ENTRADA means an expedition or journey into unexplored territory.

By Duncan

TIME TO GO HOUSE SHOPPING. For those of you who don’t live in Southwest Florida. We have an awful lot of home building going on down here. Yes, I know there’s new housing construction just about everywhere in the United States. But, I keep driving by new homes developments on my way to shopping and restaurants and promising myself to check them out.

I had already been told about a new subdivision, or is it a gated community, whatever it is, or will be called, is being talked about a lot. It’s going to have 720 homes. And, I was also told it didn’t or wouldn’t have a CDD. (Community Development District.) We can talk about CDD’s Later. The whole subject of CDD’s is complicated. (It’s a Tax!)

Anyway, I wanted to get out of the house and do something interesting, so I decided today I will act like I was looking for a home. And this is where it started.


The entrance has a grand reveal and an attractive logo. Very impressive to my way of thinking.


Just a short drive through the gate, I noticed the model homes on the right.

D.R. Horton, the primary and only builder in this community, is offering six-floor plans. I won’t bore you with all the fancy names just yet, but I will give you an overview of the essential information.

First, some beautiful model home pictures.















ENTRADA: Now the numbers:

PRICED / from $233,990 $236,990 $251,990 $281,990 $301,990 $319,990
SQ FEET (AIR) 1,641 1,816 2,034 2,372 2,540 2,787
BED/BATH/CAR 2/2/2 2/2/2 3/2/2 4/3/3 3/3.5/3 4/3.5/3
ANNUAL RE TAX $4,093 $4,147 $4,409 $4,934 $5,284 $5,599
HOA MONTHLY $92 $92 $92 $92 $92 $92
COST SQ FOOT $142 $130 $123 $119 $119 $115

ENTRADA plans on a Fitness Center, Community Room, Pool, Pickleball Courts, and Kids Playground.

In the three months that D. R. Horton has been offering properties for sale, they have sold 30 homes. (10 homes a month in a brand new community. It takes guts to be the first home owner!)



Now the fun part. Let’s say you want to buy one of these homes. If I picked a middle sized house, say $250,000 and put 20% ($50,000) down I would be left with a $200,000 balance. A mortgage of $200,000 at say 4.25% for 30 years would be a monthly payment of roughly $950.00 a month.

Principal and Interest Monthly $950.00

Real Estate Taxes Monthly $367.41

Homeowners Insurance $85.00

HOA $92.00

Total monthy house payment: $1,500.00

Income needed to support a mortgage of $1,500.00 a month?

$1,500 Times 4 (25% of income) = $6,000.00 of stable monthly income.

$6,000.00 x 12 months = $72,000.00 a year.

So, the old mortgage banker is coming out in me again. I looked at these numbers and thought, How many people have $50,000 dollars for a cash down payment?

On average across the country, buyers who purchased a home with a mortgage in 2014 put 14 percent down. On average it was a downpayment of $32,141.00


But, In the last 4-5 years 1 in 4 single family homes sold for cash in Florida. Now get this number. In the fourth quarter of 2016 in the Cape Coral – Fort Myers area 54% of the single-family homes sold for cash.

More and more home buyers in Southwest Florida are using cold, hard cash to buy their homes.

At one point several years ago nearly 70 percent of all home sales in Sarasota and Manatee counties were purchased with nothing but cash. Looking at Charlotte County, 80 percent of residential transactions were mortgage-free. Those percentages were double the national average and among the highest ratios in the country several years back.

“For the people with cash in their pockets, they don’t want to go through the whole loan process because it’s a nightmare,” said the president of the Gulf Coast Mortgage Bankers Association. “We’ve had countless people come in to get a loan, and two weeks in, they throw up their hands and say, ‘You people are nuts.’

The ratio of all-cash deals in Manatee County increased from 44 percent one year ago to 69 percent, while cash transactions in Sarasota leaped from 55 % to 70 % in that same time period.

In Charlotte County, cash deals accounted for 80 percent of the entire housing market, up from just 31 percent during the same time a year earlier.

Southwest Florida historically sees more cash sales than other parts of the country because of the area’s reliance on retirees, part-time residents, and affluent buyers. In 2011 and 2012, cash deals represented only about 40 percent of all residential sales.

What has caused the rise in cash sales is the baby boomers who are selling homes up north, (10,000 a day) drawing on pension plans and cashing in stock portfolios to buy a mortgage-free retirement home in Florida.

Many buyers also now purchase a house with cash to expedite the process and to edge out competing buyers whose offer is contingent on a loan, then perhaps borrowing against the home after the transaction closes to take advantage of attractive interest rates.

But the supremacy of all-cash sales in the market is reducing the pool of potential buyers. Eliminating hopefuls who do not have $200,000 sitting around to spend on a new place to live.

The national picture

Across the country, all-cash sales accounted for 43 percent of U.S. residential sales, more than double the 20 percent recorded years earlier and the so-called norm.

February was the eighth consecutive month in which cash sales accounted for 35 percent or more of all sales nationwide.

Florida had the highest percentage of cash sales in the nation at one point with 67.3 percent during the housing bust.

“In the lower-priced points, where there are multiple offers, the seller in some cases won’t even accept an offer with a mortgage contingency.

“In the high-end real estate market, there’s an abundance of wealthy people with a lot of cash that has been sitting on the sideline, waiting for the right time.

“With the stock market at record levels, people are sitting on piles of cash.”

Is it any wonder the home builder D.R. Horton feels bullish doing business in the Southwest Florida?


About the author

Stephen A and Scott Duncan publish “ByDuncan.com”
Scott photographs (Duncan Photography) and is the guy who keeps this site running.
Steve (left) is a photographer (Duncan Photography) and writes to “ByDuncan.com”