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Affordable Housing In Booming Florida – Quite The Challenge

Posted on Sunday, April 12, 2015


(a Naples resident out for a ride in the booming local real estate market)

As we locals know most of the land west of i-75 is taken.  To the east lies two main options for housing an additional 400,000 people – a planned doubling of the population in the next twenty-five years.  In my view the city and county have done an outstanding view of forecasting, planning and executing major infrastructure works in our town.  A real challenge remains in front of us – affordable housing.

I know, I know you may have mixed views on affordable housing.  If you are from “up north” originally you may have views of big government housing projects – most of the unfavorable.  But what do we do here and why do we do we need to do anything?

First off you may ask yourself why you care about this at all.  I will start with you purse strings and your lifestyle.  All those club and restaurant wait staff, and landscaping people and lower wage construction folks and all those people working the fields to “grow local” need to live somewhere.  Making wages of $20,000 to $45,000 or so and raising a family is tough here.  Apartment rents are running $700 a month plus and they may only get you one or two bedrooms for your whole family.  And it may not be safe or in good shape.  And you may be sending some money back home.  And you need transportation to get to work.  And maybe english is not your first language. And maybe our culture is unfamiliar to you. Tough, tough challenges.

We need to continue to stay after affordable housing or we risk a shortage of great workers to make our wonderful little paradise here run smoothly.

Secondly I would appeal to your heart strings.  Decent affordable housing is not a right, but it seems like the right thing to provide all these good folks.  But how do we do it? County efforts – although well intended – see some results but not great in my view. Habitat for Humanity in Collier County has built well over a thousand homes and is on its way to two thousand.  With hundreds of volunteers Habitat Collier has grown to the largest such franchise in Collier County. Perhaps this is an answer we can have faith in. it works, it is growing and volunteering is a lot of fun – and rewarding.  Work along side a family building a home and you will be changed forever.

And what of the higher income folks retiring here or just looking for that second home they always dreamed about?  This week we are working with buyers looking to downsize and houses are moving quickly. One home we looked at as a possibility went under contract that same day. We targeted three homes yesterday and one went under contract before we could get to it. Well priced homes in good condition are going quickly in the Naples boom market.

Beyond looking for a dream home with all the looks and features you crave there are forces which shape your ability to afford a home in these markets – and location is still the driving force.

Real estate trends they “are a changing” here in Naples. Homes near the beach still fetch higher prices and challenge affordability but also jobs, new construction, hot areas and schools are driving prices as well.

4650 Yacht Harbor Drive Lanai

(well priced properties like this condo are going quickly)

Home affordability is a relative term. We see the term used a lot and area rankings are frequently a comparison of mean income and home prices. Good so far. Too often I think we feel affordability is a challenge for someone else but affordability is a challenge for all buyers.

So what? What has this got to do with me and my real estate decision? Well the old maxim location-location-location is still driving home prices but in new ways you might not consider. The most desirable locations still drive demand which shrinks supply and push prices up. But new factors like jobs and some old factors like the beach and schools work together to shape the Naples, Florida market.
So which locations are driving prices? Let’s take a look at affordability and review some of the factors driving home supply and demand – here is the short list:

Jobs – nationally the big driver

The Beach – traditionally Naples big driver

Hot Points – beyond beach-convenient areas other locations may catch momentum and Naples is no exception

Schools – Still a question on buyers minds


(local markets are great for jobs)

Let’s look at jobs – the big driver nationally. The AP wire services provide a great article showing how great job markets seal their own fate as high home prices may curtail growth. Read the complete article at The article states “around the country, areas with the strongest job markets increasingly have some of the costliest homes. And areas with the most affordable homes lack a solid base of middle class jobs that attract workers.”

Don’t think jobs drive the Naples market because we are known as a “retirement community”? Think again. Ask all the folks working in the Gateway if they are willing to live further south deep in the Naples market or ask the new folks at Hertz if they would like to live further south. Not so much probably. Jobs, even in Naples, are driving real estate prices. As we add job-based residents to our population of seasonal residents – a good thing I think – get ready for more job driven home values.


(the all-powerful beach – 80 degrees on a winter’s day)

Then there is the all-powerful beach. Here in Naples the beach still trumps many other affordability factors. Just look at home prices in Old Naples and the Port Royal Peninsula and you get the idea. It gets more interesting. As you move yourself north and north-east from Old Naples you will see prices fall. Folks want the beach, they want Old Naples and some will pay $1,000 per square foot to own it. Those who wish to pay less start looking further away. Makes sense. That beach is driving a lot of value and limiting affordability for many.
Real Estate is catching fire in the north. Beyond the beach-focused crowd there are certain other hot areas where prices and/or supply and demand are different and better than other places. Mercato is now frequently mentioned as an anchor to the north. Single family homes are selling here before they are built. Realtors will say “and you are only xx minutes from Mercato” as a sort of standard in their pitch in surrounding areas.

There are more hot spots still. Pelican Bay with its beach access and near-Old Naples location provides a nice market. Pelican Bay properties sold well all through the summer and into the Fall with some of the tightest supplies in town.

1520 Curlew - the roof is on
(new construction like this on-water key west home accounts for 50% of all new home sales)

Another hot trend is almost any new construction site. New construction is capturing an estimated 50% of all new buyers here. Individual spec homes and builder homes with higher ceilings, new floor plans, new finishes at great price points challenging answers to resales right now. Our on-water homes in Royal Harbor and new construction in Tallis Park, Treviso Bay, and The Isles of Colliers Preserve are a few hot new construction sites.

With the average Naples homeowner age decreasing and more full-time families moving here schools play a role in home affordability. Buyers often ask us about the best schools in the area. As realtors we cannot steer folks to and from areas or comment on specific schools so we direct our buyers to a public website which provides school rankings. Please see Buyers care about these rankings.

So real estate trends they “are a changing.” The beach still challenges affordability but jobs, new construction, hot area and schools are driving prices in Naples as well.

The Naples Best Addresses Co-Founders 1:2015

(The Naples Best Addresses Team)

Need help figuring it all out? Get with our team at and we will help you sort it out. Even though so many people have moved here in recent years there is still plenty of room left for you!

I hope you have an opportunity to visit or live in Naples or Marco Island. If you would like to know more about living here just give us a call at 239.595.3921.

Please also consider reading our book “Understanding Naples Real Estate” to get you started on a real estate search or just give us a call about things to do here.

We look forward to meeting and talking with you soon,

Mark Goebel PA, Nan Goebel PA and David Goebel, PA
Co-Founders of the Naples Best Addresses Team

Coldwell Banker
Mark Goebel, PA and Nan Goebel, PA
REALTOR Coldwell Banker 5th Avenue South
Mobile: 239.595.3921 239.595.3920
Facebook: NaplesBestAddresses

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No legal, investment, or tax advice is being given in this Blog. Consult with legal, financial and tax professionals before acting on any real estate transaction. Actual real estate price and sales results are subject to market forces and are not completely predictable. The writings of this Blog are intended for the sole use of our clients.
We are pleased to announce a portion of our real estate earnings go to support the The Naples Botanical Garden, Habitat for Humanity Collier Count and The Naples Winter Wine Festival.
Some of the data related to Naples homes for sale and Naples real estate for sale on the website comes in part from the Broker reciprocity program of M.L.S. of Naples, Inc. The properties displayed here may not be all the properties available through the MLS reciprocity Program. This information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. Buyers and sellers are responsible for verifying all information about their purchase prior to closing.
Mark Goebel, PA is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker on 5th avenue in Naples, Florida with 35+ years of visiting and living in Naples. After 25 years at Accenture, Mark retired as a managing director and spends his time helping non profits and building a Naples real estate team with his wife Nan and son David. Talk to Mark, Nan and Dave about life in Naples and why they chose this place to live full-time over all others and enjoy Naples real estate.
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