Lee County Is One of the Best Places to Buy a Vacation Home!

Dated: July 12 2023

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Colorful home facades and palm trees in Fort Myers, Florida

With its powdery white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and year-round sunshine, Southwest Florida is the quintessential vacation home destination. Easily accessible from anywhere in the country and with every urban- and resort-style amenity imaginable, the area is a top choice for second-home buyers. A new report by vacation home management company Pacaso, which analyzed second-home transactions from the start of this year, found that Lee County ranked third overall. Another Southwest Florida region, Collier County, where Naples is located, ranked fifth. However, homes in Lee County come with a much more affordable price tag.

"I think the price has attracted buyers to Lee County as the average price of a second home is $525,000, which is a bit more approachable than the better-known second home communities such as Naples, only an hour south in neighboring Collier County, where the average second home is nearing $900,000," Austin Allison, Pacaso's CEO and co-founder, told Travel + Leisure.

Fort Myers Pier beach in Fort Myers, Florida

But Lee County isn't just about affordability. It is home to over 780,000 residents and encompasses Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel and Captiva islands, Pine Island, Bonita Springs and Estero, Boca Grande, North Fort Myers, and Lehigh Acres, among other cities. And with 590 miles of shoreline, including 50 miles of sugary beaches, it's easy to see what makes Lee County such a vacation hot spot.

With 271 days of sunshine on average, Fort Myers is the sunniest city in Florida, so residents and guests can enjoy its beautiful beaches, golf courses, and recreational activities like beachcombing, hiking, sailing, kayaking through mangroves, or sailing. Fort Myers's long history — the area was first inhabited in 5,000 B.C by Native Americans, and in the 20th century became the go-to vacation spot for the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford — also makes it the perfect getaway for those who like to explore local museums, archaeological sites, and historical landmarks.

And the Lee County real estate market is just as appealing.

"Lee County offers an eclectic mix of houses from the historic Edison Home district to modern beachfront oases," Tiffany Burns of Premier Sotheby's International Realty told T+LShe explained that the most sought-after homes are those facing west located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, treating their owners to spectacular sunset views.

Colorful homes on a beach in Fort Myers, Florida

Austin agrees that house hunting in Lee County is all about variety.

"Whether you're seeking a luxurious high-rise condo with resort-style amenities or a spacious single-family home on the golf course, there's something for everyone here. Waterfront properties are particularly popular, with many buyers looking for easy access to boating and fishing opportunities," Austin explained, adding that according to another Pacaso survey, 61 percent of potential second homeowners want their vacation home to be on or near the water, with 42 percent favoring the beach and 19 percent vying for a lakeside location.

And thanks to its many canals and beaches, Lee County is a haven for those seeking idyllic waterfront views and a calm spot to berth their boat. In fact, Cape Coral, the county's largest city, has more than 400 miles of canals, more than any other city in Florida (or in Italy, for that matter).

Those seeking luxury hotel–worthy amenities such as unobstructed bay views, concierge services, pool cabanas, and bocce courts will find their second home in The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Estero Bay, in Bonita Springs, slated for completion in 2025. The two towers are designed by award-winning architecture firm Arquitectonica and will feature 224 residences ranging from 2,600 square feet to 3,880 square feet, with prices starting at $3 million.

Lastly, while Lee County is still recovering from Hurricane Ian, which caused significant damage in September 2022, most of the area's parks have reopened and are ready to welcome vacationers this summer (and beyond).

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Kynse Leigh Agles

Kynse Leigh Agles moved to SW Florida to begin her Real Estate career in 2000 as a personal assistant to a RE/MAX top producing real estate team. She currently lives in the historic district of Fort M....

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