Home Prices Continue to Rise During Seasonal Sales Dip
The end of 2015 witnessed record-breaking sales for both Sarasota and Manatee counties. January sales reflected the expected seasonal dip as a result of reduced buying activity during the holidays, even as median prices continued to rise.
"Our slice of paradise is catching its breath a bit after our very busy fourth quarter," said Linda Formella, RASM President, "and while sales are slowing down slightly, we are confident that our real estate community will continue to see steady, sustainable growth in the first quarter of 2016."
For the month of January, Sarasota County experienced a slight 1.2 percent rise from last year in total sales for single family homes at 520 sales, while condos were down 5.2 percent with 217 closed sales. In Manatee County, single family homes were down 5.4 percent from last year to 385 total sales, but condo sales rose 2.6 percent with 156 closed sales.
A good indication of a robust market, the median sale prices remain healthy and increased in both counties over last year. Single family median prices rose 21.3 percent in Sarasota County to $230,500, and climbed 10 percent to $274,900 in Manatee County. Condo prices were also up 17.8 percent in Sarasota County, at $218,000, compared to $169,950 for Manatee County, an increase of 6.3 percent over last year.
Inventory of available properties continues to be an issue for buyers, but showed small improvement.
- For single family homes in Sarasota County, inventory is down 1.5 percent from January last year, and up 2.4 percent in Manatee County.
- Condo inventory is up in both counties, with Sarasota County up 6.1 percent, while Manatee County saw an increase of 9.6 percent.
"We are seeing signs of a stable, growing market," said Formella. "New construction means new sales opportunities and mortgage interest rates continue to remain low. We also have more Florida winter visitors than ever before. It's a fabulous time to sell."
The two-county area saw the month's supply of inventory remain low, with a 4.2 month's supply of single family homes in Sarasota County compared to 4.4 in Manatee. The month's supply of condos in Sarasota County is 4.8, and an even 5 months in Manatee, all well below the 6-month supply that is considered a balanced market for buyers and sellers.
Pending sales are lower in January in both counties for both single family and condos, a sign that it will be difficult to sustain last year's pace with our continuing low inventory levels.
The drop in the percentage of distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) signals another sign of health in the market. Both the number of distressed sales and the share of the market have continued to decline, signaling our continued recovery. Distressed sales for single family homes in the two-county area
represented only 11.8 percent of all closed sales for the month, compared to 25.8 percent last year.
Similarly distressed condo sales came in at 7.8 percent of those closed sales, compared to 12.3 percent last year. At their peak a few years ago, 48 percent of all sales were distressed.
"2016 is truly off to great start," said Formella. "Our real estate market isn't looking to break any records again, anytime soon, but we are looking forward to a healthy and sustainable future, and I know our Realtor® members are ready to take it on."
Realtor® Assn. Sarasota and Manatee - February 23, 2016