In one economist's eyes, the Naples real estate market is now seen as "slightly undervalued."
In an interview with CNBC on 09/17/2008, Richard Dekaser, a senior vice president and chief economist at National City Corp., singled out Naples in talking about the "first rays of sunshine on a possible end to the housing crisis."
"Three years ago, the poster child for excess valuation in America was Naples, Florida," he said.
Not anymore. Through the second quarter of this year, prices have dropped 33 percent, he said, leading him to judge the market as "slightly undervalued." That means home prices are actually lower than where they should be.
"Now it could become even more undervalued and I suspect it will," he said in the interview. "But I think we have to appreciate the adjustment that has already occurred."
He said prices could hit bottom within six months as foreclosure rates begin to fall.
"I don't want to overstate the case," he said. "The housing bust is not over. But we are in a later stage of stabilization," he said.
Dekaser is the same analyst who labeled Naples the most overpriced market in the U.S. a few years ago.
At the end of the first quarter of 2006, National City judged that with a median home price of $383,000, prices were more than double what they should be in Naples. Prices continue to fall.
In August, the median home price — the price at which half of the homes sell for more and half for less — dropped to $238,000 in the Naples area. That was down from $375,000 a year ago, according to a monthly report by the Naples Area Board of Realtors.
For seven straight months, sales have picked up.
It was nice to see Naples shown in a positive light in the media, especially with so much bad news going on in the banking and financial markets, said Brett Brown, president-elect for the Naples Area Board of Realtors.
He said if you took out the under-$300,000 market, where most of the foreclosures and short sales are happening, the median price would have been up 5 percent in August. Short sales are sales made for less than the bank is owed to avoid foreclosure.
Naples was the only market mentioned in the interview with CNBC.
"It shows we haven't fallen off a cliff," Brown said. "We are here. Properties are selling."
To see the full interview, go to www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=859022956.
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Laimis Parseliunas, REALTOR