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Fort Myers 55 Plus Communities
Retirement Communities in Fort Myers FL are extremely popular. Much of this due to Fort Myers proximity to the tranquil Gulf of Mexico and relaxing beaches. Spring training teams are a popular reason for a retirement home in Fort Myer.There are many, active adult, and 55 plus communities throughout the area.
Fort Myers is very popular for people located in the Midwest who can hop on I-75 and drive right on down to Fort Myers, Florida. But now, prices are rising almost everywhere, Southwest Florida's large fifty five plus community are turning out to be a solid bet for investors, owners and residents alike. Heritage Cove 55 plus community is one of the newest 55 plus communities in Fort Myers.
What is Fort Myers like for active adults as a retirement community?
Ft Myers is new and old Florida together at the same time. The population is 65,000 with many times that in the neighboring area. Situated on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River on Florida's southwest coast, its birthplace goes back to 1886. It has the fascinating Thomas Edison Museum and a beautifully restored downtown area along the river. New neighborhoods go off in all directions; in the early 2000's day it seemed another plantation or forest was turned into an active adults 55+ development. For all intents and purposed, every retail chain and franchise in America is represented here on Route 41 and Interstate 75. Fort Myers Beach to the South provides incredible white sand beaches. Golf courses seem to be everywhere, public and private. Ft. Myers is a progressive city with a diverse population of all ages, made up of active adults 55+. Fort Myers is the capitol city and county seat of Lee County.
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They weren't the sexiest category of real estate in the high-flying days of the boom. Although they are selling well now.
But now, with prices falling and vacancy rates rising almost everywhere, Southwest Florida's big fifty five plus communities are turning out to be a solid bet for investors, owners and residents alike, experts say. "Most people pay cash for their house and they're very stable people," said Steve Adler, president and owner of Fort Myers-based Murex Properties, which manages manufactured-home communities nationwide. "In these topsy-turvy times, they've remained a good investment."
Banks are especially open to borrowers with that kind of collateral, said Paige Rausch, a Fort Myers-based real estate consultant. She pointed out that two of the top five mortgages by dollar value in Lee County in 2013 were for large manufactured-home developments. "I think there's a new caution," Rausch said. "Those assets that were mortgaged, there wasn't a lot of gamble about that. They weren't writing them on pipe dreams."
Underlying the stability is a way of life, not just the relatively good financial condition of retirees, Adler said. "Residents help people a lot, they take people to the doctor if they don't have transportation."
Steve Weisberg, president of Fort Myers-based development company Rarco, said the stable cash flow from rentals - typically the 55 plus residents own their homes but rent the lots - accounts for their appeal as an investment. But, he said, buying or loaning money on a big retirement development can be a daunting task. "It really takes a special breed of person to put something together. "Mainly, he said, mortgages are written by large institutions such as life insurance companies.
But the stability of a retirement community tends to work in favor of individual owners as well, said Jim Schneider, manager of the 200-acre, 1,096-unit Seven Lakes community in south Fort Myers.
Seven Lakes is a 55 plus community and its values have held up well for residents, he said - the community has only about 10 foreclosures, about 1 percent. Because Seven Lakes has been around 40 years, Schneider said, it was spared the wave of defaults on loans "where the mortgage was 110 percent of the home's value."
Steve Cunningham, a commercial real estate agent in Fort Myers who frequently works as a receiver or property manager for lenders, said other pluses for lenders are public instead of private utilities, a good location and well-maintained units.
Bill Valenti, president of Fort Myers-based Florida Gulf Bank, said even foreclosures aren't too harmful for a park where residents own their houses but rent the lots. Even when a 55 plus community homeowner does default on a mortgage, he said, "The bank comes in, it has to sell the home, and it's often sold to the park, which usually is able to buy at a deep discount."