Florida is an unincorporated area of southern Lee County, located north of the
City of Bonita Springs and south of Fort Myers, Florida. Since 2000 Estero has
been one of the
fastest growing areas in the U. S. Until recently most of Estero's growth
has been residential, over 11,000 housing units have been permitted during the
last 5 and one half years. However Estero's commercial corridors, US 41 and
Corkscrew Road, are now zoned for 10,000,000 square feet of commercial
development. With only 1,500,000 of commercial development in place as of the
end of 2005, Estero will experience tremendous commercial growth over the next
Estero Housing Market Since 2000
Originally published in the December 2008 Estero Development Report
Throughout the past decade the Estero real estate market has been a shining
example for Florida,
both in terms of quantity and quality.
ten years ago Estero was a sleepy rural community located midway between
It consisted of some 2,400 homes in 13 residential communities plus a
few stores and filling stations.
Since then about 13,500 new homes have been constructed in spite of the
recent slowdown since 2006, of which 6,350, or 47%, are single-family homes.
Today the average building value of newly constructed homes in Estero,
(excluding the land beneath the structures), is $338,000.
That's more than double the 2000 value.
these eight years, 23 new residential communities have been completed
containing about $2.6 billion of new homes, (again excluding the value of
the underlying land.)
of the largest and best known residential communities in Estero are among
those built during that period, including
The Cascades, and the four communities of
The Brooks -Shadow Wood,
Spring Run and
Between 2000 and 2004 the demand and supply of new housing in Estero seemed
to be in equilibrium with an average of 1,800 new homes a year. The
absorption rate was higher in 2000 and 2001, declined about 30% after 9-11,
but recovered in 2004.
late 2004, and the first three quarters of 2005, speculative fever struck
the Estero housing market. The number
of homes permitted in 2005 increased by nearly 1,200 over 2004. This
speculation created an oversupply of more than 1,000 new but unoccupied
units, (mostly condos), in Estero.
result of this overbuilding the number of new homes permitted declined
dramatically during 2006, 2007 and 2008. However, this three year slowdown
has provided the Estero housing market the time to absorb much of its unsold
or vacant homes.
Today housing demand and supply in Estero are almost back in equilibrium.
October 15, 2008, study of the Resale-Attached housing market in
Bonita Springs identified 1,119 MLS listings for
sale in Bonita
Springs and only 316 in
the same time the 2008 Resale-Attached closings are expected to be 499 homes
Springs and 223 in Estero
- so the Listing vs. Closing ratio is 224% in Bonita Springs
and only 142% in Estero.
addition the number of 2008 closings in Estero increased 72% over 2007.
all bodes well for the Estero condo real estate market in 2009.
While both the Bonita
Springs and Estero real
estate markets are far better off than most Lee County
communities, it is clear from this study Estero has a much smaller housing
surplus than Bonita
fact, Estero may be the best real estate market in Lee
County. If this trend continues, in spite of
stricter mortgage lending, the surplus of Estero homes should soon be
Residential property values have declined in Estero since 2005 - as they
have throughout Florida
and the entire country. Much of this decline has been caused by homeowner
short sales to avoid foreclosure and developers discounting their asking
prices to meet loan commitments and to generate the cash flow necessary to
survive the economic down-cycle.
October 15th Resale-Attached Housing Study also indicates
Estero’s “sales price to asking price” ratio actually improved
from 92.1% in 2007 to 93% in 2008.
93% ratio is equal to the 20 year average for the area and confirms the
current demand/supply equilibrium in Estero.
Meanwhile, the Bonita
Spring’s “sales price to
asking price” ratio in the Resale-Attached market declined from 91.3% in
2007 to 88.6% in 2008. This
confirms the current oversupply in
addition, the average price of Resale-Attached housing declined 13% in
Springs last year but only
4% in Estero.
conclusion, Attached-Residential, the weakest segment of the Estero
housing market, appears to be at or near the point of Demand/Supply
equilibrium in this housing down-cycle. And based on these recent numbers
and previous real estate cycles, Estero’s residential values and absorption
rates should start to increase in the near future.
Commercial Real Estate Market
Since 2000, over $700 million has been invested in Estero's numerous
commercial developments, both large and small.
first major Estero commercial development during this period was the
Coconut Point Resort which had the misfortune of opening shortly after 9/11
but recovered quickly.
Miromar Outlets Mall expanded throughout this period and is now in it sixth
phase with a total of over 600,000 square feet of shopping and 140 stores.
Estero’s commercial development peaked in 2006 when $185 million was
permitted by Lee
County. Much of this
investment was for the construction of the 1.1 million square foot, 130
store Coconut Point Town Center which was completed in late 2007.
present the Estero community contains about 3.6 million square feet of
commercial space with over 2.1 million located along US 41 and 1.5 million
along Corkscrew Road.
addition four hotels containing 825 rooms were built in Estero in these
While much has been developed since 2000 Estero’s current zoning would
permit an additional 6.5 million square feet of commercial development and
1,670 more hotel rooms so there is lots of room for growth. It’s expected
the addition of the Boston Red Sox training facility in South
County will accelerate
some of this development.
Early Community Input and
High Standards of Planning and Design
Underlie the Quality of
high quality and consistent, outstanding architecture and landscaping of
Estero’s commercial corridors is the result of the development and adoption
of the Estero Community Plan in 2001. The framers of the plan,
all community volunteers, foresaw the future commercial development of
Estero and wanted the US
41 and Corkscrew Road
commercial corridors to be as beautiful as the adjacent residential
communities then under development.
Estero Community Plan established the community’s vision as follows:
“Estero’s growth will
be planned as a village, establishing defined areas for tasteful shopping,
service and entertainment, while protecting and encouraging residential
neighborhoods that encourage a sense of belonging. Weaving the community
together will be carefully crafted limitations on strip commercial uses,
inappropriate signage and certain undesired commercial uses, while
additional design guidelines will be established to ensure attractive
landscaping, streetscaping, architectural standards, and unified access
Shortly thereafter Estero’s community leaders obtained Lee County Board of
Commissioners' approval of
three major changes in the County’s Land Development Code establishing
higher standards of development regulations for Estero.
These regulations create “overlay districts” along US 41 and Corkscrew
governing the appearance and location of buildings and, most importantly,
their compatibility and connectivity with one another. Other regulations
govern the location and treatment of “big box” stores and the types, size
and architectural standards of signage and lighting as well as road and
addition to these high design standards, new mandatory opportunities were
created for community input on all new Estero projects prior to the
developer’s application to the County for zoning or development order.
result, the Estero community has had a valuable extended period of time to
constructively work with developers to meet or exceed the community’s needs
and, if unsuccessful, to appeal for changes to Lee
staff or the County
Board of Commissioners.
Infrastructure Needs of Rapid Growth
the past ten years Estero’s infrastructure has kept pace with its
exceptional residential and commercial growth. Lee County
and the State of Florida
have invested approximately $500 million in new or widened roads in South
County since 2000.
Estero’s north-south corridors have been greatly expanded: the widening of
US 41 to six lanes, the new four-lane Livingston/Imperial/Three Oaks
corridor and the four-lane Via Coconut Point from Corkscrew Road to Bonita Springs.
were four north-south lanes through Estero ten years ago are now 14 lanes.
Other major projects currently underway in Estero will improve traffic flow
even more. They include the
widening of Three Oaks Parkway
from Corkscrew Road to Alico Road; the Estero Parkway Extension
and I-75 Overpass from Three
Oaks Boulevard to Ben Hill Griffin Road and the six-laning
Estero’s recreational amenities have also been greatly expanded. The 65 acre
opened to the public in 2006. It
features a 42,000 square foot recreation center and an attached amphitheater
stage for concerts and other public events with lawn seating for over 5,000.
In addition 100 acres was acquired by the State and County to permit the
Koreshan State Historic Site to be doubled in size.
Estero community is also working cooperatively with the City of Bonita
Springs to obtain a 24/7 Freestanding Emergency center for the area,
probably on land now owned by Lee Memorial Health Systems in the South
Village of Coconut Point.
Convenience of Major
other southwest Florida
community can boast so many convenient major facilities as
newly expanded Southwest
Airport is only a 15
minute drive from Corkscrew
with 10,000 students and growing fast, is located on Estero’s northeast
region’s largest sports and attraction arena, 7,000 seat Germaine Arena,
home of the minor league Florida Everblades hockey team, is a short walking
distance from Estero's 140-store Miromar Outlets Mall and International Design Center
on Corkscrew Road.
Center and Hyatt Regency
Resort and Spa are both located on
Coconut Road in Estero.
County is under contract
to provide the Boston Red Sox with a new spring training complex in south Lee
no later than December 2012. The
Red Sox currently train in Ft.
Myers and the Minnesota
Twins have their spring training facilities at Hammond Stadium in south Lee
County, only ten miles from Estero.
Good Question! And it puzzles a lot of residents. Estero is an unincorporated area of Lee County with no municipal boundaries of its own. Yet, the Community Plan requires a specific, defined area. So here are the populated area borders of the Estero Core Community defined in the plan - with a strong assist from the boundaries of the
Estero Fire District.
Estero’s Core Community encompasses 26 square miles - and 13 golf courses.
- West: The west boundary of the Estero Core Community is Estero Bay.
East: The Core Community extends to the eastern boundary of The Habitat on Corkscrew Road, three and a half miles east of I-75.
North: The Estero Core Community’s northern boundary extends west from Estero Bay to include
Riverwoods Plantation and
Breckenridge. The line hops Highway 41 to include
The Vines and Estero Golf Estates. It then turns a half-mile south to Koreshan Boulevard and continues straight east. It jumps I-75 to include
Teco Arena and
Grandezza and continues east to The Habitat.
South: The Estero Core Community is bounded on the south by the Bonita Springs city line which divides
Pelican Landing. It jumps Highway 41 at the Bonita Springs city limits sign and extends east along the south border of The
Brooks on Bonita Bill Street to I-75. Across I-75 it turns north two miles to the southern border of
Stoneybrook and continues to the eastern border of The Habitat.
list of Estero Communities, with information on the number and types of
homes they include.