To buy or not to buy? That is the question.
For the past two days I’ve been fielding a deluge of calls and emails from my clients and customers concerning the recent article published by CNNMoney. Let me try to clarify…Staff writer Les Christie reports that nearly 20% of Florida homes are vacant. He mentions clearly in the second sentence of his article that he got his information from the United States Census Bureau. He continues on to purport that Collier County is the worst-hit with a “whopping 32% of homes empty”.
First of all, these statistics, as previously mentioned, were derived from figures given to Mr. Christie by the Census Bureau. I wonder if he is aware that when the census was taken last year, the “snowbirds” who reside up north, but who also have a 2nd (and sometimes even a 3rd or 4th) residence in Naples, had their properties listed as VACANT in Collier County: because they were UP NORTH! I wonder if the two rental properties I own in Collier County, which were BOTH vacant at the time of the census, were also used in his reporting. Probably. That would make 66.66% of the homes I own in Collier County “vacant”, even though they are clearly seasonal rental investment properties. People buy vacation homes in Naples Florida! Many do not live here year round. There are certainly other counties in Florida [there are a total of 67 counties by the way] which have a higher percentage of year round residences. This is a distortion of what is true, and very damaging to the recovery that we are experiencing here in Naples right now.
Secondly, let’s remember why most people buy in Naples Florida. They are looking for a haven to escape the cold. They are looking for a lifestyle that supports the years they planned to spend their retirement in a healthy, beautiful place. They are looking for outdoor activities such as a pristine beach and nearly 100 golf courses…boating, fishing, great restaurants, world class arts and entertainment…They are looking for a wonderful, safe place for their friends, their children and grandchildren to come and visit. They are looking for a sense of community, good hospitals, good schools…a place to raise children where they can play outside 12 months of the year. They are looking for an abundance of houses of worship, a convenient airport, several excellent colleges and universities. They are willing to look at real estate, and determine the value of all of these things in spite of some ill informed reporter trying to make my job more difficult!
I’ll tell you what Mr. Christie, you just stay right where you are until the late 2030’s, which is when you report Celia Chen thinks Naples will “come back”–and I’ll just keep showing homes in amazingly beautiful Naples Florida. There are those who want to own a little piece of paradise regardless of whether we have hit the bottom already, or whether we will hit it next year. I believe that some things are more important…There is an intrinsic value in the quality of life to which you cannot put a price tag.
Thank you for letting me vent.
The Naples Real Estate Blogger