Naples Real Estate Market Update – August-2016

The housing market’s momentum continues to remain strong heading into fall. Upon reviewing the August 2016 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island), NABOR® broker analysts cited several reasons why buyers and sellers can expect a promising winter season such as, the inventory is continuing to increase and the median closed prices are remaining virtually unchanged.

Overall activity of properties in the $2 million and above price category failed to perform as well in August compared to other price categories. However, condominium inventory in this luxury segment of the market increased 84 percent to 81 condominiums in August 2016 from 44 condominiums in August 2015, while its overall median closed price fell 19 percent (year over year) to $2,537,000 in August 2016 from $3,132,000 in August 2015. This behavior of increased inventory and lower prices primes the luxury segment of the market for a season where the number of properties priced right can certainly meet demand.

NABOR® broker analysts suspect some potential buyers of high-end properties may be reluctant to make big financial decisions because of the uncertainty of the economy after the Presidential election. However, as the report indicated, activity in this segment of the market is historically lower than it is during seasonal months. Brokers were quick to point out that this tapering is anticipated during the summer and expect sales in this segment to rise as we move into the next season.

Upon reviewing the report, one local Broker remarked that buyers looking for homes in the under $300,000 price category found plenty of options in the Naples condominium market. “There were 211 closed sales for condominiums in the $300,000 and below price category in August compared to 93 in all other price categories combined.”

The median closed price for condominiums in this entry-level price category was $193,000. August also saw a 50 percent increase in inventory for condominiums in the $300,000 and below price category to 974 condominiums in August 2016 from 648 condominiums in August 2015.

He continued, “As the reports indicate, sales have been pretty steady over the summer. Overall, there were 627 closed sales in July and 654 in August. Sales in the high end might have been a bit softer this summer compared to last year, but I do not think it is an indication of anything but how buyers behave during a presidential election year.”

Overall inventory increased 36 percent for the second month in a row to 4,787 homes in August 2016 from 3,525 homes in August 2015. In fact, while inventory rose in all price categories for both home types, the overall median closed price remained flat in August, with the exception of homes in the $300,000 and below price category, which increased 9 percent to $210,000 in August 2016 from $192,000 in August 2015.
Another local Broker pointed out that even though overall inventory decreased slightly over the last five months; historically, it’s projected to swing upwards starting next month. If prices continue to remain stable as they have over the last year, then he believes that more choices and reasonable prices will make for a good season.

The NABOR® August 2016 Market Report provides comparisons of single-family home and condominium sales (via the Southwest Florida MLS), price ranges, and geographic segmentation and includes an overall market summary. The NABOR® August 2016 sales statistics :
August Market Update

Median closed price in 2016- $320,000/ 2015- $306,000  up 5%
Single-family median closed price 2016- $384,000/2105- $388,000 -1%
Condominium median closed price 2016-$232,000/ 2105- $235,000 -1%
Geographically, overall closed sales in East Naples increased 10 percent to 136 homes in August 2016 from 124 homes in August 2015. Also impressive was the 12 percent increase in single family closed sales in the East Naples area to 91 homes in August 2016 from 81 homes in August 2015, and a 72 percent increase in condominium inventory in North Naples to 639 condominiums in August 2016 from 371 condominiums in August 2015.

If you are weighing the pros and cons of buying or selling a home in the coming months, let me be your guide. I can help you do a market comparison and determine a fair and reasonable listing price. I can also identify properties best suited for your needs and negotiate a purchase price that fits your budget. – See more or search for your next home here

Top U.S. States

CNBC has just released its 10th annual best states for business score card. Investors can use the interactive map to see which states in the US are rated the highest in each of these 10 categories:

  • Cost of doing business
  • Infrastructure
  • Economy
  • Quality of life
  • Technology and innovation
  • Education
  • Business friendliness
  • Cost of living
  • Access to capital

Click here to start using the interactive map.

7 Travel {like a local} Websites

There are thousands of  travel apps, websites & blogs, all worth exploring- if you have the time to search. Here are 7 online guides where you can learn to travel like a local.
I use Yelp, Foursquare and TripAdvisor even when I’m not leaving town. They are perfect for checking out the top tourist attractions and the best places to eat when you’re traveling-but these websites will help you find adventure, meet fellow travelers & make new friends, and live like a local!

travel and surf

RootsRated is a travel website for people who love the outdoors!
Get some fresh air and explore the cities on your itinerary while hiking, running, biking, skiing, paddling…you name it, you can find it. RootsRated harnesses local outdoor retailers and local expert adventurers who will help you find your thrill. At last count the website has nearly 90 U.S. cities listed. From trail running in Portland, Maine to surfing in San Diego, California.

P.S. Check out the stories tab if you want inspiration on where to book your next outdoor adventure.

Travel Cooking Class

Vimbly’s website is a place to explore thousands of local activities and then book them directly from the website.
The site lists activities based on these categories: “learn”, “explore” (check out the extreme explorations!), “eat”, “drink”, “watch”, “date” & “fight”* (*mostly martial arts- not bar brawls).

The cities listed are only in the U.S. and limited to major metropolitan areas. However, I recommend checking Vimbly out if you live nearby or planning a visit to any of the cities listed.

Travel Street grafftti art

Atlas Obsura is hands down the winner of the day for finding hidden gems. I searched both my current hometown and the city I grew up in; I thought I knew about every interesting thing to do in both towns. Clearly, I need to make some plans for a day trip. Search Atlas Obscura by “destination”, “most popular”, “newly added” and “random”.

Go ahead check out your city- have you seen it all? 

travel restaurant

Virtual Tourist (VT) is an online community of locals and travelers sharing real experience and advice.
Start with the Travel Guides tab in the navigation menu; the drop down will let you explore your destination by location.
If you want a real answer from someone who lives in or has been to the city you would like to explore head right to the Forums tab and search by location- ask your own question or learn more by reading other travel questions & answers.

The coolest feature of VT is its Meet Members tab, do you want to have coffee with locals or fellow travelers in Krakow? Search Meetings- when you create a member profile you can organize your own meeting-as always be safe out there!

In spite of its “marriage” to Trip Advisor these reviews are unbiased and you can’t pay to get to the top here.   Take your time to explore the site- is not pretty or one of the easiest to navigate, but with a little patience you will find some great travel information here.

Travel China Town

Much like Virtual Tourist, Like a Local Guide is an online community of users. At the time of writing there were 5,127 local contributors from 353 cities to guide you to the best tours and activities, sights, restaurants, cafes, bars and shops. It also features a forum where you can get your questions answered or peruse lists according to your interests, all curated by locals.
You can search destinations by scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page and clicking “locals” -all of the cities represented and their contributors are located there.

The site’s navigation is fairly straightforward, but does have paid advertising. Download the mobile app for iOS and Android and you will have access to offline maps with suggested places nearby for your destination (for purchase).

I would love to see grow- currently it is limited to larger cities, most located in Europe. For example, Miami has only one reviewer; seriously?! Come on Miami – represent!

Travel Cafe bouganvilla

If you’ve traveled further than your front door you most likely have heard of Lonely Planet, they’ve been around for over 40 years. Their books are an indispensable resource for any trip, long or short!

The website is a fabulous resource on its own, but the Thorn Tree forums are a community of travelers that cover every possible place you’ve dreamed of visiting. Find a travel buddy, browse by country or interest, or join the chat on Tree House forums.

Travel Piano Concert

Book a tour – no- an experience – with an insider who is passionate about their city on! Choose from an estate sale tour in Minneapolis, biking the backroads of Tuscany, a private piano concert with views of Manhattan (wow!), to secret gardens of Athens.

I might be tempted to plan my next trip based only on the rich cultural opportunities the Vayable platform offers.  This website allows anyone to create an experience in their city as long as it meets their guidelines.

Their mission statement? this. is. awesome -“Vayable’s mission is to become the global platform for real-life experiences. We are enabling locals to use their time and knowledge to earn a living by generating new sources of income, while creating a better world where people can experience richer, more meaningful lives.” 

If you take advantage of any of these websites next time you travel, share your adventure with us on our Facebook Page!

EB-5 Visa

We are researching this topic to bring you the latest information.
In the meantime, here’s an update about the possibility of changes to the program. 

From National Real Estate Investor Online- October 31, 2016

The short-term extension that Congress granted for the EB-5 investment program is due to end on December 9. In the interim, Congress has some work to do, focusing on program reforms that would address issues ranging from allegations of funds misuse to calls for higher investment minimums to better oversight of regional centers that deploy EB-5 funds. Against that backdrop, what can the real estate industry expect to see happen come December 9?

“Everybody on the American side knows EB-5 has been effective in getting capital to stimulate job creation at no cost to government. A political divide has arisen because developers in a relatively small number of big money centers have used an increasingly higher percentage of EB-5 investment, without much participation by developers in other areas,” says Robert Divine, head attorney in the global immigration group of Memphis, Tenn.-based law firm Baker Donelson. Divine served as chief counsel of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) from 2004 to 2006.

That facet of contention has been thoroughly covered in the media over the past two years. Related Co. and Extell Development Co. are among the big name developers to look to EB-5 funding for their projects. Related used it for Hudson Yards and Extell is seeking EB-5 investors to pump $200 million into its Central Park Tower project.

About 85 percent of EB-5 investors come from China, and because of the program’s popularity, people born in mainland China who invest now are on a wait list of approximately seven to eight years for visas, Divine says.

“China, which drives the bulk of EB-5 investment, doesn’t see EB-5 as an investment program, they see it as an immigration vehicle,” says Wei Xie, a research manager for real estate services firm CBRE who tracks EB-5 investment.

EB-5’s current framework says investment money can only be used in Target Employment Areas (TEAs) facing high unemployment and needing economic stimulus. But loopholes exist for savvy developers. For instance, Hudson Yards qualified to use the funding by being in the same district as Manhattanville’s public housing communities.

As a result, one change to the program that legislators are looking into is refinancing the definition of a target employment area, Xie notes. “For example, some projects are in Manhattan and downtown D.C. It’s hard to say these are economically distressed. We need to make sure capital is going in where it is needed most,” she says.

For their part, foreign investors want continuity, predictability and no retroactive changes to the program, according to Divine. Meanwhile, representatives from rural areas in the U.S. want more money flowing to them, and some do want retroactive reforms.

Retroactive changes could mean that if investment minimums rise to $800,000—an increase sources say is currently being discussed—they could affect deals dating back to June 2015, when the program technically ended, says Edward Beshara, founding attorney at Beshara Professional Association, which specializes in representing investors and developers in EB-5 legal matters. Beshara adds, however, that he doesn’t think retroactivity will be applied.

Congress is also struggling over how to classify the TEAs geographic areas for minimum investment requirements, Beshara adds. He is a member of the Best Practices Committee of IIUSA, the organization representing the EB-5 industry, which has drafted best practices suggestions regarding both investors and the regional centers that handle their money. His recommendations include mandatory third-party fund administration to ensure EB-5 regional center developers is using the funds correctly and as planned. Another recommendation is to give foreign investors a real exit strategy. There’s precedence for that to happen as EB-5 is governed by both immigration rules and the SEC, which considers EB-5 regional center requests a public offering. “A true exit strategy should be real, which would allow investors to obtain money back. One thing we learned from bad EB-5 projects is that principals fraudulently used the investors’ money.”

According to Xie, one of the main issues facing EB-5 right now is lack of sufficient oversight for these complex transactions that include long-distance investors. Sometimes the EB-5 fund money is managed well; sometimes it isn’t, she notes.

For the most part, sources say Congress will enact a short-term extension of the program on December 9. But what about something more permanent?

“The possibility of a long-term extension depends on representatives’ ability to compromise,” Divine says. He lists three possible scenarios for December. The first and most likely is a short-term extension with no change. The next most likely is an extension with changes that would constitute “integrity measures that would not affect investors, but prevent mishandling of funds.” And the third most likely outcome is an impasse.

“It seems unlikely that a comprehensive negotiated arrangement and long-term extension could be done by December 9, but we can hope so and work toward it,” Divine says.


A Short History.

In 1924 the Immigration and Nationality Act ( INA) created the E-1 Visa, this lead to an increase in international investments. In 1952 the INA created a new investor class with the E-2 Visa, to order to continue promoting the goal of increasing international investments and attracting  foreign investors.

The E-2 Visa is often referred to as the Treaty Visa, because in order to qualify for an E-2 Visa you must be a citizen of a qualifying country. Treaty Countries have an agreement with the U.S. to promote positive relations, trade and economic growth & it means that the other country has similar laws where a U.S. investor could purchase or start a business and obtain a visa to conduct business in that country.

The Limitations of E-2 Visas.

E Visas have limitations, even though people who hold these types of Visas have contributed substantially to the U.S. economy, E-2 Visas do not lead to permanent residency, green cards or citizenship. If you close your qualifying business you must leave the country. And when your dependents turn 21 they will be required to leave the U.S.

This and other U.S. Immigration reforms are currently pending before congress – check  the Department of Homeland Security’s website for updates and to learn more about the E-2 VISA or contact us we will be happy to guide you through the qualification and application process.