A Fully Recovered Market?

It has been 12 years since the height of the Sarasota Real Estate “boom” and eight years since what most consider the bottom of the “bust.”  According to housing industry experts and economists, many indications across the country are pointing to a “fully recovered” market.  However, there are so many variables within each micro/metro area, is it possible to actually define what makes a market whole again?

I took a look at just one of the many reporting tools I use to analyze the Sarasota Real Estate Market each month, Trendgraphix, and came away with some pretty telling statistics of the boom-to-bust and back again period that I thought you might find interesting.


  • In the year 2005, the last of the “boom” period, just under 10,000 transactions took place in Sarasota County.
  • At the bottom of the market in 2007 less than 6,000 units changed hands.
  • In 2015 more than 12, 600 sales took place – 26% more than 2005.
  • In 2016 over 11,000 transactions occurred, more than an 80% improvement from 2007.
  • The lowest single month of sales in the Sarasota Real Estate Market was September 2007 with just 365 units trading hands.
  • The highest in the last 12 years was April of 2015 with 1,272 transactions.


  • Median prices in December 2016 were recorded at $254,000 for all properties in the Sarasota Real Estate Market.
  • At the peak in 2005 median prices were $362,000.
  • And at the lowest in 2010 median prices were $135,000.
  • Average prices reached their highest in December 2005 – $616,000! They fell quickly through the next year and in December 2006 were $411,000.
  • In February 2010 the lowest average sale price in Sarasota was $203,000.


  • January 2005 records reflected that there were 3,221 properties listed for sale.
  • By February 2007 that number soared to more than 13,500 listings.
  • In 2015 you may recall my monthly reports lamenting low inventories – in August 2015 we had less than 3,000 listings.
  • As of December 2016, we have seen a nice recovery of listing volume and now have just about 4,700 properties for sale in the Sarasota Real Estate Market.

There is no question that 2017 brings some measure of uncertainty as the economic policies being bantered about in DC will all take time to make it through the legislative process.  How much effect the changes will have on the 2017 Sarasota Real Estate Market is impossible to know at this time.  Experts feel confident that the stimulus policies that are being reviewed will grow jobs, which is expected to translate into greater financial stability and buying potential.

The international economic and political environment are also a potential disruptors.  As the value of the dollar rises there are expectations that investors may look to other global destinations where their money will go farther, but there are others who believe that those with money to invest, still see both the U.S. in general and the Sarasota Real Estate Market in particular are not only a safe place the “park” their cash, but also one where the value of their investment will continue to grow.

New homes including single- and multi-family will remain strong, based on homebuilder association reports.  New home sales in 2016 grew 12.2% nationally over prior year.  Rising building material costs, continued labor shortages and difficult regulatory issues in many areas cause some concern for builders, but generally it appears the industry remains bullish on the demand for new properties.

Determining whether the Sarasota Real Estate Market is “fully recovered” is not a simple task.  Have our sales remained consistent? Yes.  Have the median and average prices had stable growth? Yes.  Is the gap between months of inventory and demand narrowing? Yes.  Are pending sales showing potential for solid months ahead? Yes.  These and other key indicators all point to a healthy housing market – but what does/will “fully recovered” look like?

The following is data on December’s activity, which added to the steady improvement in the region’s housing market during 2016.


With the continued decline in distressed inventory and sales, the market is less influenced by that segment of transactions, but it still does have impact.  The data below includes all sales in the market, but when looking only at “traditional” sales in the Sarasota Real Estate Market, single-family homes saw an increase of 3.2% transactions and condominium sales increased 19.6%.  Based on the activity that I have witnessed in the last eight weeks, demand for our region is as high as I have ever seen it, leading me to believe that our peak selling season ahead will be impressive.

  • Single-family home sales decreased 7% when compared to December 2015, and increased 9% compared to prior month.
    • Reports from areas of Florida that we compete with – S. Florida and Naples – were that both saw considerable decreases in sales against last December. While there is no one reason for the decline, the significant price growth experienced in those areas has been cited as a major factor.
    • Sales for the entire U.S. rose just .7% last month when compared to December 2015.
  • Total number of condominium units sold in Sarasota in December increased 11%, and increased 50 sold properties than the prior month.
    • Condo sales in S. Florida fell 7%, and the State of Florida reported 5.2% less condo sales in December.
  • The 2016 monthly average of single family sales this year is 653 vs. 697 in 2015, and for condos the monthly sales are 301 vs. 314 last year.
  • All cash sales in Sarasota continue to be strong with 37% of single-family and 69% of condos sales closed without a mortgage.
    • The national average of cash sales remains significantly lower than ours – just 21% of all sales.
  • Distressed sales in the Sarasota Real Estate Market in December were only 4% of total sales, compared to 12% last year.
  • In 2016 11,439 properties sold in Sarasota County vs. 12,127 in 2015, a 6% decrease. The breakdown is 7,830 houses sold in 2016 vs. 8,365 in 2015. With condos it is 3,609 properties sold in 2016 vs. 3,762 in 2015. It is important to recall that 2015 had the highest number of sales in the Sarasota Real Estate Market of any year on record.
  • The sales volume in 2016 was $3,894,700 vs. $3,770,440 in 2015, reflecting the increased selling prices. The monthly average is $980,000.


The National Association of Realtors is projecting median prices to grown 4% in 2017, about the same as 2016.  Experts who watch the Sarasota Real Estate Market expect our region to perform better than the rest of the country, and that growth will be steady.

  • In December, Sarasota’s single-family homes were sold at a median price of $264,500 vs. $239,900 a year ago, an increase of 10%.
    • S. median home prices were $233,500, a 3.8% increase over prior year.
    • Florida’s median home prices grew 9.2% to $226,000. In Naples, single-family homes are selling for a median of $385,000.
  • The 2016 monthly median price average was $249,867 vs. $221.067 in 2015.
  • Condominium median sale price was $217,000 in December identical to the December 2015 price.
    • S. condos sold for a median of $221,600, an increase of 5.5% over previous year.
    • Florida median condo prices rose 7.7% to $166,900. Naples condos had a median last month of $253,000.
  • The average sale price for houses in Sarasota was $350,103 in December vs. $354,880 a year ago.
  • The year’s monthly average price for houses sold in 2016 is $345,918 vs. $321,651 last year, another strong 7.5% increase.
  • Sarasota’s condominiums sold for an average price in December 2016 of $321,329 vs. $281,534 a year ago, a 14% increase. The 2016 monthly average price for sold condominiums is $325,232 vs. $284,361 last year. There were two new luxury Longboat Key gulf front condo projects that had all their closings this year, which contributed to the increase.
  • Sarasota properties sold at 95% of the list price, which mirrors the rest of the U.S.


As homebuilder confidence remains high, we can look for additional narrowing of the gap between a seller’s and buyer’s market.  The prices for new homes tend to be noticeably higher per square foot when compared to existing homes and condos.  Though new construction of luxury condominiums is robust, especially in the downtown Sarasota core, we also have a good number of existing luxury condos on the market.  I have seen quite an interest from local luxury home and condo owners on the islands and in downtown purchasing in the newer buildings, leaving behind some very attractive units to meet demand.  In the luxury price tier, inventory is adequate to meet demand and I believe we will see some strong sales this season.

  • Total available inventory in the Sarasota Real Estate Market has increased by 698 properties or 18% since the beginning of this year.
  • For single-family homes, inventory has grown by 321 properties since the beginning of the year.
  • Condominium inventory has grown by 377 properties or 29% since the beginning of the year.
    • By comparison, inventory of condominiums in the Naples market has grown 47%.
  • The Realtor Association of Sarasota-Manatee reports that there are 4.5 months of single-family homes inventory and 5.4 month’s supply of condominiums.
  • Sarasota County averaged 1,274 new listings per month this year, about the same monthly average as 2015, and currently shows a total available inventory of 4,595 properties for sale vs. 3,897 at the end of 2015.

As you look back over 2016’s local, regional and national data, it does indeed appear as though the housing market is seeing more “normalization” as some analysts call it – meaning that the peaks and valleys of these last many years have diminished, the balance between available inventory and demand has narrowed, household net worth has gained strength bringing more buyers back into the market, unemployment has fallen allowing more people at the entry-level of the market a chance at the “American dream” of owning a home, interest rates are likely to increase (though not measurably and remain well under MANY of the last few decades,) and the country appears to be back on track for greater economic gains resulting in growing GDP.

What are some of the other “2017 predictions” coming from the national market experts?  Technology is now impacting sales.  It is said that with the ease of accessing listings online and contracting happening electronically, it is expected that there will be a quickening of the pace of a sale from viewing through contract.  And, of course, the hot topic of interest rates cannot go unmentioned.  To put into perspective the expected 2017 year-end rate of 4.5%, the average interest rate over the last 50 years is 8.26%.  4.5% doesn’t look too bad when you compare.

Also often mentioned by industry analysts is the desire (and capability) of the eldest of the millennials to buy their first home.  For the baby boomers, whose home equity has grown significantly in the last several years, there is strong interest in moving up and/or purchasing vacation and retirement property.  Both generations will bring many new buyers into the 2017 marketplace.

While it appears that the Sarasota Real Estate Market has had explosive new home, condo and apartment building in the last couple of years, it’s important to remember that new building came to a virtual standstill for nearly a decade.  Sarasota’s current balanced inventory conditions compared to much of the country where inventory is still woefully short of demand, will serve us well in the coming year by keeping our pace of price escalation at a moderate pace.

Analyzing The Sarasota Real Estate Market conditions has provided me essential insight to aid both buyers and sellers in achieving their objectives in today’s environment.  The value of a highly experienced, locally as well as globally connected agent/broker, and a skilled negotiator and advocate cannot be understated in this very competitive market.  I look forward to working with you, your family and friends in this exciting year ahead!


Longboat Key home


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