Ray Bayer, 59, of Pittsburgh has long planned to retire in Florida, but prices were too high. In January, the postal worker finally bought a $255,000 Fort Myers home that he says would have fetched $400,000 at the market’s peak. Bayer and his wife, Kathy, 57, a nurse, expect to retire to it in a few years.
Fort Myers, like much of Florida, has been battered by foreclosures. In 2010, one in 12 Fort Myers homes had foreclosure filings, the nation’s second-highest rate after Las Vegas.
Even so, Fort Myers’ foreclosure pace last year was down 28 percent from 2009. And recently, banks have slowed the pace at which they put homes on the market. That’s driving multiple offers and buyers who have to settle “for their third or fourth choice,” says broker Terri Lodge of Century 21 Sunbelt Realty.
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