The Sarasota Real Estate Market enjoyed a second consecutive record breaking year for sales transactions. Persistent strength throughout the year in all statistical categories gives rise to confidence that our region not only possesses soundness and stability, but also sufficient capacity to continue its steady growth.
Persistent gains in sales, home prices, and demand, along with current consumer confidence in real estate as a prudent long-term investment are just some of the reasons why I feel so bullish about our market. Add to that home-builder confidence in the need for new inventory – it was reported that Sarasota/Manatee recorded a 3-year high in new construction permits issued – leads virtually all industry experts who have weighed in to declare our region as one with great opportunity to maintain its positive path.
A recent survey of all mid-sized markets across the U.S. showed that our MSA (North Port, Sarasota, Manatee) had the highest concentration of Baby Boomers. As I have written about in many of my past blogs, this group remains the most prolific within my business activity, and I hear the same from my high-producing peers. Baby Boomers in many cases have built considerable equity in their current primary residences and, as a result are also likely to buy a property with cash, eliminating any potential issues related to credit. In fact, data showed that half of all purchases in Sarasota last month were all-cash transactions. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years old each day, and will for the next 14 years. Regularly, Florida is ranked the highest of all states as our country’s most desirable place to live. As a result, it is hard not to be enthusiastic about The Sarasota Real Estate Market’s capacity to grow.
Michael Saunders & Company recently released an article noting that in the Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte region, sales of all properties exceeded last year’s activity by 7%, with an increase in median values of 15%. Michael Saunders said that the growth in values were, “more than four times the region’s normal rate of annual appreciation.” According to TrendGraphix, price escalation since December 2010 has grown more than 40%. It is these persistent gains in pricing and significantly shortened list-to-sale time that are encouraging buyers to make their move into the market. While we are still in a seller’s market with tight inventories at all price segments, it is my hope that our sales pace does not slow as a result of inventory limitations. Rather, with market conditions expected to continue to be strong through our forecasted record-breaking tourist season, we anticipate that more sellers will be stimulated to get into the game to take advantage of the strong demand!
The following data reflects reporting through the local, state and national realtor associations, as well as a number of other statistical providers nationwide. With the real estate market representing one of Florida’s most important economic drivers, there is never a shortage of analysts and experts reading the tea leaves!
December Market Data
Total sales in December in the Sarasota Real Estate Market, and throughout the state of Florida were almost identical to the same month a year ago. Persistently strong sales throughout the year helped to push us to the highest total annual sales in any previous year on record. In the Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte area, last year more than 75 properties sold each day and median prices increased 15%! Michael Saunders & Co, reported that in our Southwest Florida region average days on market fell 20% to just 76 days, with properties priced over $1 million declining 42% to a remarkable 179 days.
- In Sarasota, December single-family closings increased 22% and condos rose 14% over November 2015.
- The year has been strong – total sales have grown 6% for the 12-months compared to 2014.
According to the Realtor Association of Sarasota Manatee, the pace of contract signings in December was down 8% from the previous year. The year ended though with the exact same number of pending sales as 2014 ended. Looking to another data source, Trendgraphix, pending sales in December were actually improved over prior year. Whichever statistics you choose, my on-the-ground experience is that buyer demand is up and peak season has yet to hit. I expect our sales pace to be strong this year, exceeding prior year for most months.
Experts have stated that 2016 may be the best year in recent history to sell your property. As mentioned previously, demand for Sarasota Real Estate has not wavered and is expected to gain even more traction as we move into the height of our selling season. Our busy spring season gives sellers the most exposure to buyers, allowing for the best price for their home sale. Economists have projected that nationally price appreciation may slow to 1-4%, while Florida is expected to increase around 5% in the year. If you are still sitting on the fence, give me a call and let’s see if it makes sense to dip a toe in the water this year.
- In December, single-family homes saw a median price of $239,900 vs. $195,500 a year ago, an increase of nearly 20%.
- Statewide, median price increased 11.6% compared to the same month in 2014, bringing single-family homes to a median price of $206,500.
- S. median prices increased 8% for the month for a total of $226,000.
- Sarasota’s condominium median sales price for the month was $217,000 vs. last year’s $177,500, another almost 20% increase.
- Florida’s median condo price was $156,500, up 5% over prior year.
- Median price for all U.S. sales was $209,900, an increase of 4.9% over December 2014.
- The average sale price for houses in Sarasota was $354,880 in December vs. $285,918 a year ago, a 20% increase. Sarasota homes sold at 95.4% of the list price.
- With condominiums, the average sale price was $281,534 vs. $257,090 a year ago and they sold at 94.7% of list price.
- 51% of the closed sales were paid in cash, broken down it was 69% of condos and 44% of single-family homes.
In December, Sarasota Real Estate inventory decreased slightly from November month-end. As the year ended, our inventory totals are only 2% less than the end of 2014, but 12% less than the end of 2013. Limited inventory will remain a challenge for the region, putting additional pressure on prices in the coming year. It is also causing the average days a property is on the market to contract. In the luxury segment where the majority of my transactions take place, average days from listing to sale has fallen 42% in the last year. Over the last five years, number of days on market for all price segments has fallen 46%.
- Total inventory in the area is currently at a 3.8 month supply based on our 2015 monthly sold average of 1,012 properties, well below a balanced market, which is defined by a 6-month supply of inventory.
- Properties under $500,000 have just 3 month’s supply.
- In the category $500,000 – $1 million, inventory is 7.5 months.
- For properties over $1 million, there is a 16-month supply, 43% less than the end of 2010.
The coming year will offer buyers and sellers much to watch. Will an election year have an effect on consumer confidence? Will interest rates, expected to rise less than 1%, have an impact on buyers? Will global unrest and less stable economies in some of our international “feeder” markets affect the flow of buyers? Based on the data I have analyzed, The Sarasota Real Estate Market is heading into the New Year in excellent shape – a result of stable growth and consistent demand – and I believe that despite many potential external influencers, our region has a soundness that will allow for continued expansion.
Perhaps it’s time for you to take action on your real estate plans – are you wanting to purchase a retirement or investment property? Is it time to move into the “lock-n-leave” condominium you’ve been thinking about? Ready to up-size or down-size? How about that neighborhood you’ve been longing for? Whether your plans call for buying and/or selling, after almost 35 years in Sarasota specializing in luxury real estate, it would be my pleasure to share my experience, knowledge and understanding of our unique market to help you meet your special needs.
The following statistical data is provided through the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee for properties throughout Sarasota County. The table summarizes what happened in each price segment. The Sold, Pending and Listed columns are sales and new listings for the month of the report, and the Pending Total and Listed Total are the current totals of each at the report’s month end.
SARASOTA COUNTY MARKET REVIEW – Year End 2015