Lehigh big on duplexes

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Multifamily permits up 236 percent

Impressive as Lehigh Acres’ single-family home statistics are, duplexes are even hotter. Multifamily building permits in Lehigh rose 236 percent from 169 permits in 2003 to 567 in 2004, according to the Lee County Community Development Department.

Duplexes often represent an outstanding opportunity for real estate investors to quickly create positive cash flow. In a hot market like Lehigh, where home ownership exceeds 90%, rental property shortages reduce typical investor vacancy risks.

Fred Elliott, of Coldwell Banker Preferred Properties in Lehigh, said he sees positives and negatives in the duplexes’ growing share of the housing market. On one hand, he said, duplexes offer affordable housing for people who are not able or do not want to buy a single-family home. On the other hand, duplexes often aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing addition to a neighborhood, Elliott said.

Oliver Conover, executive director of the Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, said duplexes can have a negative impact on surrounding property values. He said the major concern with duplexes is the lack of landscaping and garages.”People that have single-family homes in those areas are putting them up for sale,” he said. “It reduced their values.”

Lehigh big on duplexes [News-Press]

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