Commercial sales on the rise in Southwest Florida, despite decline elsewhere

Posted at 6:32 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 18:32:18-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — More good news on the Southwest Florida real estate front. While commercial property sales are taking a hit in other parts of the country - our market is holding strong.

Despite projections of a potential slow down for commercial sales published by Forbes, commercial broker Tiffany Luongo doesn’t see that happening in Fort Myers.

“What has mitigated our loss in what would be retail, and especially office, is the fact that so many people are moving here,” she said.

Forbes also predicted a rise in vacancy rates, which appears to be consistent with a Fort Myers report Luongo published. But, she says more commercial spaces were built anticipating the high demand for the spaces now - hence the high vacancy rate.

Some business owners on the other hand, are looking to downsize their office spaces as employees work from home. Luongo says more business owners are looking to buy warehouses and industrial style spaces because of the pandemic.

“You’ve got so many online sales. You’ve got mom-and-pop retailers that are renting out warehouses for distribution,” said Luongo. “So, now you have almost a retail element competing with those truly industrial users.”

Also on the rise, refinance loans, which realtor Kari Wilbanks says can benefit you in the long-run. She just refinanced her own home.

“My payment was like $800 a month, but now it’s like $600 a month. I still have that extra $200. What I’m doing is I’m taking that extra. $200 a month, and I’m sending it straight to the principal,” she said.

Wilbanks added you want to be careful with a refinance loan, too. It sounds like a good idea if you’re going for the lower interest rates now, but you could end up in the hole if you don’t factor in the upfront fees or starting all the way at the beginning of another 30-year loan.