SW Florida Real Estate
Daniel G. Starowicz, P.A.
Premiere Plus Realty, Co.
3637 Del Prado Blvd S. #201
Cape Coral, FL 33904
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Daniel G. Starowicz P.A., Premiere Plus Realty, Co., (239) 603-6100
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SW FL Guide > Waterfront Property > Waterfront Buyerís Guide
Waterfront Property Buyerís Guide
Waterfront properties are my main focus and main area of expertise. If that is your target, you will find the resources on this website to be quite helpful. And more info is always just a phone call away. A large portion of my business pertains to Cape Coralís canal front homes, as they account for hundreds of miles of the areaís Gulf (ocean) access property and are often the best deals for Florida waterfront. FYI: I call Fort Myers Beach home, and have my main Real Estate office in Cape Coral, though I am very knowledgeable on nearly ALL the waterfront sections of Southwest Florida and have offices throughout the region. You may jump right to the search tools here to view what is currently available or you may continue reading below to learn more about the area. Itís the most extensive review out there, so itís a good idea to review it!
Getting the most out of this site: It is recommended that you read through these pages in proper order (like a book), but you are free to browse by topic of interest too:
Topics covered in this section:
Waterfront General Pricing.
For those of you who arenít entirely familiar with this area, hereís a general overview of Gulf access waterfront pricing. In cases where details arenít specified below: assume a typical 1800-2000 sq ft 3 bedroom single family home or small 1200 sq ft 2 bedroom condo in these examples, on gulf-access canals. Also note: when clicking on the links below, if followed by an asterisk (ex:*) they will open in pop-up windows, so you donít lose your place on this tutorial.
South Cape Coral
A huge number of Gulf access canals means a lot of properties to choose from and some of the lowest prices in all of Florida. Length of boating run, location, canal widths, age & condition of properties all have significant effect on values. Pricing: Quite old (1960ís) and/or homes in need of significant renovations/repairs can be found under $275,000. Expect vintage little homes at those prices, as in many cases the value is nearly all in the land! Dated 1970 & 1980s homes needing some modernizing can be found in the mid $300s+ but offer a great opportunity for those who are willing to do some work. A bit newer homes (1990s/2000s built) in nice condition with the more modern open floorplans, and perhaps a 30 minute boat ride out to open water are priced from about $400,000, on up. Very clean, older homes that were built in the choice locations with desirable short boating runs are also about $400,000+, as a more significant portion of their value is in that premium lot location. And if you want later model and the premium lots with the short boating runs expect pricing in the $500-600s+, depending on the exact details. Give up a little of the boating time though and you can keep these numbers down a bit.
New construction homes in very nice sections of the SW Cape but with fairly long boating runs: in the $500s+. Really short boating runs and direct access and brand new will add up- more likely be more around $700k+
Basic, older condos in simple little complexes from around $150,000+. Nicer ones more around $200k+. Also note: direct sailboat access will increase the pricing on all of the above examples, unless already mentioned. And please do not confuse Cape Coralís freshwater canals which donít have any actual access to open waters with the more valuable, saltwater, Gulf access ones!
Northwest Cape Coral
Notably less developed (for now) than South Cape Coral. A good consideration for buyers who like less neighbors, want to pay less, but donít mind that most of it (except the Southernmost portion) is a bit remote from restaurants, shops, etc. Most Gulf access homes are relatively newer with most built in the 2000s+, and are price from $450,000+, and are behind a 10í clearance bridge or so. Virtually no condos in this location. A lot of empty, cleared lots give the area a different feel. Some people love it and itís more low-density quality, others prefer looking further South. Ceitus Pkwy area* and Matlacha Isles* offer the shortest boating runs. Matlacha Isles is all direct sailboat access as is the southernmost portion of NW Cape. Caution: only canals West of Burnt Store Road offer Gulf access. Those to the East are freshwater.
Northeast Cape Coral
No gulf access. Freshwater canal system only.
North Fort Myers
Affordable Gulf access. This is getting a ways up the river, so therefore a longer boating run to the beaches. Then again, not all boating is about being in the actual Gulf, so itís a very valid consideration for those looking to spend less. Most (but not all) North Fort Myers homes tend to be a bit older (ex: 1960ís/1970ís construction.) though there are a few hidden late model communities (ex: Marsh Pointe, Palm Island). Old Gulf access homes or those needing their share of updating can be found still be found starting under $275,000 and offer quick river access. Cleaner and/or a bit newer options in the $300s+.
Some decent condo options in the mid 100s (ex: Indian Creek in Riverbend Golf & Country Club). And a few riverfront high rise buildings with very impressive views from the mid $200s+, with a marina on the opposite side of the street with slips for lease.
South Fort Myers
Pretty much the social and economic center of the region. A clean, desirable section of town with much of the areaís commerce and attractions including numerous restaurants, shopping malls, the international airport (RSW), Edison College, Florida Gulf Coast University, the spring training stadiums for the Minnesota Twins and Red Sox, etc. The combination of overall desirability plus a scarcity of canals make most South Fort Myers Gulf access homes cost a lot more than just across the river in Cape Coral. Some neighborhoods, such as Gulf Harbour, St Charles Harbour and Jonathan Harbour command high premiums. But to start the conversation with the lower priced options: Single family homes start at about $400,000 but at that price, most are older, modest, or in need of repairs and long boating runs down shallower canals & creeks. Cleaner, older homes with very desirable direct access will be more around $500,000+. Many nice options in the $500-800s.
Because of the lack of canals: most condos in South Fort Myers involve keeping the boat at the communities marina at an additional expense, so expect higher HOA fees and/or combined costs. Options start below the $200k mark and go well into the million dollar + range, so itís just a matter of what type you want! The Iona area in particular is a great target. It is mentioned again down below.
Rather limited waterfront. Good, later model Single family homes under 1 mil are rare unless they are on little creeks, East of U.S. 41, etc. Condos $400k+
Beachfront homes $3 million +. A limit # of condos, half-million +
Single family mostly $600k+. Condos typically have marinas, not canals here. Nice area
Single family $500k+. A few older condos though $200k+. Limited waterfront to the Northern end. The Southern portion is largely contained within the Gulf Harbor Yacht & Country Club community.
Fort Myers Beach
Simple, older canal homes one block from the beach from about $500k+. Lots of options to choose from starting in the $700s or so. New construction from the low $1 millions. Beachfront condos start in the $400s. Beachfront homes from around $2 million. A number of gulf access condos on the South end of the island from the upper $300s. Slips may be sold separately, but are plentiful and are reasonably priced.
Very little waterfront. Canal homes 400k+. Virtually no true waterfront condos.
Single family from the $300s. Few condos.
Single family from mostly the high $200ís. Few condos. Very far up river, but for those seeking a more rural setting, these areas are a nice considerations.
Sinfle family from about $300k. Condos from the $200s..
East Ft Myers/Tice
Older single family homes in the $200s. Very few waterfront condos. Long run to the Gulf.
A beautiful, exclusive island with many miles of ideal beaches. A small collection of Gulf access canals affording owners a premium boating location. Values here are much higher than the mainland. For Gulf access homes: modest, 40-50 year old tiny homes from under $700,000. Nice, well maintained 20-30 year old home options start around $900,000. Newer construction tends to start a few hundred-thousand higher, though many excellent choices can be found for a bit over a million. For condos: a few older, smaller options start around $300,000. Many more options as you approach $500,000.
A very small, prestigious island retreat North of Sanibel. All property here should be expected to command high price tags. Gulf access homes from as low as $2 million can be occasionally found, though the average listing is more in the 4-5 million dollar range and prices reach as high as $18 million. Small 1 bedroom condos in the South Seas Plantation development from $250,000+. The occasional 2 bedroom condo from a half-million dollars + though there are notably more options as you approach 1 million dollar mark.. Note: rental income can offset a notable portion of the expenses as these are highly sought after vacation properties.
Single family from about 1/2 mil+. No road access to this island. Small plane, boat, or ferry only.
No true Gulf access. Canals are for drainage purposes only.
Info is based on generalities for these areas and is for a general idea of pricing only.
To give some more specific examples, letís go over Cape Coral waterfront a bit more, accounting for age, size, and water access differences, and how they affect pricing.
For a 1960ís built small 1250 square foot home needing total renovation, but with desirable unrestricted boating access (no bridges, no locks, no lifts) expect $250,000 on up for bottom priced properties. In this case, it is being sold for the land value alone. Some buyers will choose to retain the current home, perhaps remodeling it as it will be extremely dated! Others will [eventually] bulldoze the home (about $10k to do so) because the choice waterfront location warrants building something much better on the lot. This happens frequently in the Yacht Club section of Cape Coral, as the small original homes were built on choice waterfront lots. If this matches up with your expectations you should focus you search on the Cape Coral Yacht Club but also give consideration to the following Cape Coral neighborhoods: Savona, Palaco Grande, Cornwallis, and Everest, as well as ĎUnit 3í just to the West of the Yacht Club.
For a superior 1980ís built home, behind a bridge or two, with a bit more square footage (ex: 1700 sq ft) but still somewhat dated, and with short, flat 8 foot ceilings, expect $325,000 on up. Neighborhoods to target will be pretty much any of the areas West of Del Prado Blvd in Cape Coral (the Country Club section, Pelican, Mohawk, and Santa Barbara below Veteran Pkwy areas)..
For a 2000 built highly desirable home with great landscape, a tile roof, 2000 square feet, with a pool, dock, and a boat lift in a very nice neighborhood with, say, a 35 minute boating run to the river and 1 or 2 bridges say $475k+. Focus on the Southwest edge of the city. These will be superior areas of similar, newer homes. You can spend a little less if you go with a shingle roof and expand the search to a larger portion of SW & SE Cape Coral.
That same home with a very short boating run, and unrestricted access (sailboat access, meaning no bridges) South of Cape Coral Pkwy is going to get notably higher: at least 600,000+. The rationale behind these gets tricky! Understanding the complexities of canal widths and depths, locks/lifts, boating runs, vacation rental and resale appeal of the location and many other factors are critical when buying in this price range as the list prices will be all over the place in this category! Calling me is highly advisable to simplify these. I can easily determine if one is reasonable or not, so feel free to run any questions by me.
Waterfront Recommendations for waterfront (salt water) canal homes in Cape Coral, Florida as well as Fort Myers, Florida.
The best suggestions will of course come from discussing with you what your specific needs are! But, in order to give some basic advice, hereís an overview:
In general, the best combination of low prices, desirable area, age/construction of homes, and reasonable boating runs will be found in the City of Cape Coral. This is due to the fact that there are approximately 400 miles of canals throughout the city. Thatís going to add up to quite a few waterfront properties! Prices will vary greatly depending on locations, length of boating runs, and the age of the homes. I have an entire section of this site dedicated to understanding the complex nature of Cape Coral waterfront which can be accessed here. The section above, waterfront general pricing, touches on a few examples too, and covers a lot more than just Cape Coral.
For those who are after the really low priced gulf access homes (sub $300,000) you have three options: 1. In Cape Coral the oldest and/or longest boating run locations will provide a few options. 2. North Fort Myers will have a collection of older homes that could stand some updating, but some will even offer sailboat access. Itís located further up the river, which means longer to the open gulf waters, but reduced prices. Expect older neighborhoods, largely built in the 60ís/70ís. 3. East Fort Myers. The furthest run, but that equates to the lowest prices. Older neighborhoods. 60ís built in most cases.
For those interested in the barrier islands and the beaches: these are the number one most sought after locations, and are priced accordingly. They didnít experience the massive drop in value quite like the affordable sections of town, and foreclosures are few and far between. Because the land is notably more valuable on the islands than elsewhere, this is going to have a big impact on what kind of house your money buys! Please go into these expecting smaller square footage, a more modest grade of construction, and an older home versus the mainland. Fancy kitchens, giant master baths and real tall ceilings are the rarity in the sub $1 million dollar island properties. Expect higher insurance premiums too on single family homes (Note: the lower the 1st finished floor sits, the higher the insurance cost. New homes are now built up 15 feet on stilts, so on those expect a lot of stairs or private elevators as the pricing gets higher). But if island living is in your price range, itís arguably the best, and is one of the big reasons for being here in the first place!
Next section: Cape Coral Waterfront explained
Cape Coralís canal system is extremely complicated, but this will help explain it. Continue going through the tutorial by click on the following link:
continue to the next page: ĎCape Coral Waterfront Buyerís Guideí >>
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Daniel G. Starowicz, P.A. Premiere Plus Realty, Co. 3637 Del Prado Blvd S. #201, Cape Coral, FL 33904 239-603-6100
LeeHouses.com and TopWaterfrontDeals.com by Dan Starowicz. (C) 2021