January 2018

Welcome to our Lee County Multi-Family and Single Family Market Snapshot!  Hopefully, you will find the summary provided to be informational and helpful with your rental investments.

Rental / Single Family Home Market Analysis

 A quick Snapshot of the market in Lee County.  This summary provides housing information relating to proposed growth, new development activity, sales trends, population trends, apartment rental analysis, and economic indicators.

Apartment rents have grown over the past five years. Consistent and healthy expansion of newly created payroll positions has kept demand for apartments strong and vacancies low, which gave operators substantial pricing power.


Some top and middle-tiered rental rate units have experienced a slowdown in rate increase as a result of robust completion volumes and momentum in the for sale market. Research indicates that the apartment market will do well but at a somewhat more measured pace in the future. We expect solid rental rate growth of 5.5% to 6.5% over the short term. Occupancy rates are averaging 95%.


Passenger activity for the three local airports totaled 44,271 in September 2017, representing a decrease of (84,745) from September 2016. The decline reflects the anticipation and destruction caused by Hurricane Irma.


The unemployment rate for the five county region again edged downward in October 2017 to 3.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent in September 2017 and from 4.9 percent in October 2016.


According to October 2017 Total Realtor, sales of single family homes in Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties rebounded from the impact of Hurricane Irma in September 2017, increasing by 24 percent. However, median prices in October 2017 were down between 3% and 6% compared to September 2017.


Condominium sales were up slightly from 414 to 420 over the past year. Closed condominium sales were up for many price points, however saw a dip in the range of 200,000 through 599,999. New pending condo sales were up 23% year over year.


Southwest Florida’s real estate market endured unusual numbers in the last quarter of 2017 due to Hurricane Irma. The construction industry is consumed with renovation and preservation of existing product. It will take more time to evaluate the effects of Hurricane Irma on Southwest Florida’s real estate market.

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Benefits of Hiring a Property Management Company

Managing your own rental property is an attractive business these days. Get a tenant, collect rent, and increase income. Managing your own property can be very costly and time consuming, especially if you are an out-of-state owner.  There are many values in letting a local property management company handle your rental property for you (i.e. saves you time, maximizes your income, peace of mind and protects your investment.) Here are 6 main reasons to hire a property management company…

Finding The Right Tenants. Experienced Property Managers see hundreds of applications yearly, so our trained eyes are more likely to notice potential red flags when reviewing an applicant. The tenant screening process which includes local/national criminal background check, credit check, verifying with the registered sex offender registry, residential verification and employment verification, can improve your chances of landing a reliable tenant.

Exposure. A Property Manager will know exactly where to market your property and how to craft compelling advertising materials—a significant advantage when it comes to filling your properties quickly and avoiding long vacancies. The MLS database is a perfect example of the one edge you will have on all other private landlords. The MLS database is a program for Realtors to share and view all properties available in the area with other Realtors.

Knowledge of Landlord/Tenant Laws and Regulations. Property Managers are licensed professionals that are required by law to continue education on current laws, regulations, statutes and discrimination. A Property Manager can help you avoid lawsuits by keeping up-to-date and in compliance with these regulations.

Rent Collections. Collecting rent on time every month is the only way to maintain consistent cash-flow and your tenants need to understand this is not negotiable. By hiring a Property Manager, you place a buffer between yourself and the tenant. This allows the Property Manager to be the bad guy who has to listen to excuses, chase down rent and when necessary, evict the person living in your property.

Full Service Maintenance. Property management companies have relationships with maintenance workers, tradesmen, contractors, suppliers and vendors. These relationships are difficult for an independent Landlord to duplicate. Not only will your Property Manager get you the best work for the best price, they’ll oversee any necessary maintenance projects or capital improvements.

Saving Your Time. By having a Property Manager take care of the day-to-day aspects of running your income property, you’re free to spend your time identifying further investment opportunities or otherwise furthering your career.


Malt Realty has managed properties for investors for over 40 years and servicing owners like you, longer than any rental management company in Fort Myers. Malt Realty strives to get you the maximum rental rates with responsible residents with our complete team of professionals. We are dedicated to maintaining positive, long-term relationships with Owners, Residents and Community Associations.


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by | November 22, 2017 · 4:07 pm

Hurricane Irma 9-10-2017

Hurricane Irma is well past Lee County and the residents of Lee County are cleaning up their properties from the extensive landscape damage that was done by the storm.  It will take several months to get the cleanup completed if not longer.  The government agencies, landscape crews, and tree companies are all working almost 24-7 to get this job done. irma-track-us-worse-cases

Following the storm many of us reflect on events that led up to the storm.

9/4/17 – Monday Labor Day – Weather reports Hurricane Irma is headed to SW Florida and requests residents to start preparing.

9/5/17 – Tuesday – The projected cone indicates the entire state is in the cone.  Weather reports continued track toward SW Florida, Collier and Lee counties on hurricane watch.

9/6/17 – Wednesday – Weather reports now project a westward movement toward SW Florida, several mandatory evacuations for Marco Island and parts of Collier County.  Many businesses close to allow staff to prepare for the storm.

9/7/17 – Thursday – Weather reports Hurricane Irma cone of projected path has been narrowed to SW Florida and news is urging people to leave.  Most businesses and banks are closed.  Residents of both Collier and Lee County are evacuating via I-75.

9/8/17 – Friday – Weather reports Hurricane Irma making a shift toward Collier and Lee Counties with a direct hit predicted close to the Naples area including the potential of a significant storm surge.  More areas in Collier and Lee County have mandatory evacuations.  There is a massive exodus of people leaving the state.  I-75 was bumper to bumper and it is difficult to obtain fuel and water.

9/9/17 – Saturday – Weather reports continue to advise a direct hit on Collier and Lee County and advise residents to relocate if home is in a storm surge area or to go to emergency shelters, if they have not done so it may be too late.    Emergency storm shelters are proving safety to approximately 32,000 residents.

9/10/17 – Sunday – Hurricane Irma makes landfall on Marco Island as a category 4 storm at approximately 3PM.  Massive wind and rain.  The storm lasted approx. 2 hours.  Approx. 6:30 PM – The sun comes out and people leave their homes to assess the damage.  Most people have no power, and many have no running water.  Several areas of Lehigh Acres and Buckingham had over 4-5 feet of water.

9/11/17 – Monday – Most businesses and all banks and schools are closed.  For the most part residents stay in their homes and in their yards cleaning up due to downed power lines and traffic signals are not operational on the streets.

9/12/17 – Tuesday – Some stores start to open, even if only for a few hours so residents can get some supplies (if available).  There is widespread landscape damage to Lee and Collier County.  Fuel for automobiles is a major problem due to lack of supply.

9/13/17 – Wednesday – Some more businesses open, including restaurants if power has been restored. Most offices have no internet or power.  Malt Realty Property managers mobilize to assess damage to investors properties.

9/14/17 – Thursday – Most business are open, if only for part of the day.

What many of you do not know is the residents and tenants experienced:

Fire trucks going up streets announcing for them to evacuate their home immediately.

Packing, moving, camping, dealing with no electricity while the temps outside soar to the mid 90’s.  Many lost income also.  Most of us lost food in the refrigerator.

Malt Realty staff was back in full force walking properties Thursday 9/14/17.   Our office contacted each and every tenant and each and every owner as quickly as we possibly could.  Our office did not have internet or telephones so we made due with our cell phones! Many tenants had evacuated the area so it was difficult reaching them.  Once our office could assess the damages we contacted the owners to advise if any damages.

We are still writing work orders for damaged screens, roof leak repairs, fences down, broken windows.

Malt Realty attempted to keep in contact with owners and tenants prior to and after the storm.

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Searching for an annual rental in Lee County can be stressful. To help with the process, consider using a professional Property Management Company such as Malt Realty. One benefit of using a professional is avoiding falling victim to a rental scam.

Rental scams are not always easy to spot. Scammers know that finding a rental is hard work and that a good deal is hard to pass up. Below is a list of best practices on spotting and avoiding scams:

  • Wire money – The easiest sign of a rental scam is when someone asks you to wire money via Western Union, MoneyGram or Prepaid Visa card.  Don’t send money for any reason.
  • Request money before viewing property – It is not common to pay a lot of money for something sight-unseen. If a landlord expects you to pay a lot before you lease an apartment, there is a reason to be concerned.
  • They say they are out of country – Though some scammers will readily meet tenants in person, many, especially those operating from over-seas, will not. A personal meeting with the landlord will allow you to screen out some con artists. Insisting on a local landlord or Property Management Company will lessen the risk of fraud.
  • The landlord seems too eager to lease the apartment to you. Many landlords want to know your credit score. They may also want further information such as criminal background check and employment verification. If a landlord doesn’t seem interested in any form of tenant screening or appears too eager to negotiate the rent and other lease terms with you, it’s suspicious.
  • You feel unwarranted sales pressure. If a landlord acts too pushy, it can be a red flag.



Preventing the most sophisticated scams can be hard, but the following tips will help minimize your risk.

  • Never dealing in cash – Most criminals will insist on difficult payment forms to reduce trace of payment. If you refuse, they will seek an easier victim.
  • Demanding a written lease – Lease should still be in writing to prevent fraud and to lay out the rights and responsibilities of the parties. Not only should a tenant require a written lease, the tenant should also demand a copy of the lease signed by the landlord.
  • Never renting sight-unseen – So many bad rental situations begin with a tenant signing a lease for an apartment without seeing it. Viewing an apartment helps prevent fraud and also ensures that the tenant is aware of the condition of the unit.
  • Meeting the landlord in person –A personal meeting with the landlord will allow you to screen out some con artists and will also allow you to get an impression of the landlord’s personality. Though many out-of-town landlords are legitimate, insisting on a local landlord or Property Management Company will lessen the risk of fraud and usually leads to better service.
  • Identifying the actual owner – When considering an apartment, take some time to do a Google search. Google the address of the apartment and also the landlord’s name and the name of the management company.
  • Using a Property Management CompanyMany rentals in Fort Myers are managed by licensed real estate agents and it is not uncommon for tenants to have their own agent. Having an agent represent you is a substantial safeguard because there is less risk that a scammer will list a property with an agent and also because if you are scammed you can hold the agent responsible. Keep in mind that some scammers claim to be agents and really sophisticated ones even manage to hijack the agent’s accounts and substitute their contact information. All licensed real estate agents in Florida must be registered with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.


Malt Realty is one of Southwest Florida’s only full service real estate businesses serving both rental property management and home sales. In effort to STOP internet fraud, we highly recommend that you DO NOT send funds to someone who cannot allow you to enter the home for a showing. If you live out of the state and cannot verify a rental, we urge you to perform a Google search on the address. This should reveal the true rental listing agent. You may want to drive by the property to see if there is a sign indicating the true rental listing agent, although many association communities do not allow signage.


Have you been a victim or spotted a rental scam? Share your story and tips in the comments below!






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MAY 2017

Welcome to our Lee County Multi-Family and Single Family Market Snapshot!  Hopefully, you will find the summary provided to be informational and helpful with your rental investments.

Rental / Single Family Home Market Analysis

 A quick Snapshot of the market in Lee County.  This summary provides growth information relating to proposed growth, new development activity, sales trends, population trends, apartment rental analysis, economic indicators, and renewal market outlook.

  • Apartment rents have grown aggressively over the past four years, with operators having sustained annual rent growth of approximately 7% to 11% over much of that time.
  • The most Recent statistics for March 2017 sales indicate this was a good month for Lee County. Closed sales for single family homes jumped 18% last month compared to March 2016. Condominium sales jumped even higher, with a 29% year over year increase. Condos sold at a median price of $193,650 compared to $172,500 last year. In the year ending 1st quarter 2017, a total of 36,600 homes were sold, up 9.7% year over year.
  • Fort Myers/ Naples has experienced the greatest population growth among Florida markets. Lee County’s current population is expected to grow from approximately 700,000 to 1,100,000 by 2040.
  • Southwest Florida International Airport served 1.03 million passengers in April 2017. That’s 14.7% above the April 2016 count and is the best April recorded in the airport’s 34 year history. Florida welcomed the highest number of quarterly visitors in the state’s history. An estimated 31.1 million, in the first quarter of 2017.
  • Moving forward, Fort Myers/Naples remains well positioned for future rent growth. One head wind could emerge from the single family and condo sectors. Hard hit in the downturn, those sectors are becoming more competitive in the rental markets as the for sale housing continues to gain momentum.

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MARCH 2017

Welcome to our Lee County Multi-Family and Single Family Market Snapshot!  Hopefully, you will find the summary provided to be informational and helpful with your rental investments.  Watch for our Snapshot coming soon to our Malt Realty website at www.maltrealty.com .

Rental / Single Family Home Market Analysis

 A quick Snapshot of the market around your property.  This summary provides growth information of proposed new development activity, roadway improvements, population trends, apartment market analysis, economic indicators, and overall market outlook.

  • Annual rent growth averaged roughly 9% over the past three years.  The annual increase for 2016 averaged approximately 4.2%, compared to the national average of 3.8%.  Moving forward, Fort Myers/ Naples remains well positioned for future growth.
  • Median sale prices for single family and multi-family homes were up in 2016.  Single family homes had a median sale price of $227,400 compared to $210,000 in 2016. (8.3% Increase).  Median sales price for condominiums and townhomes were $181,000, up 2.8% from $176,000 in 2015.  In 2016 Lee County closed 5831 recorded sales for condominium and townhome units.  Also, in 2016 Lee County Recorded 13,296 Single Family home sales.
  • Fort Myers/ Naples has demonstrated the greatest population growth among Florida markets with the population growing 12.4% from 2010 to 2015.  This was the third fastest growth rate nationally.  Characteristics of many Florida metros, the 55+ age group continues to drive population growth as many retirees or those close to retirement flock to Florida.  As such, many are foregoing home ownership, opting for more flexibility in renting.
  • A recent survey conducted in January 2017 indicated participants believe the market to be improving in most sectors and areas.  Lee County multi-family market was designated strong.  Rental rates have been designated as improving to strong.
  • The three Southwest Florida airports experiences passenger activity of 914,818 in November 2016, up 3% over November 2015.
  • Florida’s economy is in a good growth mode, more jobs are being created and mortgage interest rates, while rising, remain at historic low levels, which will continue to spark buyer demand in the coming months.


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If you’ve been thinking about moving up or downsizing, now is a great time to do so. Home sales are rising across the nation, and according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average property spends 32 days on the market—the shortest time since the NAR began tracking this data point in 2011. In many geographic markets, homes are selling even faster, especially when they’re well-maintained and priced just right. Before you begin calculating how much your home may be worth to prospective buyers, consider these factors that could affect your resale value.

1. Location

We’re not just talking about the city in which your home is located but the actual geography that surrounds it. Is the backyard adjacent to a busy highway? Does the master bedroom have a beautiful mountain view? Is it situated on a quiet cul-de-sac or in the middle of a noisy mixed-use zone? Even two identical homes in different locations will almost always have different resale values because of details like these.

2. Renovations (or lack thereof)

Maybe you enjoy cooking so much you elected to demo your old kitchen and dining room to create one large restaurant-grade workspace. Or perhaps you’re not into decorating and are still living with the original bathroom fixtures, paint colors and flooring that were there when you purchased your home in the 1970s. Renovations—or the lack thereof—can do a lot to your resale value. Making big modifications that only appeal to one particular taste can be just as detrimental as failing to update anything at all.

3. Reputation

You probably already know that if you live in a high crime area, your resale value will suffer. But are you aware that homes in good neighborhoods that were once considered bad may still be negatively affected by the area’s reputation? The same goes for local schools. If your home is in a district that includes schools with great ratings, your property values will be higher. If schools in the surrounding area have a poor reputation, your resale value will be lower.

4. Bedrooms and Bathrooms

One of the first factors any homebuyer considers when looking at a property is the number of bedrooms and bathrooms included. Even couples without children tend to prefer homes with at least two bedrooms and bathrooms—and large families need even more. For this reason, adding a bathroom is generally a renovation that will improve your resale value. On the other hand, combine two bedrooms into one large one and you may actually reduce the value of your home.

5. Neighboring Houses

You can own the largest, most beautiful, well-maintained property on the block but if the homes surrounding yours are in disrepair, outdated or significantly smaller, your property value will take a hit as a result. Not only do neighboring houses with poor curb appeal tend to drive away buyers, they also have a negative effect on the comps—or comparable sale prices—appraisers consider when calculating the value of your property. Even if a buyer agrees to pay your asking price, his or her mortgage company is not going to extend a loan for more than what the appraiser determines your home is worth.

Source: Ghost Post   Text by Angela Rose , Photo by Ugis Riba/Shutterstock.com

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