Southwest Florida's single-family home price growth in the third quarter was among the highest in the nation, a new report shows.
Comparing the quarter with the same period a year earlier, the Naples-Marco Island area ranked third while the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area was fourth, according to a report released Thursday by the National Association of Realtors.
Home prices in Naples-Marco Island rose 16.8 percent, to $400,000 from $342,500 a year earlier, the trade group said. Price increases were nearly as high in Cape Coral-Fort Myers — up 16.7 percent, to $210,000 from $180,000.
The two metro areas were beaten in the rankings by two places just up the coast: Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, where prices rose 20.7 percent, to $175,000 from $145,000, and Punta Gorda, where they were up 19.7 percent, to $170,000 from $142,000.
But that's not necessarily good news for Southwest Florida or the Gulf Coast region, said Adam DeSanctis, NAR spokesman.
"Anything that's a double-digit price increase, or more than three times wage growth, is not healthy or sustainable," he said.
However, he also said that the region is "making up for lost time" from big price dips during the recession.
Naples economic consultant Mike Timmerman said that Southwest Florida's home prices are only at 72 percent of peak prices during the housing boom.
"Because we were in such a huge hole, it's taken a while to get back," he said.
Southwest Florida's home price percentage increases are about triple the national price increase of 5.5 percent, to $229,000 from $217,100, NAR said.
Out of the 178 metro areas NAR studied, prices rose in 154 markets, or 87 percent.
NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in the report that Southern metros were among those with the fastest appreciation over the year. Demand is being spurred by more jobs and an influx of vacation and foreign buyers, he said.
A separate report released Thursday by Florida Realtors showed that statewide, days on the market dropped in the third quarter to 46 from 57 in the year-earlier quarter, a 19.3 percent decline.
That's partly due to continued tightening of supply, which fell to 4.4 months from 5.4 months, a 19.1 percent drop, Florida Realtors said.
That's good news for sellers, who got a slightly higher percentage of their asking price in the third quarter compared to a year ago: 94.4 percent, compared with 93.2 percent.
Lack of inventory and listings are propping up sales throughout the state, the report noted.
Statewide, active listings fell 6.5 percent, to 99,251 from 106,104, Florida Realtors said.
But closed sales in Florida were up 14.7 percent, to 74,141 from 64,633, the trade group said.
In Naples-Marco Island, single-family closed sales were up 3.2 percent in the third quarter, to 1,266; in Lee County they rose 12.9 percent to 3,440.
"It's been a solid quarter for residential real estate in Florida, which is now exceeding the nation in sales and price growth," said John Tuccillo, Florida Realtors' chief economist, in the report.