Despite being hit hard by Hurricane Irma in September, the Naples, Florida, housing market closed out October 2017 on a positive note with sales increasing about one percent over the same time the previous year.
Naples’ October 2017 Market
The Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) reported, “October could have been better, but it did pretty well, given the fact that we had no historic perspective of how the market would behave after a hurricane.” Local broker Bill Coffey added, “Even though overall pending sales decreased 11 percent in October, some pockets of the market saw really good activity.” Coffey credited hurricane damage for the decline in pending sales, noting, “Many homes damaged by the hurricane are in need of repair before they can go back on the market.”
Florida Market Drop in Inventory
Inventory levels dropped in October 2017 over levels the previous year. While that likely would have happened anyway, the eight-percent decline was likely greater than it would have been otherwise thanks to weather damage. Real estate professionals and homeowners report they are having trouble obtaining construction supplies and accessing skilled labor to help with repairs. Move-in-ready homes are in particular demand, and NABOR analysts predict that this demand will only increase as the housing supply tightens over the coming months.
Persistent Residents of the Florida Keys
Further south, the need for repairs is more intense. In the Florida Keys, many have opted to remain in the area but are living in their cars or in RVs parked semi-legally in vacant lots or damaged properties awaiting repairs. Some are former residents with nowhere to live who are still working in the area, but others are new residents who traveled to the Keys to take advantage of presently lenient regulation on campers and other unconventional living arrangements.
One new resident who has been living in a 38-foot travel trailer parked near an abandoned retail complex observed, “You can’t find a spot like this on the water for free. This is a little safe haven right here.” He added there is a police presence in these informal camps, but that so far no one has asked him to leave. The commercial lot has been vacant despite an assessed $2.2 million value since Hurricane Wilma wiped it out in 2005.