attracted toward high end golf courses, water sports and boating on the Gulf of Mexico, fine dine restaurants, malls and shops. Southwest Florida features a wide range of cities right on the coast from Platinum Coast of Naples and Marco, Collier Country to Sanibel Island’s beaches.
Collier County has always been popular for its winters. According to residents, when cold breeze blows during the winter season, the temperature is still 10-15 degrees warmer than Sarasota. Despite the numerous threats from hurricanes, the increasing cost of home insurance and various other problems, more than a thousand people move to this region in Florida every day. A lot of these people move to Collier and Lee Counties.
What Do the Experts Say?
According to more than a dozen brokers, Southwest Florida has rapidly become a buyer’s market. In most new communities, the number of homes for sale has almost tripled in the last few years. The primary reason is that real estate investors have been trying to unload many different properties. The strongest segment in the real estate market has been $2 million. According to local brokers in Southwest Florida, investors usually stayed away from such high prices. However, sellers haven’t brought the prices down to where many buyers expected.
The most dominant cities in Southwest Florida are linked by the INterstate 75 since the 1980s, and the Tamiami Trail (Route 41) since the 1920s. Some of these cities include Fort Myers, Naples and Sarasota. According to real estate experts, the Naples’ Platinum Coast is considered the most expensive. The median price for a home in this place is around $500,000. Thus, most buyers are choosing Lee County. Thus, most people are choosing Lee County. The prices in this region are lower, and builders offer numerous cultural amenities.
Lee County has been a booming real estate market. Real estate prices are lower than Naples. In this region, a lot of luxurious golf course communities have been going up on almost every corner in the Southern region of the county. Currently, Fort Myers’ is undergoing a complete makeover. It has been attracting a lot of high rise condo developers. Moreover, Bonita Springs, which was once a secluded areas, has been full of luxurious high rises. From North to South, here’s an overview of the real estate market in Southwest Florida.
Sanibel / Fort Myers Beach / Fort Myers
Fort Myers is located about 15 miles from the Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach. According to Michael Munn, a renowned real estate broker working with the Pretium Realty Group, this place has never been a huge second home market. In fact, second home buyers constitute just 10-15% of the real estate market. However, Lee County has been quickly catching up, especially in the towns of South County, such as Bonita Springs and Estero. In these places, high end country club communities and high rise condos are developing rapidly.
The most famous resident in the region is Thomas Edison. According to him, there’s just one Fort Myers, and it won’t take long before 90 million people realize the truth. In January and February, the city organizes the Festival of Light, which celebrates Edison’s invention of the light bulb. For a long time, the Edison and Henry Ford winter estates have been the most popular tourist attractions. They are located on the McGregor Boulevard. With the second position, Sanibel Island is not far behind.
The J.N Darling National Wildlife Preserve takes up most part of the island. Thus, ecotourism is the main attraction in this region. During the high season, the population increases from 6,000 to 20,000. Sanibel Island is home to a mix of different types of houses. Most of these fall under the luxury category. They are priced between $1 to $4 million. On the other hand, condo prices start from $500,000.
If you’re a second home buyer, Cape Coral will be your best choice. It’s located North of the Caloosahatchee. The place features more than 400 miles of canals, which connect you to the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s worth mentioning that the best located houses are being remodeled. These include the old ranch houses built in the 1960s. They are being converted to large new houses. The best location is near the river, and costs around $1 to $4 million.
It’s important to understand that the Fort Myers Beach has the perfect mix of condos and houses. Even condo hotels have been entering the real estate market. When people get tired from the beach area, the Times Square is a big relief. At times, traffic on the island can easily reach the mainland. Due to direct flights from Dusseldorf to Fort Myers, the island attracts a lot of German tourists. Thus, German delis and restaurants are quite common to the area.
Bonita Springs / Bonita Beach / Estero
Until a decade ago, Estero and Bonita Springs were popular because of the tomato fields and greyhound racing track. Currently, the place is popular for the master planned Bonita Bay spread across a 2,400 acre area. These upscale golf communities have been able to attract a lot of buyers. They are mostly built in Collier and Lee Counties. Bonita Bay has been developed by the Lutgert Companies. It offers the perfect mix of houses, from villas and condos to luxury units and large houses facing the Bay area. The Intracoastal Waterway is just a 10 minute drive from Bonita Beach.
Estero is centrally located. It’s a bedroom community for home buyers looking to work in Naples and Fort Myers. According to Jack Mancini, Gulf Coast Premier Realty, many second home buyers live in this place. He says that most residents are young families. Moreover, a major section of the community comprises of investors. The real estate market in the region has been flooded with opportunists. The Miromar Outlet Mall is located right off the Interstate 75 in Estero. It attracts more than one million shoppers every year. Moreover, the International Design Center has become a huge store for interior designers from around the world. Some other major malls include Coconut Pointe and Gulf Coast Town Center.
Naples is considered one of the wealthiest retreats in the country during the winter season. The primary reasons include a wide range of restaurants, cultural amenities, shopping and golf courses. Average prices in the region is around $500,000. However, the inventory in this region has been growing, and buyers have numerous choices. The County offers plenty of luxurious neighborhoods. However, the four most popular neighborhoods include Park Shore, Pelican Bay, Bay Colony and Gordon Drive South.
Collier County also offers a wide range of luxurious golf course communities. Most golf courses in the county have been designed by Greg Norman, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Jack Nicklaus and other renowned designers. This county features more golf holes per capita than any other city in the United States of America. Most home buyers choose Naples for the welcoming and friendly people. The attitude and mindset of the people is pleasant. Most residents are from the Midwest, and have the same mentality to greet new people.
In the 1960s, the Deltona Corporation got permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to create an exceptional dream city. The place is located around 16 miles South of Naples. It’s located in 6,800 acres of land with excellent coastal environment. In the 1970s, the building operations of most developers were cancelled because of the negative impact on the environment.
Most houses and apartments in Marco are located on open water or canals. Crescent Beach is home to a wide range of luxurious high rises. The island features more than 100 condominiums. Moreover, the view from some upper floors of condos is exceptional. On sunny morning, you will be mesmerized by the beauty of turquoise Gulf waters. Tigertail Beach attracts numerous shell collectors and birders.
It’s worth mentioning that inland homes in Marco Island can cost around $40,000. However, average prices in the region are considered the most expensive. Recently, a $12.9 million mansion was on the market. It was located in the Southern region of the island on open water, and overlooked mangroves called the Ten Thousand Islands.