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

“March Madness” can be applied to real estate, too! This year’s results for the month across the “boards” showed remarkable positive movement. The “brackets” were what we all hoped for…more sales, lower inventory, an increase in pending sales, and sustained improvement for year-to-date activity. We currently have just seven months of overall inventory based on the March closings activity, which is lower than each of the past two months of this year and considerably below year-end 2010, an excellent market indicator considering that six months of inventory is established as the benchmark for a “neutral market”!

During March, 51 properties – or 7% more were sold than during the same month a year ago. There are also approximately 100 more pending sales than a year ago. As a result of the past month’s closings activity, there are 5.5 months of inventory for properties listed under $500,000, compared to 11 months at the beginning of 2010. In the segment between $500,000 and $1,000,000 there is a 20 month inventory, certainly an improvement from the 27 months at the end of February. For inventory over $1,000,000 there is 14 months of inventory, down substantially from the 28 months at the end of 2010 and the 48 months at the end of January. The months of available inventory does vary on a month to month basis based on that month’s closed sales.

The current listing inventory is 8% lower than the end of 2010 and 21% (over 1400 listings) less than 12 months ago, very positive indicators. Though it would be expected that peak tourist season would bring many prospects to the area, all the top agents around town are telling me showings have definitely increased over prior year and that April is shaping up to be a busy month as well. When I compare the past data from the year-end 2010 and data from 12 months ago, all categories are heading in positive directions, listing inventory is decreasing, pending contracts are increasing and closed sales have increased.

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.

Partly Cloudy