Naples Metrostudy 2Q14 Survey: Strong Employment Growth Continues to Fuel Housing Demand

Posted in Naples - Ft. Myers Market | Posted on 08-22-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News

August 2014: Metrostudy has released results from its 2Q14 survey of the Naples/Fort Myers housing market, and for the twelfth consecutive quarter we have seen an increase in the annual starts rate. The quarterly starts rate in Naples/Ft. Myers rose 15% to 1,032, and was up 14% when compared to the second quarter of 2013. The annual starts rate increased only 1.4% to 3,511 over the previous quarter, but is up 21% from the second quarter of 2013.  The annual pace has slowed a bit when compared to previous quarters, so we may be seeing a leveling out of starts in Southwest Florida, as we have in South Florida.  Price increases and lot/labor shortages may be beginning to take their toll on the growth rate of starts.

naples 2q

The annual closing rate was up 25% from a year ago, which extends this upward trend to nine consecutive quarters. Finished, vacant home supply continues to be constrained. Lee’s supply increased slightly from 0.7 months of supply last quarter to a 0.9 months supply. Collier’s rate increased from 1.6 months of supply to 1.9 months of supply. Labor and lot constraints have prevented builders from creating an oversupply of homes.

“Both of these rates are well under the three months of supply that Metrostudy considers the high end of normal,” said David Cobb, Regional Director for Metrostudy’s Naples Market. “With 47 consecutive months of job growth in the state, we are continuing to see tremendous demand for new product.  Almost every home under construction has been sold.”

This finished-vacant months-of-supply metric is the number of finished-vacant homes divided by the number of move-ins over the last four quarters, then multiplied by twelve. Metrostudy has observed over the years that when this number rises above 3.0 and stays there, builders tend to reduce prices or make concessions, so this indicator is closely observed each quarter for emerging trends.

Vacant, developed lot (VDL) inventory remained flat at 11,660 lots in the second quarter. This represents 39 months-of-supply, down from 91 months-of-supply recorded two years ago in the second quarter of 2012. VDL months-of-supply is calculated by dividing the number of developed lots by the current annual starts pace, and then multiplying by twelve.

Below are the top 10 communities in the Naples/Ft. Myers market, ranked by annual starts:

Rank Community

1       Riverstone (Collier)

2       Preserve Corkscrew (Lee)

3       Ave Maria (Collier)

4       Pelican Preserve (Lee)

5       VillageWalk Bonita (Lee)

6       VeronaWalk (Collier)

7       Plantation (Lee)

8       Bonita Isles (Lee)

9       Reflection Isles (Lee)

10     Moody River Estates (Lee)

“GL Homes, Pulte, Lennar, and WCI are the market leaders in Southwest Florida this quarter,” says Cobb. “Riverstone by GL Homes continues to impress as the overall market leader, while Preserve at Corkscrew by Pulte and Lennar is nearing build-out after a very successful run. Ave Maria moves up the list again to third place, and WCI’s active-adult Pelican Preserve remains a top five contender. DiVosta’s VillageWalk and VeronaWalk continue to see sales successes as well.”  Plantation by Pulte, Bonita Isles by Minto, Reflection Isles by Lennar, and Moody River Estates by DR Horton round out the top ten.

Separated by County:

Lee County: Quarterly starts were up 21%, while quarterly closings were down 16% from 1Q14. The annual starts rate is up 13%to 1,808, and annual closings are up 29% from one year ago. Housing Inventory remains well below normal. Nine months of supply (MOS) is considered normal, but Lee’s housing MOS is the lowest in Metrostudy’s eight-county South Florida Region at only 5.6 MOS. The supply of VDL inventory declined 3% quarter- over-quarter to 6,899, a 44 month supply. There were 321 lot deliveries in the quarter. Future lot inventory remains stable at 48,766.

Collier County: Quarterly starts in the second quarter rose 11%, while quarterly closings jumped 28% from the previous quarter. The annual starts rate is up 13%, and annual closings are up 21% from a year ago. The annual starts rate has risen for twenty consecutive quarters, from a low of 399 in early 2009, to 1,703 in the current quarter.

Housing Inventory is slightly above normal at 10.1 MOS. VDL inventory rose 4% quarter-over-quarter to 4,685, a 33-month supply. There were 669 lot deliveries in the quarter, and future lot inventory declined 3%, to 23,058.

In both Lee and Collier counties, future lot supply remains sufficient in the near term, as there are over 11,000 lots under development in the two counties.

For now, it’s steady as she goes in Southwest Florida.  Mortgage rates remain low, inventory is below equilibrium, job growth is positive, and the cities of Fort Myers and Naples continue to be a desirable place to live.

For information contact: David Cobb @ 813-443-6504
Email dcobb@metrostudy.com

About Metrostudy

Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood company, is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries nationwide.  Established in 1975 in Houston, Metrostudy provides research, data, analytics and consulting services that help builders, developers, lenders, suppliers, retailers, utilities and others make investment and business decisions every day.  www.metrostudy.com

About Hanley Wood

Hanley Wood is the premier information, media, event, and strategic marketing services company serving the residential, commercial design and construction industries. Utilizing the largest editorial- and analytics-driven construction market database, the company produces powerful market data and insights; award-winning publications, newsletters and websites; marquee trade shows and executive events; and strategic marketing solutions. To learn more, visit hanleywood.com.

 

Housing starts up strong, with some stand-out markets

Posted in Atlanta Condo Market, Charlotte Market, Inland Empire Market, Naples - Ft. Myers Market, Nashville Market, National Housing Market, Reno Market, Rio Grande Valley Market, Sarasota - Bradenton Market, Southern California Market, St. George - Mesquite Market | Posted on 08-19-2014 | Written by Brad Hunter

See Top 10 Markets for New Residential  Construction Here 

brad hHousing starts numbers out today surprised many observers with its strength (+15.7%), but we find it to have been in line with our actual counts, released earlier this month. As we predicted, last month’s Census estimate was revised upward, and now the numbers are back in line with the trends revealed by the Metrostudy roll-ups.

The last release of housing starts data from the Census Bureau caused undue alarm about a collapse of activity in the South.  The Census release had shown a 29.6% decline for total starts in the South, but as we pointed out at the time, this exaggerated the weakness in the south. As a matter of fact Metrostudy’s research shows that several markets in the south are up, both based on prior quarter results, and year ago. Raleigh was down 5% versus a year ago, but Charlotte, Atlanta, Texas, and South Florida showed increases.

Metrostudy’s data show that some of the most “beaten-down” markets are now doing better.  In Las Vegas, for example, housing starts were up 16% from 1st quarter 2014 to 2nd quarter 2014, and Phoenix showed a 12.3% increase quarter-on-quarter (though it is still down sharply year-on-year). Housing starts in Chicago were up 87% quarter-on-quarter, and up 30% year-on-year.  Naples Florida showed double-digit gains, both quarterly and annually.

Some significant trends were evident in Metrostudy’s data in California. Housing starts in the Riverside area rose 48.5% quarter on quarter, and are up 14% year-on-year.

We are seeing an increase in lot development in Riverside as lot shortages around the I-15 Corridor have intensified. The Inland Empire is developing its own economy, with 3% job growth, meaning that is it is no longer just a bedroom community for L.A.

Housing starts in Northern California rose 92% in the second quarter compared with the previous quarter, and are up 19% year-on-year. Starts there are at a record high since the boom. Contra Costa and Alameda County had particularly strong increases.

Also see, Brad Hunter discuss the promising increases in the Residential Remodeling Index and New Residential Construction this month on Bloomberg TV.

 

Lots of Catch-Up

Posted in Atlanta Market, Austin Market, Central Florida Market, Dallas - Ft. Worth Market, Denver - Colorado Springs Market, Houston Market, Inland Empire Market, Jacksonville Market, Las Vegas Market, Maryland Market, Naples - Ft. Myers Market, National Housing Market, Northern Virginia Market, Phoenix - Tucson Market, Raleigh - Durham Market, Sarasota - Bradenton Market, South Florida Market, Southern California Market, St. George - Mesquite Market, Tampa Market | Posted on 08-04-2014 | Written by Brad Hunter

brad hWe have been talking for years about the lot shortages that builders are facing.  Now, it’s time to talk about how many lots are being developed.  Builders and developers are now playing “catch-up,” with builders buying land and lots and developers/investors paving roads and putting in infrastructure to serve the builders’ needs at a frenetic pace.

The pace of lot delivery (completion, ready for the builder) has gone up 140% in the past two years, much faster than the pace of housing production has risen (+84%).  Despite this increased pace, lot development STILL lags the pace of home production nationwide.

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In some markets, the lot production machine is in full gear, and has caught up with demand.  This is a good sign for builders, and a vital turning point for home production in 2015 and beyond.

The TOP TEN states for lot production in 2Q14 are:

State       2nd Q.   Starts        2nd Q. Lot       Deliveries
Texas 19,714 18,931
Florida 12,416 10,974
California 10,050 10,219
North Carolina 4,866 3,168
Georgia 4,489 1,270
Colorado 3,985 3,276
Arizona 3,519 4,596
Maryland 2,436 2,122
Utah 2,328 2,498
Virginia 2,198 1,850

Note that lot production has caught up with new home production in California, Arizona, and Utah.   Florida development is woefully far behind demand for lots, hence the skyrocketing cost of finished lots there.

Metrostudy defines “future lots” as those that are in the pipeline (some are pre-entitlement), and Florida has the deepest pipeline.   Below are the top 10 states ranked by known future lots.

State Future Inventory
Florida 1,597,055
California 1,378,299
Arizona 1,213,476
Texas 651,413
Colorado 406,613
Georgia 316,956
Illinois 281,054
Nevada 227,121
Maryland 194,829
Virginia 183,613

 

Is Activity in the South…Going South?

Posted in Atlanta Market, Central Florida Market, Charlotte Market, Dallas - Ft. Worth Market, Houston Market, Jacksonville Market, Naples - Ft. Myers Market, National Housing Market, Northern Virginia Market, Raleigh - Durham Market, Rio Grande Valley Market, San Antonio Market, Sarasota - Bradenton Market, Suburban Maryland Market, Tampa Market, The Triad Market | Posted on 08-04-2014 | Written by Brad Hunter

The brad hgovernment release on housing starts for June showed a sharp decline, concentrated in what the Census Bureau defines as “The South.”  Single-family starts were down in June by 9.0% from the previous month, and down 4.3% from twelve months earlier.  Within that number, almost all the decline was in the South, down 20.1% versus the previous month and down 14.5% versus a year ago.

Rumors of the South’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

Read Full Article and See Quarterly SFD Starts

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter Casts a Spell on Florida’s Economy

Posted in Central Florida Market, In The News, Jacksonville Market, Naples - Ft. Myers Market, Sarasota - Bradenton Market, South Florida Market, Tampa Market | Posted on 06-20-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News

anthony cJune 5 (Bloomberg) –Florida’s employment picture has improved faster than any other state since the financial crisis — and some Floridians says that’s because Harry Potter has been working his wizardry in their state.

Bloomberg’s Yang Yang reports from Orlando.

See full interview here

Metrostudy Regional Director – Anthony Crocco

Building the Case for Active Adult on the Treasure Coast

Posted in Central Florida Market, Naples - Ft. Myers Market, National Housing Market, South Florida Market | Posted on 05-08-2014 | Written by David Cobb

There’s always a discussion when an active adult oriented community is planned as to whether it should be age restricted (55+ only) or age targeted. One argument holds that an age restricted community is still preferred by older buyers, who simply don’t want children permanently in their neighborhood. This will attract enough buyers to meet the absorptions expected by the builder, so the argument goes. The other argument is that with careful planning of the community and the right product, you’ll get buyers of all ages, including the active adult purchaser. Both are probably winning strategies as there are many success stories of each type, but there’s no question that the age-restricted active adult community is still popular. Read the rest of this entry »

Naples – Ft. Myers Housing Market Metrostudy 1Q14 Survey Results: Solid Growth in 1Q14; Prices Trending Up – Lots Growing Scarce

Posted in Naples - Ft. Myers Market | Posted on 05-07-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News

May 7, 2014: Metrostudy’s 1Q14 survey of the Naples/Fort Myers housing market showed solid growth, with starts up 11% quarter- over-quarter to 818, and up a solid 21% over the first quarter of 2013. The annual starts rate increased 4% from last quarter, and is up 27% from the first quarter of 2013. The annual starts rate has increased for eleven consecutive quarters in Southwest Florida.

“Finished, vacant home supply continues to be virtually non-existent,” said David Cobb, Metrostudy’s Regional Director in the Naples Market. “Lee County has only a 0.7 month’s supply, while Collier remains below equilibrium as well at 1.7 months of supply. As in the previous quarter, this is a reflection that almost every home under construction has been sold.”

As with the rest of Florida, job growth continues its positive trend in Southwest Florida. The unemployment rates in Lee and Collier are both below the state and national average, at 6.0% and 5.5% respectively.

GL Homes, Pulte, and Lennar remain the leading builders in Southwest Florida. Riverstone, Pelican Preserve, and VillageWalk Bonita are the top three communities in the region, while Ave Maria jumps from 8th to 4th on the list. Verona Walk and Moody River Estates also make Metrostudy’s Top 10 list this quarter.

Metrostudy’s Naples/Ft. Myers market data cover all of the new housing activity in Lee and Collier Counties, excluding scattered lot subdivisions such as Lehigh Acres. Included in these data are single family detached homes, townhomes, and duplexes.

Separated by County:

Lee County: Starts and completion activity fell from the previous quarter. Annual starts are up 20% and annual move-ins are up 39% year over year, however. “Note that Lee County’s price distribution continued to trend towards a higher price point,” said Cobb. “Gains are noted in all price ranges above $200,000, with notable increases in the over $400,000 price point. The price of land, labor and material costs are all contributing to this upward trend in prices.”

Lot deliveries improved to 381 in the first quarter, up 29% from last year. There are 6,902 vacant developed lots, down 5% from a year ago. In addition to the developed lots, there are plans for 48,012 future lots. Many of these lots lie in the northern and eastern sections of the county, where development has been slow to recover.

Collier County: Starts in the first quarter jumped 36% from the previous quarter. The annual starts rate is also 36% higher than last year. The annual starts rate has risen for nineteen consecutive quarters, from a low of 399 in early 2009, to 1,624 in the current quarter. Completions rose 27% QoQ, and are up 45% from 1Q13.

“Builders report that the labor market remains tight, which in some cases is limiting the supply of new homes,” said Cobb. “The supply of vacant, developed lots declined 9% year over year to 4,496. The supply of vacant developed lots in “A” locations is extremely limited.”

For information contact: david cobb @ 239.220.7023
email dcobb@metrostudy.com

About Metrostudy

Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood company, is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries nationwide. Established in 1975 in Houston, Metrostudy provides research, data, analytics and consulting services that help builders, developers, lenders, suppliers, retailers, utilities and others make investment and business decisions every day. www.metrostudy.com

About Hanley Wood

Hanley Wood is the premier information, media, event, and strategic marketing services company serving the residential, commercial design and construction industries. Utilizing the largest editorial- and analytics-driven construction market database, the company produces powerful market data and insights; award-winning publications, newsletters and websites; marquee trade shows and executive events; and strategic marketing solutions. To learn more, visit hanleywood.com.

Naples/Ft. Myers Starts Drop, Inventory Remains Tight

Posted in Naples - Ft. Myers Market | Posted on 02-05-2014 | Written by Metrostudy News

(Naples, FL –February 5, 2014) Housing starts took a breather in the fourth quarter of 2013, although the start rate remained higher than one year ago. New home inventory dropped further to only 1.1 month’s supply, suggesting that very few finished new homes remain for sale.  Moreover, finished, developed lot inventory continued to decline, reaching its lowest level in years. Positive local job growth and a recovering national economy should permit the new home market to post additional gains in 2014.  This is according to a recent report by Metrostudy, a national housing data and consulting firm that maintains the most extensive primary database on residential construction in the US housing market.

Housing starts in Naples/Ft. Myers fell 20% quarter-over-quarter, mirroring the results found in the South Florida east coast market. In the fourth quarter, 712 homes were started, down from 894 in the third quarter. However, starts were 12% higher than during the fourth quarter of 2012. “The pause in sales activity in the latter half of 2013 can be attributed in part to the spike in interest rates, strong price escalation, and a drop in consumer confidence caused by the government shutdown in October,” said David Cobb, Metrostudy’s Regional director in the Naples Market

“A clear sign that the market is still healthy is found in the finished, vacant home data. Both Lee and Collier Counties have 1.1 months-of-supply of finished, vacant homes. This is a reflection that almost every home under construction has been sold,” said Cobb.

Vacant, developed lot inventory declined further to 11,227 lots in 4Q13. This is a drop to 42 months of supply, well off the peak of 164 months recorded in early 2009. “Although slightly above a normal level, this metric does not truly represent the finished lot situation in Southwest Florida, as many of these lots lie outside the core in fringe areas. All of the “A” lots in this market are under development, and they are being conveyed to end users at a rapid pace,” said Cobb.

Separated by County:

Lee County: Housing starts in Lee County subdivisions fell in 4Q13 by 10%, but starts are up 33% year-over-year.

“One trend worth noting is the annual starts by price range.  The supply of homes under $200,000 has dwindled, while big increases are noted in the $250,000 to $400,000 price range. Builders are finding it extremely difficult to deliver fee simple homes at affordable prices, due to the increases in land values and construction costs,” said Cobb.

One outcome of this will likely be a resurgence in the condo market, which has been stagnant for almost seven years.

Lot deliveries dropped to 102 in the fourth quarter, the fewest since 2Q 2012. There were 6,794 vacant developed lots, which is the lowest supply since 2006. At some point, the shift of activity must change from south Lee to the north, as the southern half of the county approaches build out.

In addition to the developed lots, there are plans for 48,519 future lots. Metrostudy will monitor the development and planning status of these lots as they are brought to market.

Collier County: Starts dropped 30% in the fourth quarter, but this was due in part to the huge starts rate posted in the third quarter. Third quarter starts were at the highest level since 2006. The annual starts rate is up 37% from a year ago.

“Builders have noted that the labor market remains tight, and this is reflected in the number of homes under construction, which has risen to 713. Cycle time in some communities has approached one year,” said Cobb.

The supply of vacant, developed lots is at 4,357, a drop of 10% y-o-y, and a 35.3 month’s supply. “A” locations are spoken for.

Retirement buyers are critical to this market, and they are sensitive to the changes in consumer confidence, so that indicator, which improved slightly in December, will bear monitoring.

About Metrostudy

Metrostudy is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries nationwide. Metrostudy provides research, data, analytics and consulting services to help builders, developers, lenders, suppliers, retailers, utilities and others make investment and business decisions every day. For more information, visit www.metrostudy.com

About Hanley Wood

Hanley Wood, LLC is the premier information, media, event, and strategic marketing services company serving the residential, commercial design and construction industries. Utilizing the largest editorial- and analytics-driven construction market database, the company produces powerful market data and insights; award-winning publications, newsletters and websites; marquee trade shows and executive events; and strategic marketing solutions. To learn more, visit hanleywood.com.

Naples-Ft. Myers Housing Report Shows Renewed Strength

Posted in Naples - Ft. Myers Market | Posted on 07-22-2013 | Written by Metrostudy News

(Naples, FL – July 22, 2013) Once considered “ground zero” for the housing bust, Ft. Myers and Naples are roaring back to life. This is according to a recent report by Metrostudy, a national housing data and consulting firm that maintains the most extensive primary database on residential construction in the US housing market.

Housing starts during the second quarter of 2013 were 35.5% higher than during the second quarter of 2012. During the second quarter of 2013, builders started 897 homes, compared with 662 started during 2Q 2012. Compared to 1Q13, starts were up 34.1%. We expect starts to continue to increase steadily during the quarters to come. Annual move-ins into new homes rose again quarter-over-quarter, to 2,525. There were 732 move-ins during 2Q 2013, up 26.2% versus 1Q 2013, and slightly higher than the strong 4Q 2012 move-ins pace of 717.

“Home buyers are showing a new sense of urgency, wanting to buy while home prices are still attractive, and wanting to beat further increases in mortgage rates,” said Brad Hunter, Metrostudy’s chief economist.

Supplies are tight once again, Metrostudy’s research shows.  The number of finished-vacant newly constructed housing units fell by 12 to 267, and the months-of-supply of finished, vacant new home inventory fell from 1.5 to 1.3 at the end of the second quarter. The finished vacant months-of-supply number is calculated by taking the current number of finished-vacant units, dividing by the current annual move-ins pace, and multiplying by twelve to yield months. A level of 1.3 months-of-supply is at the lower end of the normal range, if not below normal.

Separated by County:

Lee County: In Lee County, annual starts of single-family homes rose 40.7% from 2Q 2012 to 2Q 2013. In the second quarter alone, annual starts rose 9.6%. The big jump was in quarterly starts, with 505 starts in 2Q 2013. This is versus 353 starts during 1Q 2013, which would have been the highest level in six years, except for the 371 starts in 2Q 2012.

Annual move-ins rose 40% year-over-year, to 1,390. There were 396 move-ins during the second quarter, almost as high at the 427 move-ins during 4Q 2012. Aside from 4Q 2012, the 2Q 2013 pace was the highest in five years.

Lee County had 154 finished vacant single-family homes as of the end of the second quarter, down 12.5% from a year ago. This works out to only 1.3 months-of-supply, which is down from 1.6 m-o-s at the end of the first quarter, (was also 1.3 at the end of 4Q 2012) and down from 2.1 m-o-s at the end of 2Q 2012.

At the end of the second quarter, Lee County had 7,295 single-family VDL (vacant developed lots), which works out to a 57-month supply at the current annual starts pace.

Lee County constitutes the entirety of the Ft. Myers market. Active subdivisions in Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres are included in this research, but scattered lot activity is not.

Collier County: 392 single-family homes were started during the second quarter of 2013, up from 316 during the first quarter, and up from 291 during 2Q 2012. The current annual starts figure is 1,297, up 42.8% from a year ago.

Annual move-ins reached 1,135 during the year ended June 30th, a 32% increase over a year ago, and the highest annual absorption pace since the end of 2008. There were 336 move-ins during the second quarter.

Finished vacant housing supply fell from 120 to 113 units during the second quarter, and the months of- supply reading is now at a very low 1.2, down from an already-low 1.4 months at the end of the first quarter.

There were 560 single-family units under construction as of the end of the second quarter, versus 332 units a year ago.

At the end of the second quarter, Collier County had 4,678 single-family VDL, down from 4,969 VDL at the end of the first quarter, and down from 5,287 VDL a year ago. As the starts pace has climbed, the months-of-supply of VDL has fallen to 43.3-months as of the end of the second quarter. This is the lowest level in six years.

For information contact:
brad hunter @ 561.573.8351
email bhunter@metrostudy.com

About Metrostudy

Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood company, is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries nationwide.  Established in 1975 in Houston, Metrostudy provides research, data, analytics and consulting services that help builders, developers, lenders, suppliers, retailers, utilities and others make investment and business decisions every day.  www.metrostudy.com

About Hanley Wood

Hanley Wood, LLC is the premier media, event, information and strategic marketing services company serving the residential, commercial design and construction industries. Through its operating platforms, the company produces award-winning digital and print publications, newsletters, websites, marquee trade shows and events, Market Intelligence data and strategic marketing solutions. The company also is North America’s leading publisher of home plans.

Rising Demand and Tight Supplies Push Home Prices Higher

Posted in Naples - Ft. Myers Market | Posted on 05-03-2013 | Written by Metrostudy News

(Naples, FL – May 3, 2013) The construction pace of new homes is up close to 50% in both Lee and Collier, just in the past year. This is according to a recent report by Metrostudy, a national housing data and consulting firm that maintains the most extensive primary database on residential construction in the US housing market.

Comparing the first quarter of 2013 with the first quarter of 2012, housing starts rose by 47.5%. Between January and March, builders commenced construction on 661 homes, compared with 429 four quarters ago. Comparing with the prior quarter, starts were up 5.1%. “We expect housing starts to continue to increase steadily in the months to come, based upon the evident surge in demand, and also based upon the plans for new development that we are tracking,” said Brad Hunter, Metrostudy’s Chief Economist.

“Consumers are buying homes faster than builders can build them right now,” said Hunter.  “The pace at which new homes are being moved into is the highest since 2008!” The number of finished-vacant units rose by 20 to 283, but the months of supply of finished, vacant new home inventory remained at 1.5 as of the end of 1Q13. The finished vacant MOS number is calculated by taking the current number of finished-vacant units, dividing by the current annual move-ins pace, and multiplying by twelve to yield months. The 1.5 number is at the lower end of the normal range.

Separated by County:

Lee County: In Lee County, annual starts of single-family homes rose 47.9%, comparing the first quarter of this year to the first quarter of last year. In the first three months alone, starts rose a slight 3.2% from the prior quarter.

Demand is strong and rising.  The number of people moving into newly-built homes on an annual basis rose 23.6% year-over-year, to 1,221.

Inventories of new homes have been drawn down to extremely low levels.  Lee County had 160 finished vacant single-family homes as of the end of March, about the same as a year ago. This works out to 1.6 months of supply.  “This very tight supply, along with intensifying demand for home sites, is causing builders to push home prices higher,” said Hunter.

At the end of the first quarter, Lee County had 7,503 single-family vacant developed lots.  “We are watching the environmentally tricky ‘DRGR’ area of Lee County as additional plans for land development move forward,” said Hunter.

Collier County: Collier County builders initiated construction on 305 homes in the first three months of the year, which is up 53.3% from a year earlier. The current annual starts figure is 1,187, up 47.1% from a year ago.

Annual absorption rose by 19.8% year-over-year with 994 move-ins into newly-completed homes over the last four quarters.

There were 273 move-ins during the quarter. Finished, vacant housing supply fell from 132 to 123 during the first quarter, and the supply reading is now at 1.5 months of supply, down from 1.7 months in the prior quarter.  “New home inventories are very low right now, and builders are struggling to keep up with demand, at least in the popular areas,” said Hunter.There were 486 single-family units under construction as of the end of 1Q13, vs. 267 units a year ago. At the end of 1Q13, Collier County had 4,998 single-family VDL, up 123 lots from the end of the fourth quarter, and down from 5,484 VDL a year ago.

“As we move through 2013, we anticipate continued increases in housing starts, and price escalations in all of the strong, popular housing developments in both counties. Rather than finding enough buyers, the focus for builders will be the task of securing enough home sites. Lot prices are up by 50% or so in the last twelve months.  Diminishing supply will cause lot and home prices to ratchet higher this year,” said Hunter.

For information contact:
Brad Hunter @ 561.573.8351
email bhunter@metrostudy.com

About Metrostudy

Metrostudy, a Hanley Wood company, is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries nationwide.  Established in 1975 in Houston, Metrostudy provides research, data, analytics and consulting services that help builders, developers, lenders, suppliers, retailers, utilities and others make investment and business decisions every day.  www.metrostudy.com.

About Hanley Wood

Hanley Wood, LLC is the premier media, event, information and strategic marketing services company serving the residential, commercial design and construction industries. Through its operating platforms, the company produces award-winning digital and print publications, Newsletters, websites, marquee trade shows and events, Market Intelligence data and strategic marketing solutions. The company also is North America’s leading publisher of home plans.