Luxury Market Interest Surging

Real Estate

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING WEDNESDAY AUG 6, 2014

Murray Homes, a luxury homebuilder in Sarasota, has turned most of its attention toward waterfront properties in the region, but on Tuesday announced it would expand into Lakewood Ranch, building homes in the exclusive community The Lake Club. Officials with the company say in recent months, demand for higher-end homes in the inland community has surged. 

“We are confident the Lakewood Ranch community will benefit from our customer-centric approach and 20 years’ expertise in the luxury home building market,” said Steve Murray, president of Murray Homes.

The move is just the most recent signal from builders and real estate leaders that the luxury market in Southwest Florida has entered a period of high-cost transactions. Murray Homes, which will be the exclusive builder in Staysail Court in The Lake Club, will sell homes with a starting price range of $1.2 million (on land that will cost an additional $250,000 or more). The first model will open in Spring 2015.

But there is plenty of attention for high-end builders and buyers for projects both near and far from the water. KJIMS Homes, in partnership with Homes by DeRamo, has a spec home under construction on Siesta Key (pictured) that should be finished in December and listed for $3.7 million. "It's a beautiful piece of property on Roberts Point, and we’re extremely confident the timing is right to find a buyer who's looking for luxury on the water," says Jeanie Donahue, sales director for KJIMS Homes. The two-story home will have five bedroom suites, each with a full bathroom, and the second floor will have three covered balconies. 

And that may be one one of the modest mansions under construction on Siesta. Karen Melk earlier this year sold a home for a record $10.25 million. Melk, who built the home with her husband, listed the home as a Realtor with Michael Saunders and Company, which said the sale turned out to be the all-time highest residential sale ever on the key.

Melk said since Christmas, Sarasota has seen a surge in interest from buyers interested in homes costing $7 million or more. "They show up and could spend as much as $14 million or $15 million," Melk said. "That confidence has returned and people feel good about investing in Sarasota at that level." Melk feels good enough about the state of the luxury market she and her husband are now building another home on Siesta and expect to get more than $10 million for that project as well.

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