Prepared by Michael Moulton, CRS, Broker-Associate
Michael Saunders & Co

Great news to start 2011 – based on recent results provided by the Multiple Listing Service, we have already seen measurable positive indications of the recovery of the real estate market. Signs of falling inventory and transactions picking up are seen virtually throughout the price and product categories. In just the first two months of the New Year, we have seen an increase in sales of more than 10% over the same period in the prior year. Now that’s something to celebrate.

We currently have only 8 months of overall inventory based on the February closings, which is significantly lower than the 11 months of inventory after all of the January closings. The current listing inventory is 7% lower than at the end of January and 6% lower than previous year, a very positive indicator. Based on this past month’s closings, there are just 6.5 months of inventory for properties listed under $500,000 compared with 11 months at the beginning of 2010. In the category of product between $500,000 and $1,000,000, the only group to see a measurable slide, there are 27 months of inventory, which has increased from 15 months at the end of 2010. The over $1,000,000 group has seen a sizeable change with only a 20 month inventory, down substantially from 48 months at the end of January. The months of available inventory does vary on a month to month basis depending on that month’s closed sales. For comparison’s sake, six months of inventory is considered a neutral market meaning it is neither a buyers nor seller’s market. All the top agents around town are telling me showings have definitely picked up.

The following statistical data is from information provided through the Multiple Listing Service of the Sarasota Association of Realtors. The table summarizes the activity in each price segment. The Sold (Closed), Pending and Listings columns are sales and listings for the month of the report and the Pending and Listed are the current totals of each in the MLS system. The Sold YTD (Year to Date) column is the total sales for 2011 and 2010 year to date. The Listed YE ’10 column shows the listing inventory at the end of 2010.