Homebuilding in Southwest Florida has been on a tear in recent years, but builders are reporting softer sales during the traditional home buying spring season.
The latest caution comes from Bonita Springs-based WCI Communities, which develops and sells homes from Tampa to Naples.
Keith Bass, president and CEO of WCI Communities, told investors during a recent conference call to discuss first quarter earnings that comparisons with last year are difficult. “The market does appear to be easing somewhat from a very strong 2015,” Bass told investors, according to a transcript of the call from Thomson Reuters.
“As we discussed during our February call, the quarter began as a typical season, a little slower in the beginning of January then building into a stronger February,” Bass told investors. “Sales velocity in March was not as strong as anticipated, possibly caused by stock market volatility and global economic events that may have given our buyers some pause.”
Bass says some residential builders have started to offer price discounts, particularly in areas that aren't well located. While homebuyer traffic has remained strong, Bass noted buyers are taking longer to close on purchases.