The good news in the Naples real estate market is that inventory is low, so low in fact, that many neighborhoods are reporting a balanced supply of unsold properties with a few actually reporting a shortage of available homes for sale.

What determines a stabilized market? The same number of closed sales as unsold properties within a 12-month period. What’s unusal for Naples is seeing a shortage of supply in some areas in October, the beginning of our selling season.

The bad news is … well, there doesn’t seem to be any bad news to report at the moment with regard to Naples real estate. Rather, it’s more like a question mark that looms.

The question mark for the Naples real estate market is what’s being referred to as possible shadow inventory. Those residences that loom in the shadows just waiting to infiltrate the market, possibly even overloading it once again with too much for sale.

Shadow inventory usually refers to short sales and foreclosures that for reasons unknown haven’t made it to the market yet. Currently, in Naples we are seeing a lot of short sales and foreclosures being sold. As Cindy Carroll, a state-certified residential real estate appraiser and fourth generation Neapolitan, says, “Short sales and foreclosures are disappearing.”

So why the continued concern over shadow inventory?

Because, shadow inventory doesn’t have to be distressed properties. It can also be those properties that a seller has chosen to hold on to rather than put on the market and compete with distressed prices. Now that sellers are seeing low inventory and even some shortages, they may think now is the time to sell because they could potentially command a better price. However, if all of those sellers who have been sitting on the sidelines for the last few years decide now is the time to sell, it could contribute to an oversupply in the market.

The best way to deal with the looming question mark is to talk with a real estate professional who can strategically evaluate your neighborhood. If you need to sell, then the old adage still holds true: Price it right.

Here’s how some of Naples’ more popular markets were shaping up earlier this week as reported by Carroll & Carroll, Inc.:

Old Naples homes – balanced
Old Naples condos – Just a little more than a year’s supply
Moorings/Park Shore/Coquina Sands homes – shortage
Moorings/Park Shore condos – shortage
Aqualane Shores – Just under a 2-year supply
Port Royal – More than a year’s worth of supply
Pine Ridge – 1.5 years worth of supply
Royal Harbor – 1.5 years worth of supply
Quail Creek – Pushing 2 years worth of supply
Pelican Bay condos – balanced
Quail West – Just a little over a 2-year supply
Collier’s Reserve – shortage
Saturnia Lakes – 7 months of supply
The Strand condos & homes – balanced
Golden Gate Estates – less than a one-year supply (Note: Only 16% of the current unsold properties are short sale or foreclosure)
Golden Gate City – only a 2-month supply