Bank Owned Homes for Sale in Lee County Pull in Investors

by Simon Lindsay on Foreclosures

Low-priced bank owned homes for sale in Lee County, Florida have been attracting a lot of out-of-state investors who are combining business and leisure in their journey to the state.

In February, the median price for all houses sold in Lee County plunged to $88,000, a decrease of 10 percent from the February 2009 median of $97,500, based on figures from the Florida Association of Realtors.

Condo sales prices also dropped, with the price median falling by seven percent to $130,900 from $140,500.

These sharp price declines enticed out-of-state investors to travel to Lee County and look for foreclosures, which have now become the main tourist attraction in the area and across Florida. As pre foreclosures continue to surge, the number of distressed properties available for investors is still at record levels.

Sales of previously owned single-family homes jumped up in February, rising by 44 percent from sales in February 2009 to 1,261 units. Similarly, sales of condos increased by a whopping 94 percent from 223 units in February 2009 to 432 units in February this year.

Because of the continued sharp declines in prices, Florida homeowners are now worrying that their homes will depreciate further. Analysts, however, sought to reassure them, saying that the next wave of bank owned homes for sale will come from higher-cost areas and will help push up price levels.

Local realtors said that the influx of out-of-state investors will push up home sales and prices. In January, the price median for the 1,115 single-family houses sold in Lee County was $91,000 while the median for the 390 condo units sold was $121,400.

Denny Grimes, head of his own real estate brokerage firm, said that the focus of the national media on the foreclosure case backlog in Florida courts has spurred more buyers traveling to the state to look for homes.

Despite the influx of buyers, however, the number of unsold houses in Lee County is still far higher than the number of prospective buyers, according to real estate professional Steve Koffman.

Nationwide, the inventory of unsold houses soared in February by 312,000 units to hit 3.59 million, a supply that will take 8.6 months to sell. The inventory surged by a record number because total sales of previously owned homes and bank owned homes for sale in February declined for the third consecutive month, pulling existing-home sales down to their lowest level over the past nine months.