NAPLES / FT MYERS HOUSING 4Q17: New Home Starts Down, As Job Market Rebounds from Hurricane Irma; Lot Deliveries Increased, but Inventory Remains Tight
- 4Q17 Quarterly New Home Starts down 1.3% & Quarterly Closings down 10.4% YoY
- 2017 Annual Starts down 1.8% & Annual Closings down 1% YoY
- Finished vacant inventory is at less than 3 months of supply in all Southwest Florida submarkets, but vacant developed lot inventory increased 4.8% and lot deliveries increased 49% from 3Q17.
Metrostudy’s 4Q17 survey of the Naples / Ft. Myers new home market shows that the quarterly starts rate decreased 7.7% to 1,106 from 3Q17, and decreased 1.3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. The annual starts pace decreased 0.3% from the previous quarter to 4,582, and decreased 1.8% from 4Q16. Fourth quarter 2017 closings increased 4.8% from the previous quarter, but decreased 10.4% from 4Q16. The annual closing pace decreased 2.7% from 3Q17 and fell 1% from the fourth quarter of 2016.
Our fourth quarter survey observed finished vacant inventory at less than three months’ supply in all Southwest Florida submarkets. Lee’s finished, vacant home (F/V) rate increased to 1.9 months of supply (MOS) while Collier’s F/V increased to 1.5 MOS. The previous quarter’s F/V MOS was 1.5 for Lee and 0.7 for Collier. Vacant, developed lot (VDL) inventory increased 4.8% from the previous quarter to 11,707 lots. This count is down 1.9% from 4Q16. Lot deliveries for the quarter increased 49% to 1,645 when compared to the previous quarter.
“Non-agricultural, non-seasonally adjusted job growth in Naples/Ft. Myers rebounded from the effects of Hurricane Irma in the fourth quarter,” said David Cobb, Metrostudy’s Regional Director in South Florida. “The Cape Coral/Ft. Myers Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) gained 1,300 jobs over the past 12 months through December, a 2.6% annual growth rate, while the Naples/Marco Island MSA gained 4,700 net new jobs, an annual job growth rate of 3.2%. Strong job gains are noted in the Construction, Services, and Leisure/Health categories. Both submarkets also saw the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fall from the same month of the previous year.”
Lee County: Lee County is comprised of the Ft. Myers-Cape Coral MSA. Active master-planned subdivisions in Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres are included in our research, but scattered lot activity is not. Quarterly starts totaled 720, up 10.9% QoQ, while quarterly closings of 566 decreased 9.6% from the previous quarter. The annual starts rate of 2,530 increased 1% and the annual closings rate of 2,382 decreased 7.1% from the fourth quarter of 2016. Housing Inventory in Lee County remains below equilibrium at 7.5 MOS, but is up from 6.4 MOS noted in the previous quarter. Nine months of supply is considered normal. The supply of VDL inventory increased 10% QoQ to 7,208, a 34 months’ supply. The 2017 lot deliveries totaled 2,438, slightly less than the annual starts pace of 2,530. Future lot inventory increased 1.5% YoY to 37,886.
Collier County: Collier County is comprised of the Naples – Marco Island – Immokalee MSA. Active master-planned subdivisions in Collier County are included in this research, but the scattered lot activity, primarily in Golden Gate and Golden Gate Estates, is not. Quarterly starts numbered 386, down 29.7%, while quarterly closings were 584, up by 24% from the previous quarter. Both numbers reflect the effects of Hurricane Irma. The annual starts rate of 2,052 decreased 5% from last year, while the annual closings rate of 2,380 increased 6.1% from the fourth quarter of 2016. Housing Inventory decreased QoQ to 7.2 MOS from 8.2 MOS. VDL inventory decreased 2.5% quarter-over-quarter to 4,499, a 26 months’ supply. Lot deliveries for 2017 totaled 1,912, below the annual starts pace of 2,052. Future lot inventory increased 1% YoY, to 29,934.
The Top 10 single family communities in the Naples/Ft. Myers market, ranked by the past 12 months starts through the fourth quarter of 2017:
Ave Maria remains at the top spot once again and has been the starts leader for twelve consecutive quarters. Naples Reserve and Marina Bay climb to second and third place, respectively, and River Hall and Lindsford round out the top five communities. StoneCreek, Esplanade, Plantation, Artesia, and Corkscrew Shores maintain their status as a Top 10 Community.
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