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A surge in the sale of luxury properties helped to bolster sales figures for homes in Collier County during January, according to a new report from the Naples Area Board of Realtors out Monday.

While home sales are down nationwide 4.8 percent as compared to January of last year, in Collier they are up 11 percent with 671 homes sold as compared to 603 in January of 2017. Sales of luxury homes, those above $1 million, skyrocketed with a 123 percent increase over January 2017’s total.

Jeff Jones, Managing Broker for Engel & Völkers’ Naples and Bonita Springs offices, speculated that recent changes in tax policy may have motivated high-end buyers to get off the fence and purchase luxury homes that have been sitting on the market for the last few years.

“I think we had a lot of pent up demand from wealthy buyers who waited to see how the new tax laws would affect them,” said Jones. “Once they understood the law, they obviously felt confident in making a big purchasing decision.” The median price for home sales closed in January went up 19 percent to $375,000 in Collier and pending sales increased by 11 percent.

“The storm blew in a lot of business,” said Mike Hughes, Vice President of Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. “I believe that some buyers who would have purchased in the fourth quarter of 2017 delayed their decision until the first quarter of 2018. It looks like we are off to a good start this year with respect to sales.”

The overall home market inventory in Collier County dropped 5 percent in January to 6,071 homes compared to 6,393 during the same time last year. A lack of inventory has been one of the factors contributing to rising home prices and rental costs throughout Southwest Florida. The Naples market, however, has had a rise in inventory during recent months, leading it have an 8.2-month supply of inventory as opposed to the 3.4-month figure seen nationwide.

“There’s an ongoing shortage of housing inventory in many markets across Florida,” said Florida Realtors President Christine Hansen, broker-owner with Century 21 Hansen Realty in Fort Lauderdale. “January’s statewide home sales reflected the tight supply, and — when combined with rising median sales prices — it puts pressure on potential homebuyers.”

January was a hot month for condominium sales in Naples.

Closed sales of condominiums increased 23 percent in January compared to January 2017, while closed sales of single-family homes decreased 1 percent, according to NABOR reports.

“Lately, condo and townhouse sales growth has been outpacing that of single-family homes, and the reason is that the picture for condos and townhouses has been much more balanced. The single-family home market, by contrast, continues to be held back by inadequate levels of new construction,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. Brad O’Connor.

Reports reflected 150 closed sales of condominiums in North Naples in January, a 150 percent increase over January 2017. The median closed prices in North Naples increased 428 percent.

According to a NABOR release, 79 closings from a newly built luxury high rise condominium in North Naples impacted closed sales, median closed price and days on market figures for the month.

Those 79 condominiums sold between $1.8 million and $2.5 million, NABOR reported.