We all have a role to fulfill.
Devastation, shock & heartache can, in part, describe what we all are experiencing right now after Hurricane Ian made that seemingly surprise turn towards SWFL marking the worst storm in Naples maybe even Florida’s history. We know that the European model was forecasting a more easterly landfall, but in the days leading up to September 28th, 2022, the professionals were telling Tampa to brace for impact, leaving many Neapolitans thinking the storm would be but a healthy tropical storm. Boy did that change.
I don’t think I need to rehash the devastating and heart-breaking images and stories we are seeing on the news and social media, though I am seeing that most of the damage is west of 41. My role in all of this, aside from helping cleanup like the rest of my fellow SW Floridians, is to shed light on the current state of the local real estate market from what I am learning and experiencing, without speculation, and advise folks who need my particular scope of expertise.
Some will sell, others will see buying opportunities and expect discounts and there will clearly be refund requests from seasonal rental tenants. My hope is that this process won’t get out of hand with the courts having to get involved. Hey, if your rental property doesn’t exist any longer, I think the renter deserves a refund. But what do I know, I am not a lawyer.
When Hurricane Micahel hit Mexico Beach in 2018, owners of short-term rentals were asked to skip the vacaction rental season and rent to residents who lost their homes. Some owners refused. A big question we are all wondering is “will we have a season this year?” I think we will, but it will be very modest as this mess gets sorted out. An analysis from Realtor.com on natural disasters in 2017 showed that 18-32% of home sales are delayed or disrupted in the month of a disaster. Another study published by the Counselors of Real Estate shows that typically in the quarter following a hurricane, there is a noticeable decrease in both the volume of sales transactions as well as sales price. Mexico Beach isn’t Naples, so we will have to wait and see.
Another step we can expect moving forward is added disclosure forms issued by the Florida Association of Realtors and Naples Area Board of Realtors. I also think there will be added due diligence time for purchase contracts, and probably Letters of Intent for commercial leases, to allow for more in-depth inspections for structural, roofs, systems & mold. As a buyer, seller, prospective landlord or tenant, you need to lean on your real estate professional more than ever ging forward. When in doubt, disclose. Especially those insurance claims, of which will be MANY. A lot will hinge on the insurance aspect of the cleanup. It will be messy in that arena, no doubt.
It’s too soon to see what’s really happening with listings, but I can report that Naples MLS is showing 59 listing withdrawals over the last 3 days vs 29 New Listings over the same time period. Those numbers change to 31 listing withdrawals in the last 24 hours with only 16 new listings in the same time period, some extensions. Not quite the “normal” numbers. I saw a $1 million price reduction for a home in Royal Harbor already. Will “For Sale” listings spike with much lower asking prices that we have come to be familiar with over the last 2 years? If so, we may see a drop in property tax dollars and county wide budgets.
I have talked with a few clients and although they are shocked as we all are, interest in owning a piece of paradise doesn’t seem to have waned. Our prime location, culture and quality of life will continue to tug at the hearts of those who have come to know and love SWFL.
I had a text conversation this morning with a well-known Naples video blogger who has been documenting the devastation and answering questions for residents and out-of-state property owners and we both agree that our precious town will bounce back quicker than most people think. Even Mayor Teresa Heitmann stated how quickly people were getting to work to restore our gem of a town back to her former beauty. WE WILL REBUILD and everything will be OK. We pray for the loss of life and loss of businesses, but there is an abundance of genuine love and affection for our cherished corner of Florida to the tune that we won’t be down for long. We are Naples Strong and will be back stronger than before.
Let me know if I can help you!