Market trends: After a year of stabilization, the promise of a robust 2024

Posted 1/2/24

From the prolonged global pandemic to the lingering fallout from the costliest...

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Market trends: After a year of stabilization, the promise of a robust 2024


From the prolonged global pandemic to the lingering fallout from the costliest (and among the deadliest) hurricanes to hit Florida, the past few years have been anything but “business as usual” for Southwest Florida real estate.

Prices continue to climb, interest rates have soared and available inventory is sky-high. Look a bit deeper, though, and a silver lining emerges.

With snowbird season kicking into high gear, buyers are returning to the market in droves.

In December, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates steady after 11 increases since March 2022 alone, further indicating that we can expect up to three interest rate cuts in 2024.

And in Naples, where the median home sales price in September was nearly $600,000 (and 63 homes sold for at least $1 million in that month alone), several affordable housing projects are underway to stem the exodus of teachers, police officers, firefighters, construction and service industry workers forced to commute 50 or even 100 miles daily from less costly, outlying communities.

Affordable housing and the Live Local Act
The lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges not only in our region but across the state.

In response, state lawmaker and Gov. Ron DeSantis enacted the Live Local Act, a state law that went into effect over the summer designed to promote development of more affordable housing.

As a result, we’re now starting to see more developers include affordable housing as part of their comprehensive plans.

That includes a housing development planned on an old golf course in Golden Gate owned by Collier County featuring workforce housing for essential workers like teachers and nurses, as well as units set aside for seniors and veterans.

Further north, the Bonita Bay Club plans to create worker housing in its former sales center.

And on Marco Island, the city wants to allow upper levels of commercial strip shopping centers to be used for affordable workforce housing.

Falling interest rates (eventually)
When mortgage rates recently fell below 7 percent for the first time in four months (and the seventh straight week that interest rates have dropped), the enthusiasm among economists and industry experts was palpable.

A word of caution, though: It will likely be the second or even third quarter of this year before borrowers will actually see lower mortgage rates – so buyers waiting for that decline before putting out an offer could be at risk of missing out on their dream home.

The reality is, buyers waiting out that market correction could wind up paying tens of thousands of dollars more than anticipated to match the increased competition spurred by greater participation.

One option: lock in the loan sooner but look to refinance once the expected interest rate adjustments take holder down the line. Consider those higher initial monthly payments the cost of doing business.

Forecast Ahead
This time last year, speculation was rampant that the country was headed for a recession.

Despite those predictions, the U.S. economy actually grew in 2023 – an off-target assumption that Axios described as the “Big Whiff” among forecasters, with low unemployment tempering the impact of the inflation felt in our purses and pocketbooks.

That did not happen. The rumors fell by the wayside. The real story remains: in 2023, we were coming out of a pair of crises that we had not yet seen in our lifetimes.

Stability has returned- and so are the hordes of part-time (and future) Floridians eager to grab their piece of paradise in the Sunshine State. As we head into 2024, expect the declining interest rates to also jumpstart real estate activity outside our tourist havens, with Northerners looking to make the move South having an easier time unloading their cold-weather homes to generate capital for their sun-specked dream home.

There really is so much to be optimistic about. Florida remains the most popular state in the country when it comes to relocation – an estimated 1,000 people a day move here. Check out these eye-popping stats:

• Between 2021 and 2022, more than 22.4 million people moved here.

• Our state has grown in population every year since 1946.

Those migratory patterns obviously increase demand. But in a state and region with plenty of newly christened empty-nesters, and with our generally older population, available inventory should also remain robust.

About the Author
Aprile Osborne, Call It Closed International Realty co-founder, has been a licensed agent in Southwest Florida for almost 20 years. Naples-based Call It Closed International Realty currently operates in 16 states. Visit

business, market, real estate, sales, interest rates