Florida’s west coast cities rank among top emerging real estate markets

Influx of work-at-home employees helps power property boom

Naples, Florida (iStock, Freepik, Illustration by Shea Monahan for the Real Deal)
Naples, Florida (iStock, Freepik, Illustration by Shea Monahan for the Real Deal)

Florida’s west coast property market is heating up, boosted by remote work and sunny weather.

Naples ranked No. 1 and North Port was No. 2 in the Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com’s Emerging Housing Markets Index. Three other Florida markets also made the top 20: Cape Coral, Punta Gorda and Sebastian, a city on the state’s east coast.

The index identifies the metropolitan areas for buyers seeking an appreciating housing market and appealing lifestyle amenities. Florida benefitted from a migration of workers who could move far from their jobs in search of cheaper living and a better quality of life.
Others may be drawn to lower taxes and relaxed Covid-19 policies, real estate agents told the Journal.

Economists expect demand to remain strong.

Zillow named Tampa its hottest housing market for 2022, according to the newspaper, and Redfin’s list of the 10 top neighborhoods included eight in Florida.

Naples and its neighboring cities along the Gulf of Mexico are known for white sand beaches, fishing, dolphins and sunny golf courses.

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Naples, which bills itself as “the golf capital of the world,” is also known for its high-end homes, fine restaurants, and shopping. Home sales in 2021 rose 26 percent from a year earlier, while the median home price jumped 20 percent to $445,000.

“Naples was always a luxury area, but it was, I think, a well-kept secret,” sai Denny Bowers, a Compass agent in Naples. “That secret is out, obviously.”

Other top-ranked markets across the U.S. included Kahului, Hawaii, and San Luis Obispo and San Jose, California, according to the Journal’s index.

Other hot spots in the previous quarter fell. Elkhart, Indiana, Rapid City, South Dakota and Topeka, Kansas gave up the three top spots and dropped out of the top 10 as price growth stalled and homes lingered longer on the market.

[WSJ] – Dana Bartholomew

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