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Realty Check

Models Draw a Crowd

Some community developers might be wringing their hands and waiting for the real estate market to bounce back, but Bonita Bay Group isn’t one of them. The veteran Southwest Florida developer went proactive with a well-publicized, two-county model showcase event on Jan. 30 and 31 that drew nearly 500 attendees.

“As we were planning our events for the season, we realized that there were more than 60 furnished models available in the four communities we are currently marketing,” says Cheryl Garn, director of marketing. “Models have always been a strong product segment for Bonita Bay Group because many of our buyers are eager to begin enjoying the lifestyles offered in the communities.”

The management team decided a showcase would be an effective way to present developer incentives and promote builder incentives specially created for the event. “We chose the end of January because most of the seasonal visitors are here, and social calendars are not quite as full as February and March,” Garn says. The Showcase of Homes was heavily advertised in print and online through local dailies, including an eight-page insert in both newspapers.

Mediterra saw 332 registered guests and Twin Eagles drew 83 in Collier County. In Lee, Verandah had 53 and Sandoval, 27. Garn says the feedback from all sites was extremely positive.

Nelson Bordeau, president of Bordeaux Homes, had models at Mediterra and Twin Eagles in the showcase. “Many visitors were residents of other Bonita Bay Group properties who were looking to move up themselves or were referring friends they brought with them to these communities,” he says. “We haven’t had traffic like that for two or three years.”

As a result of the showcase, a single-family home was sold in Verandah, and more deals are in the works, Garn says.



The Antica at Mediterra aims to maximize the pleasures of the Florida lifestyle and please the eye with a fresh, complementary ambiance. The four-bedroom, single-family home combines the soft melon and citrus hues of the Caribbean with the Spanish accent of teak and carved mahogany woods.

“You walk in and the home is fresh and cool, colorful and comfortable,” says designer Sherri DuPont, of Collins & DuPont Interior Design. Shades of aqua in the master suite mimic the daytime hues of the lake and sky and provide a Zen counterbalance to the carved bed. The views, which include a golfer’s perspective from the 17th tee to the fairway of Mediterra’s North Course, and a lake and nature preserve, also factored into the design of the 7,624-total-square-foot home. DuPont says, “The three king guest suites are ideal if you’re bringing friends in for a foursome of golf.”

The lanai, with 1,245 square feet dedicated to alfresco areas, embraces the trend toward larger outdoor areas with summer kitchens, fireplaces and gathering spaces. Harwick Homes has priced the Antica, furnished, and with 4,965 air-conditioned square feet, at $4,995,000.

With 2,139 square feet of air-conditioned living area, The Eagle is the largest furnished single-family model home at Taylor Morrison’s Magnolia Landing in North Fort Myers. Designed by Jessica Carruthers and Glenn Midnet of Design Group West, the Eagle has three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths and is designed with a blend of relaxed West Indies style and a nautical touch.

A navy-and-cream palette with crimson accents warms the home, and throughout, rich mahoganies with turned legs and carved details, woven finishes, dark leathers and woven cane boost the plantation house theme. Unexpected accents include an antique server in the dining room and scrolled metal in the light fixtures and master headboard. The design team says the ambiance they composed reflects a world-traveler motif with a coastal influence. The base price of The Eagle floor plan is $213,900.


Naples Shows Sales Increase

“Upswing, upswing” has been the hopeful mantra of real estate professionals at the end of last year and the start of 2009, but one local realtor who took a look at the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) numbers saw sales figures that for the most part hadn’t changed much from the same period the year before.

Dominick Tascher, of Amerivest Realty, Naples, used the Sunshine MLS to track sales in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, from November 2008 to January 2009, and then compared them to the same time period in the previous year. He notes that in normal times, that particular period reflects sales closed in the area’s slower season, but now, the numbers include foreclosures and short sales that might have been initiated in the busier months. He also points out that the numbers do not include new construction sales.

“It was surprising to see that Bonita Springs and Estero had very small changes in the two time periods as far as single-family homes are concerned,” Tascher says, “and all three areas had very little change in the condominium category.”

Naples had the most dramatic increase, from 364 home sold in 2007 to 624 sold in 2008. Tascher suggests a couple of reasons. “The Naples figures include sales in the huge Golden Gate area, where many short sales and foreclosures have occurred,” he says. “Also, prices of single-family homes have come down considerably, and newcomers to the area are perhaps more keen on buying themselves a Naples address than one in the surrounding areas.”

He also looked at the amount of pending sales and compared them to the number of active listings in each area. Although increases were not great, once again it seemed Naples was showing a higher percentage at 11.57 percent than the two neighboring communities, Estero at 5.96 percent, and Bonita at 7.72 percent for single family houses.


The Harborage sand castle realty group

Situated in south fort myers, The Harborage is a water-oriented community of 128 single-family homes. Its 167 acres include two lakes that provide residents with swimming, fishing, boating and Jet Skiing opportunities. The community has a boat storage area and water access to the Gulf of Mexico. Vacant lots are available. In 2006, one home sold for $1.65 million, according to Chris Quackenbush. She says about 15 others are in the $1.3 to $2 million range.

Total number of properties: 100

Total number of MLS sales, January 2008 to January 2009: 3

Price range, January 2008 to January 2009: $465,000 to $485,000

Number of sales, January 2007 to January 2008: 3

Price range: $485,000 to $650,000

On the market: The five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home at 5701 Harborage Drive, above, has half an acre of frontage on 200 feet of canal with Gulf access, and a screened pool and spa. A three-car garage with a 45-foot-long garage bay facilitates boat storage. The backyard is complemented by a dock with a 10,000-pound lift. There are two lakes for freshwater boating and water skiing as well. According to Quackenbush, of Sand Castle Realty Group, Naples and Fort Myers, the two-story home, built in 2001, has 4,437 square feet and is priced at $1.1 million, unfurnished.

Recent sale: A four-bedroom, one-story home built in 1999 was sold by the original owners for $468,000, unfurnished, in December. Selling agent Kerry B. Constantine, owner of Power Brokers Real Estate Inc., Port Charlotte and Fort Myers, says the home, located at 5210 Harborage Drive, has 2,136 air-conditioned square feet, and there’s a hot tub on the pavered lanai.

For more local real estate news, read Gulfshore Life’s bimonthly blog “The Housing Game.”

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