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Fort Myers Distressed Properties Driving Down Rents

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By : John Cutts    99 or more times read
Fort Myers distressed properties have been driving down rents in the metro area despite the slowdown in foreclosures in the Fort Myers-Cape Coral metro area.

In the first quarter, the average monthly rent for apartments and homes fell in Lee County, where Fort Myers is located, by more than 7 percent to $784, bucking the nationwide trend of rising rents.

Local real estate professionals said that the high unemployment rate and the long list of distressed homes in the Fort Myers area have been pushing down rents. Over the past couple of year, over 1,000 foreclosures have been filed every month in Lee County, with a total of 1,198 foreclosure filings in March.

In March, the unemployment rate in Lee County was still high at 13.5 percent and was still higher than the statewide jobless rate of 12.3 percent, although it marked a drop from the February jobless rate of 14 percent.

While rents in the Fort Myers area declined in the first quarter, the median monthly rent nationwide rose by 1.2 percent to $943.

In March, the number of Fort Myers distressed properties fell, but the number was still high to be able to put a downward impact on rents in the area. Foreclosure filings in the Fort Myers-Cape Coral fell to 3,961 units, down by 17.5 percent from March last year and down very slightly from February.

The decrease in filings moved the ranking of the metro area in foreclosure rate from second in February to sixth in March. But when the entire first quarter filings were considered, the Fort Myers area ranked third in foreclosure rate. A total of 10,295 foreclosures were posted in the first quarter, equivalent to one filing for every 35 homes in the metro area.

The number of distressed homes in Florida also rose in the first quarter, putting the state third among all states in foreclosure rate. Total foreclosure filings reached 153,540 during the quarter, including 22,050 units already in the repossession lists of banks and 43,418 listed for foreclosure sale. The pace of foreclosure in Florida revved up by 7 percent in the first quarter compared to the previous quarter and rose by almost 29 percent compared to the first quarter of last year.

However, despite the downward pressure of Fort Myers distressed properties on rents, the rental occupancy rate in Lee County in the first quarter rose to 91.7 percent, the sixth best rate in the state of Florida.
John Cutts has been educated in the finer points of the foreclosure market over 5 years.

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