The Sarasota Real Estate Market continued its stable track in April.  Inventory woes are being replaced with encouraging signs of a consistent flow of new listings – both existing and new construction – median prices are rising at a healthy pace, and sales maintained a steady course.

While sales data showed that total sales of single-family homes and condominiums in Sarasota during April were about 9% below 2015, in the luxury tier (above $1 million) sales were virtually equal to last year.  The biggest impact on the sales statistics is taking place in the under $200,000 price tier where volume has fallen 42% for homes and 29% for condominiums.  As noted in last month’s Moulton Sarasota Real Estate Report, the depletion of inventory of distressed homes is skewing the data to make it appear that sales are falling, however, I believe we are sustaining sales momentum in the “traditional” housing market.

One of the keys to the Sarasota Real Estate Market’s strength lies in inventory, and finally there appears to be a steady flow of product coming to market.  This is important in helping to slow the pace of price escalation as well as having properties available for our busy summer season ahead.

For the last several years our market has recorded more closed sales in the months of June – September than the periods of January – April when the area swells with tourists and part-time residents.  With 29% more condominiums available priced over $1 million and 7% more homes in the same price tier, the market where the majority of my listings and sales occur is primed and ready for an expected active summer.  There is also good potential in the mid-tier of $400,000-999,000, where inventory has grown by 14% in the last year.

Despite news of softening sales over these last several months, when put into perspective with the changing distressed homes situation, where low priced inventory was being picked up by investors, I believe we have fundamentally stable conditions.  The mid- and top-tiers of the Sarasota Real Estate Market are performing soundly with increases of 7% and 20% respectively over prior year.
  • In Sarasota, April single family home sales decreased 7% compared to April 2015 and condominium sales fell 12%.
    • U.S. real estate sales in April rose 6.2% for single-family homes and 4.9% for condos.
    • Florida’s housing transactions had .6% fewer single-family home sales and 5.3% fewer condo sales.
    • Naples is our closest competitor for buyers.  In April single-family home sales fell 14% and condo sales were down 24%.
  • According to the Realtor Association of Sarasota Manatee, the pace of pended sales in April was down 4% from March but down 23% from the previous year.  This is a metric that is important to monitor since it tends to be a predictor of closings over the next 30-90 days.
  • All cash sales in Sarasota continue to be strong with 50% of the monthly transactions closed without a mortgage.  41% of single-family and 66% of condos sales were all cash.  These numbers represent one of the highest rates of cash transactions in the country in our sized region.  By comparison, the national average of cash transactions was 24% of all sales.
Median prices in the Sarasota Real Estate Market continue to climb at double-digit rates.  However, compared to the peak of the market, prior to the housing crash, single-family homes and condominiums remain about 40% below the crest.  With a steady flow of new homes and condos as well as existing properties coming on the market, we should see gains in prices, though as we are easing closer to stabilized conditions, price growth is expected to slow a bit.
  • In April, Sarasota’s single-family homes were sold at a median price of $250,000 vs. $221,990 a year ago, an increase of 12%.
    • Florida median price for a single-family home is reported to be up 9.2% over last year, to $213,000.
    • Nationally, single-family homes sold at 6.2% more than last year and are $233,700.
    • Naples homes are selling for a median price of $434,000, a 16% increase over prior year.
  • Sarasota’s condominium median sale price for the month was $218,000 vs. $191,400 last year, an increase of 14%.
    • Florida’s median condominium price in April was $160,000.
    • The U.S. median for a condominium was $223,300, a 6.8% increase over April 2015.
    • Naples condo prices were $262,000 last month, exactly the same as prior year.
  • The average sale price for houses in Sarasota was $332,692 in April vs. $320,842 a year ago, a 4% increase.  Sarasota homes sold at 95% of the list price.
  • Sarasota’s condominiums sold for an average price of $376,033 vs. $287,026 a year ago, a 31% increase.  Several high-end new construction condominiums on Longboat Key closed in April, contributing to the increased average sales price over last year.  With several luxury condominium projects currently under construction, I expect this trend to continue through the end of the year.
As has been discussed several times already in this report, our inventory is finally showing signs of relief from the terrible deficiency we had during the last few years. The National Association of Home Builders reported last week that their recent member poll indicated they were “cautiously confident” in the market and expect the robust introduction of new homes and condos to continue.  Based on the national, regional and local reports of projects in approval stages and under construction, it seems that the growth in inventory is set to continue for some time.  I also believe that home sellers who had not listed their properties for sale are finally seeing that by waiting to put their home on the market, with price escalation continuing at a brisk pace, they are only causing themselves to have to pay more for their next home.  This dynamic is helping to bring additional existing home inventory into play.
  • Available inventory has increased 21% since the beginning of this year, equal between houses and condominiums.
  • Total inventory in the Sarasota Real Estate Market is reported to be at a 5-month supply based on the average monthly sales total for the first four months of this year, nearly a balanced market which is defined by a 6-month supply of inventory.
    • Properties under $500,000 have a 4 month’s supply.
    • In the category $500,000 – $1 million, inventory is 10 months.
    • For properties over $1 million, there is a 17-month supply.
Sarasota provides such a wonderful and unique “microclimate,” offering an attractive quality of life and a healthy economy.  The typically busy summer months should bring a steady stream of eager buyers into the Sarasota Real Estate Market.  Low interest rates are expected to continue, and as prices are rising in most markets around North America home equity has risen to a point where I think buyers are ready to pull the trigger.  With the fundamentals of our market all in good health, there is momentum to maintain its growth trajectory.

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