Florida home prices fall over surging insurance costs

Home prices along Florida’s southwest coast have plummeted as excess inventory soars due to the ongoing insurance crisis that has gripped the Sunshine State.

Realtors said that the soaring cost of home insurance has scared off would-be snowbirds from buying properties in the popular corridor between Sarasota and Naples.

Potential buyers have been spooked by insurance premiums which have climbed precipitously since Hurricane Ian in 2022.

Since the storm, insurance rates rose by 42% last year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

While Floridians paid on average $6,000 for insurance last year, the average US homeowner paid $1,700, according to the insurance watchdog.

Marlissa Gervasoni, president of the Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association, told Bloomberg that in Fort Myers, “we’re seeing anywhere from a 50%-to-100% increase in spending [on insurance costs] depending on the age of the home.”

Gervasoni said that local residents are eager to sell due to the inability to afford homeowners insurance, but the pool of potential buyers has shrunk for the same reason.

“You’ve got people that went through the storm and just want to move on, and don’t really think the affordability is here anymore because of insurance,” Gervasoni said.

The town of Fort Myers suffered extensive property damage from Hurricane Ian in September 2022. REUTERS

“From what I’m seeing, I believe they are looking for areas that might be less costly.”

The number of active listings for single-family homes in the Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port area more than doubled in the past year, rising to 1,900 as of last November from 789 in December of 2022, according to data cited by Bloomberg News.

In the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area, the number of listings jumped from 3,900 in December of 2022 to 6,200 a year later.

The rising cost of home insurance in Florida has led to a glut of inventory along the state’s southwestern coast. Shutterstock

In Naples, there were 2,000 active listings as of December of last year — an increase from 1,600 the year before.

Active listings in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton region increased from 3,400 in December of 2022 to 4,800 in the same month last year, according to the report.

The excess inventory has led to falling prices as homeowners have struggled to sell their properties.

Hurricane Ian slammed into Punta Gorda on Florida’s southwest coast in September 2022. AFP via Getty Images

In the fourth quarter of 2023, prices in Punta Gorda, which is 100 miles south of Tampa, home prices fell 5.5% year-over-year.

Home prices in Naples fell by nearly 6% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.

In the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area, home prices dropped 3.5%.

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