One thing has become abundantly clear to Southwest Florida real estate experts after Hurricane Ian’s hit last September: The future ain’t what it used to be.
As founder and senior broker for LSI Cos. Randy Thibaut puts it, they went from being able to forecast what would happen in the future to having all rules go out the window, just like three years ago with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many would think a nearly category 5 storm that flattened large chunks of the region would spell a grim fate for local real estate. Instead, it boomed for coastal and barrier island communities, like Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach. For those inland, interest rates buckled the market, which experts explained happened before Ian.
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Thibaut and other local real estate experts explained their findings to a record-breaking crowd at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center & Amphitheater in downtown Fort Myers Tuesday night. They delivered data-packed presentations on developments, commercial real estate and residential, showcasing where the region’s market has been, where it stands and where it’s headed.
With rising interest rates, industry shifts and the impacts of Ian, Thibaut said we’re headed for a chaotic market. Yet, in spite of all these changes, experts say they’re seeing the market correcting itself since 2020. Here are some insights:
Not the beaches, barrier islands you grew up with
Gone are the days of grabbing a novelty shirt at a beach shop and walking past the colorful cottages along the shores.
After Ian destroyed the beach towns and battered barrier islands, these locations are said to have been given a clean slate and will allow for more upscale