Sarasota Area Market Update – September 2014

Closed transactions remain strong in August 2014

Homes and condos continued to sell at a brisk pace in Sarasota County in August, once again nearly reaching the 1,000 level with 975 closed transactions. The eight-month total from the start of the year now stands at 7,850, about 100 sales ahead of last year’s near record totals.

The breakdown for closed sales in August 2014 was 698 single family homes and 277 condos sold, according to figures released by Florida Realtors®. Closings were up 5 percent from last month (July), when they hit 928, and up 1.8 percent from August 2013, when there were 957 closings.

The median sale price for single family homes stood at $195,750 in August 2014, down slightly from the July figure of $201,000, and almost identical to last August’s figure of $195,000. The condo median was $177,000, down 16 percent from the July 2014 figure of $205,000, but almost 10 percent higher than last August, when the median sale price was $161,000. The fluctuations in condominium prices have not been unusual in recent years, compared to the steadier nature of the single family home market, and tend to reflect the buying tendencies of investors and the “downsizing” couples seeking a smaller abode.

“I continue to be impressed by the staying power of this market as we have now seen six months in a row with sales above or very near the 1,000 level,” said Sarasota Association of Realtors® President Peter Crowley. “If we remain at this peak activity, and I haven’t seen any indications of slowing down, we could see another historic year in 2014. Agents I have spoken to report no slow down at all for their open houses, and multiple offers on properties continue to be the norm as the available inventory continues to shrink.”

The current inventory of available properties stands at 3,745, down 4.2 percent from the July total of 3,912 and almost identical to last August’s figure of 3,793. The inventory has dropped very close to the low point of recent years – the July 2012 figure of 3,644. The month’s supply of inventory stood at 4.1 for single family, down from July’s figure of 4.4 and lower than last August’s figure of 4.2. For condos, the August figure was 3.8, the same as July 2014 and lower than last August’s figure of 4.0.

Distressed sales remained far below the levels experienced four years ago, indications of a strong market returning to historic norms. In August 2014, 22 percent of total sales were short sales or foreclosure sales. This was up slightly from the 19.5 percent figure in July 2014. Last August, the figure was 21.5 percent, very near to the current figure.

The median sale price for the 12-month period ending in August, which moderates monthly swings, was $192,500 for single family homes, 10 percent higher than last August’s 12-month period of $175,000. For condos, it was $178,500, up about 11.5 percent over last August’s 12-month period of $160,000.

Pending sales remained robust in August 2014, hitting 832, almost identical to July’s 834 and slightly lower than last year’s August total of 864. This should translate to sales in September coming in about the same as the August numbers.

“Sarasota County real estate is definitely alive and well, and is reflected so in these statistics,” said Crowley. “But even beyond the numbers, the enthusiasm of our agents and the incredible demand expressed by the buyers is encouraging. We are the place people want to relocate, the place people want to invest in, and the place people want to retire.”