Sarasota Market Heating Up
As 2014 gets underway, the Sarasota County real estate market is heating up. The number of new listings throughout the county soared in January, rising 10.6% from the previous month. The total housing inventory rose to its highest level in 32 months, providing yet another sign the market is experiencing a robust recovery. During a recovering market, the total real estate inventory, including new listings, typically rises as sellers look to take advantage of increasing property values. However, this usually only occurs after a rebound in the housing market. In Sarasota County, inventory levels have jumped significantly in only six months, rising by an impressive 30% since the recent low recorded in July 2013.
Sarasota Home Prices Rising
When comparing the January 2013 numbers to January 2014, it is evident that the Sarasota County real estate market is also experiencing substantial price appreciation. In fact, the median sale price for a single-family home in Sarasota County rose by 21.3%, and condo prices are up 17.1%. Although home prices are noticeably higher than they were a year ago, condo prices have been ranging in a narrow band for five consecutive months, and single-family home prices have been in a similar narrow range for the last 11 months. This stable appreciation in median sales price also indicates a strong and healthy market, unlike the wild price fluctuations and unsustainable appreciation that took place during the 2004-2006 real estate boom. In January 2014, the 12-month rolling median for single family homes rose to $187,000, up approximately 20% from January 2013. Condos had a 12-month rolling median of $165,000, marking a 10% increase over the same time period. Pending sales in January 2014 were also up significantly from several previous months. However, there were less pending sales this past January than there were in January 2013. Due to the fact that it takes a considerable amount of time to close on a sale, the majority of economists believe pending sales are a strong indicator of potential closed sales in the near future. Continuing the trend, closed sales in January 2014 were 10% higher than they were at the same time last year. While there were less closed sales in January than there were in December, this has proven to be a historical trend. In recent years, the number of closed sales has also increased considerably from February through June.
Indications Point to Strong Spring Market
Sarasota County REALTORS® are looking forward to a continuation of the trend and are preparing for a strong spring season. Sarasota County had 11,184 home sales in 2013, marking the second highest number of home sales ever recorded in the MLS. Thus, the strong start in 2014 may be a sign the local real estate market will enjoy another robust year. According to Peter Crowley, president of the Sarasota Association of Realtors, “The Sarasota County real estate market saw near record sales last spring, so anything approaching that level would be welcome news. The fundamentals of the market would certainly indicate a solid spring ahead. The state tourism level just hit a record high. We have had a mild winter while the northern states have experienced heavy snowstorms, and that tends to drive the level of visitors up. Once people see what Sarasota has to offer, many tend to want to relocate. And that's where our members can certainly help," said Crowley. Distressed property sales comprised 24.9% of all sales taking place in January 2014. While it was a slight increase from the previous month, the figure was much lower than the percentage of distressed property sales in 2011. Currently, distressed properties make up 12.1% of the overall home inventory in Sarasota County, which is down from the 12.5% present in December. A strong real estate market ignites the local economy as well, because home sales often spur profits for area businesses. Crowley believes the strong Sarasota County real estate market signifies that the economy has turned the corner. According to Crowley, “The unemployment rate drops, salaries tend to rise, and families prosper."
If you have any questions about buying your next home, please "Ask An Expert." Don't hesitate to contact the team at Key Solutions Real Estate Group for assistance, or call (941) 894-1255.