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Southwest Florida Area Land for Sale: Should You Invest in the Suncoast?

When searching for land for sale, you may find many opportunities in southwest Florida. Situated along the gulf coast, there’s a lot to love about this area, and from an investor’s standpoint, there are ample opportunities to expand your portfolio and return. What makes this area so attractive, and what is the land market like in this region?

What’s So Attractive about Southwest Florida?

Although everyone seems to have their own definition, Southwest Florida is generally considered to be south of Tampa Bay, west of Lake Okeechobee and north of the Everglades. Some of the most notable counties in the area include Sarasota, Manatee, Lee, Charlotte and Collier. In some cases, Glades, DeSoto and Hendry counties are included in the Southwest Florida region. With favorable weather, beautiful beaches and fun tourist attractions, Southwest Florida is a smart place to invest in land.

Major Cities

The Southwest region is home to four major metropolitan areas, which include: - Cape Coral-Fort Myers: pop. 660,000 - North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota: pop. 733,000 - Naples-Marco Island: pop. 340,000 - Punta Gorda: pop. 165,000 Cape Coral is by far the largest city in the region, and is known as a “waterfront wonderland.” The city is home to over 400 miles of navigable waterways. In fact, there are more miles of canals in Cape Coral than anywhere else in the world. Fort Myers is another major city in the area, and a tourist hotspot. The primary tourist attractions in the area include the winter homes of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. Other major cities (incorporated and unincorporated) in the area include: - Bonita Springs - Lehigh Acres - Port Charlotte - North Fort Myers - South Fort Myers

Population and Demographics

As you can see from the list above, the four major metropolitan areas in the Southwest region boast high populations, and most areas of the region have seen population booms over the last few decades. Of all the counties in the region, Lee County has the highest population, with 661,000 people. Here’s a quick breakdown of county populations and their 4-year change: - Charlotte County: Population of 157,134 in 2004; 10.9% increase from 2000 - Collier County: Population of 296,678 in 2004; 18% increase from 2000 - DeSoto County: Population of 34,892 in 2004; 8.3% increase from 2000 - Glades County: Population of 11,131 in 2004; 5.2% increase from 2000 - Hendry County: Population of 38,163 in 2004; 5.4% increase from 2000 - Lee County: Population of 514,295 in 2004; 16.6% increase from 2000 - Manatee County: Population of 296,385 in 2004; 12.3% increase from 2000 - Sarasota County: Population of 355,477 in 2004; 9.1% increase from 2000 Altogether, there were 1,704,155 people in southwest Florida in 2004, which represents a 13.5% increase between 2000 and 2004. The state of Florida as a whole has seen an 8.8% increase in population from 2000-2004. Some counties, Collier, Hendry and Glades in particular, have seen significant population booms since 1990. In fact, Collier saw a 65.3% population increase between 1990 and 2000. One thing you can be certain of is that people are flocking to this area. And areas that are seeing population increases are great places to invest in land.

Local Climate

Another reason why people are so attracted to Southwest Florida is its favorable climate. Most of the cities located in this area are a part of the Florida Suncoast region, and many cities experience more sunny days between December and May. These areas are popular with “snowbirds,” or retirees who flock down south for the winter. While climates for specific cities will vary, generally you’ll see an average high of 70° and low of 52.4° in January, and an average high of 90° and low of 75.4° in August. Altogether, the region receives about 45 inches of rain per year. With a wonderful climate and close proximity to the beach, you’ll have no issues flipping homes, renting out properties or developing commercial properties in this region.

Major Attractions

Tourism is a huge economic driver in southwest Florida, and the region is also home to seasonal residents who only reside in the area during the winter months. Some of the biggest attractions and tourist destinations in the area include: Beaches Due to its close proximity to the coast, Southwest Florida has many beautiful beaches, including: - Longboat Key - Bonita Beach - Caper Beach - Naples - Fort Myers Beach - Marco Island - Sarasota Jungle Gardens - Sarasota - St. Armand’s Circle - Sanibel Islands Some of Florida's most beautiful beaches are located in this region, which is a huge draw for both tourists and locals. Other Tourist Attractions Of course, the area is also home to other tourist attractions, which include: - Lake Okeechobee, which is a hotspot for ecotourism and fishing - Winter estates of notable people, particularly Edison and Ford - St. Armand’s Circle - Ringling Museum of Art - Naples Botanical Garden - Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation, which is home to a size-able casino run by the Seminole Nation - Naples Zoo Southwest Florida has many draws, and is a big part of the reason why the populations in this area have been increasing over the last two decades.

Land and Real Estate Market in Southwest Florida

The real estate market has been booming in southwest Florida as a whole over the last few years, but real estate experts expect it to get even hotter. It’s estimated that the Naples-Marco Island area will see a tremendous gain (41%) in single-family home prices within the next three years. During the second quarter of 2015, actual home prices were around $337,050. Prices in Cape Coral-Fort Myers are expected to jump 25% over the next few years. Home prices in this region are around $204,750, and an 8% increase is expected in 2016. And land prices in the area couldn’t be any more favorable. Currently, we have the following listings in our inventory: - 0.23 acres in North Port for $4,999 and just $431.77 in taxes - 0.34 acres in Lehigh Acres for $4,400 and just $79.88 in taxes - 0.17 acres in Punta Gorda for $3,650 and $198.71 in taxes Imagine being able to purchase one of these lots at such a cheap price and developing a home for rental purposes or to flip. Rentals can earn you a nice passive income while you hold onto the property until retirement. Or, you can develop a home and sell it to earn a fantastic return. Southwest Florida is a smart place to invest in land – no matter what your plans are for the property. The area is growing and the market is only getting hotter.