sold-sign_120Unlike other markets across the country, home sales in the Sarasota Florida real estate market in March reached the highest level in six years. Total property sales in the Sarasota market hit 800 for the month of March, 2011. This is the highest level since September, 2005 when sales started to decline.

Other impressive news coming from the March real estate market report by the Sarasota Association of Realtors included the following:

  • Prices rose in double digits for both single-family homes and condos
  • Pending sales were the highest since the real estate boom ended in 2005
  • The inventory of unsold homes dropped to less than 1/3 the number available at the worst point of the real estate crash

This news comes on the heels of equally astounding increases in home sales during the month of February.  "Sarasota is clearly a recovering market,” said Sarasota Association or Realtors (SAR) President Michael Bruno. “Agents are very busy showing properties and writing contracts, and people are excited about our strong market rebound….We haven’t seen numbers like these in several years. There is a buzz in the local market that is reaching out to buyers across the nation and even internationally.”

What makes the Sarasota real estate market statistics even more positive is the fact that there is no federal home buyer tax credit initiative fueling this surge. The tax credit program drove up homes sales in the spring of 2010, but this year’s numbers are strong simply on the basis of the incredible values evident in the Sarasota and Bradenton real estate market.

Single family home sales, at 580, were up 23% from the previous month, and 5% higher than March, 2010 when the tax credit spurred sales to 555. Condo sales also climbed to 220 in March 2011, up 10% from February, and 11% higher than last year at this time.

Median sales prices for both single family homes and condominiums also improved in March to $159,250 for single family homes and $173,000 for condos, a 16% and a 26% jump, respectively. One of the likely reasons – distressed property sales fell to 43% of total sales, down from February when almost 47% of sales were foreclosures or short sales.

In addition to the positive sales figures, pending sales also came in above the 1,200 level in March, hitting 1,208, the highest level in six years. In 2011, every month has seen more than 1,000 pending sales, or properties going under contract, during the month. This statistic is a strong indicator for the next two or three months of sales, as pending sales reflect current buyer activity.

This year’s upward trend is being fueled by buyers of all sorts – investors, second-home buyers, and those who just realize that today’s lower home prices coupled with low interest rates present buyers an opportunity not seen in years.

The drop to the lowest inventory level in six years (5,501) will put upward pressure on sales prices moving forward. Only 26 months ago, in January 2009, there were 25.3 months of inventory for single family homes and 38.4 months of condo inventory. The remaining months of inventory for single family homes, (the time it would take to sell all currently available single family homes at the present rate), fell in March to 6.0 months from 8.0 months in February. This is traditionally a level which represents the point when buyers begin to compete for available properties driving prices up.  For condos, the remaining months of inventory dropped to 9.2 months from 10.4 months in February.

“Price appreciation normally follows a declining inventory,” explained Bruno. “I’m hopeful that this trend, which has been evident now for several months, continues into the summer months.  I’m very encouraged by the numbers we’re observing,” he said.

The evidence is clear. If you have been waiting to see whether prices will decline further, time is running out on you.  I would be delighted to sit down with you, review your needs and wishes, and then see if, together, we can find that Sarasota golf course home or that Sarasota waterfront home or condominium you have been dreaming of owning here in Sarasota or Bradenton. 

Posted by Andree Huffine on
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