In what is good news for any homeowner – or any home buyer looking to purchase real estate that will appreciate in value over the years – home prices went up once again in December to close out a strong 2013.

According to numbers released by local Realtor associations, December was a great month for Southwest Florida real estate, including Bonita Springs. The median price for a single-family home in Lee County increased by 24% from December 2012. It is now worth $177,000, from $142,750 from the end of 2012.

More homes were sold in 2013 overall than in 2012. Lee County saw a 3% increase in homes sold, up to 12,144 from 11,765. That is a lot of satisfied homeowners, many of whom saw their homes appreciate in value for yet another year.

What’s Driving the Price Increase?

What is responsible for the increase in value we’ve seen over the years in Southwest Florida real estate?

One has to keep in mind how much prices fell beginning in 2005. From that point through 2009, home values plummeted, as did the number of homes that were successfully sold. Without this crash, real estate prices would likely be even higher than they are today because of the desirability of our area as a destination for Floridians and those from outside the state alike.

Low mortgage rates, falling unemployment, and increasing consumer confidence have all contributed to rising home values. Foreclosure rates have also fallen, which helps by slowing the rate at which undervalued distressed properties enter the market.

Regardless of the reason, we are excited to see strength continuing to return to Southwest Florida and Bonita Springs and an ongoing recovery. We all had a strong 2013; let’s all look forward to an even better 2014!

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