Wow! It's been quite a year for vacant lots on Marco Island. The market, in general, has been strong all summer long. Median prices are up for homes, condos, and lots but the stand-out statistic is the volume of lots sold. So far this year, we've sold 196 lots. Last year by this time, we had sold 107. That's an 83% increase! It's incredible.
To what can we attribute this incredible demand? Well, construction died in Florida a few years ago. If you live in Florida, you're probably aware of a couple of neighborhoods that are still ghost towns to this day. New home construction came to such an abrupt halt in 2007 that some homes were even left half-built. Builders were going bankrupt under heavy debt loads that could no longer be supported by the brisk sales that they were accustomed to. New construction became stigmatized and, as the market declined, buyers couldn't justify the premium for new construction when there were so many foreclosures available.
Now, this has all changed. Foreclosures have all but disappeared on Marco Island. We have inched our way off of the bottom. Now, new construction is looking much more attractive than it did in the last few years. If you drive around the island, you'll see more homes under construction than you have in years.
What has all of this demand done to prices? It's gotten a little boost. The median selling price is up less than 8%. Of course, this has reduced our inventory as well. New lot listings are down this year so, the selection isn't quite as broad as it was a year ago.
Is it too late to take advantage? Not by a long shot. We've only begun to float off the bottom slightly. Prices are still hovering around 2003 prices which means the upside potential is still incredible on Marco Island. In fact, some are buying lots to hold as investments. With the uncertainty the stock market holds, the fiscal cliff, etc., Marco Island real estate looks like a no-brainer gonig forward.