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Near Record Sales in Sarasota Area

SAR-Manatee AssnSarasota Real Estate Market Report - June 2015

The residential real estate market in May 2015, in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, continued to produce near-record sales, pointing toward another potential record-breaking year in 2015.

Overall sales in Sarasota County hit 1,182, only 42 sales below last month's all-time monthly record. Manatee County saw total sales of 827, higher than April's figure of 813, and last year's May total of 752.

Sales levels in both Sarasota and Manatee counties have been at historically high levels for several months, and median sale prices have also been trending upwards.

  • The May 2015 median sale prices were up 20 percent for single family homes in Sarasota County, and 14.3 percent in Manatee County over last May.
  • For condos, Sarasota County also recorded a 20 percent price rise, while Manatee County was up 1.5 percent.

Positive Numbers in the Overall Economy

"Perhaps the best news in all of these positive numbers is the overall economy and what is fueling this real estate market," explained Association President Stafford Starcher. "Many reports from experts across the nation point to the growth in employment as the leading fundamental behind this surge.

Jonathan Smoke, the chief economist at the web site realtor.com, recently reported that there is no evidence of a housing bubble, and he noted more than three million jobs were created in the last year. He said we could experience the highest national sales since 2006."

Market Statistics

  • In Manatee County, single family homes were selling at a median price of $257,111 in May, up from last year's May figure of $225,000.
  • The condo market was selling at $160,000 - also up from last May's figure of $157,600.
  • Median sale prices trended upward in Sarasota County, with single family homes hitting $230,000, well above last May's figure of $191,500.
  • Condo prices were at $210,000 in May, well above last May's figure of $175,000.

"The existing inventory remains low in both counties, and that fundamental tends to push price appreciation in a desirable market like ours," explained Starcher. "We are seeing inventory levels down by double digit percentages this May compared to last year at this time."

The only number in the May report that was trending lower was the pending sales figure, which dropped to 949 from 1,127 in April. In Manatee County, new pending sales were at 667, down from last month's 770. This is a typical pattern in the two-county area, as our seasonal visitors return to their homes. A decline in pending sales usually translates to a decline in the number of closed sales in subsequent months, so it is likely that sales in the region will also be lower in the upcoming months - another pattern we are used to seeing.

The two-county area saw the month's supply of inventory remain well below the 6 month level that defines a market in equilibrium between buyers or sellers. The figures now stand at between 3.8 and 4.3 months for both counties and for both property categories. This means sellers remain in command, based upon that market statistic, which is also reflected in the rising median sale prices and lower average days to closings.

Distressed sales, short sales and foreclosures, rose slightly in May 2015, but still represent only 15.9 percent of the Sarasota County sales and 15.7 percent of the Manatee County sales. In May 2014, over 20 percent of closed sales in Sarasota County and 23 percent in Manatee County were distressed properties.

Distressed property listings fell to only 8.6 percent of total inventory in Sarasota County and only 6.7 percent in Manatee County - a major drop from recent months when the figure hovered around 20 percent.

"Once again, the market statistics are clearly showing the strength and vitality of Sarasota and Manatee counties," said Starcher. "We are living in a golden era for local real estate, and the future continues to look bright."

Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee - June 2015