Cape Coral real estate: Florida's housing anomaly

An open house in Cape Coral, Fla.

For the past several weeks we've been checking in on the real estate scene in different markets around the country. We're trying to get a fix on whether the market is truly starting to recover. The answer isn't simple. Even during the housing crisis, real estate is still all about location. So at first glance, buying a house in Florida right now may not sound like a solid investment, considering the state has the highest foreclosure rate in the country, according to RealtyTrac. That's not what you'll hear from Yoselyn Hollow, though. She's an owner and broker for RE/MAX Realty Team in Cape Coral, Fla., where she says, business is booming.

"We are experiencing a lot of appreciation in terms of prices in our market. Our inventory is a little low. We have about a three to four month supply, which is fantastic for sellers because obviously they have a little more equity. They can turn around and sell. Buyers? Maybe not so good as it was several years ago, when we were urging them to buy, because now they are paying a little bit more than they would have a couple of years ago," says Hollow.

Hollow says Cape Coral is experiencing a lot of investors coming into the market, including international buyers. She says Cape Coral is also seeing a lot of people who want to retire in the area. But compared to other cities in Florida, Cape Coral is a bit of an anomaly. According to the latest housing report from RealtyTrac, Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the country -- it's two times the rate of anywhere else.

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"Miami, Tallahassee, Jacksonville -- those are some of the ones that RealtyTrac had mentioned in terms of foreclosure. But Cape Coral, not so much any more. A few years ago, I would have said to you that probably 80 percent of our market was distressed. Now 80 percent of our market, if not a little bit more, is actually traditional sellers. To me it's an indication that market is a little bit behind us. Will we see short sales and will we see bank-owned properties coming in the market? Absolutely. But I think it's going to start trickling in. It's not going to come in the waves that it did a few years ago," say Hollow.

Hollow says she is very optimistic about the future of housing where she is. "Real estate always has healthy economy rebound and I don't think it's going to change. We're going to continue to see the prices increase. We're still going to continue to see people coming and retiring and moving to Florida, and that creates markets in and of itself. I'm highly optimistic," says Hollow.

About the author

In more than 20 years in public radio, Barbara Bogaev has served as the longtime guest host of NPR’s flagship program Fresh Air with Terry Gross, as well as host of APM’s news and culture magazine, Weekend America and the weekly national documentary series, Soundprint.

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