On Path For Sensible Market Growth

Real Estate

BY MICHAEL MOULTON SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY DEC 6, 2014

The Sarasota Real Estate Market continues to show signs of being more like a long distance runner than a sprinter.  The consistent growth month-to-month and compared to previous year is impressive.  The year has seen few spikes in sales, price, inventory and other indicators, but has seen steady improvement in all areas that I monitor to determine the market's stability and sustainability.  October data is just in and it presents remarkable results.

Across the west coast of Florida sales were strong.  While the fall months can often be somewhat unexceptional, this year was anything but.

  • For the fifth time this year, Sarasota's sales were above 1,000 units, reaching a total of 1011.
  • Sales in Sarasota were 23.3 percent higher than October 2013.
  • Sarasota's Real Estate Sales were the highest recorded for the month in the last 10 years and nearly 2.5 times higher than the low recorded in 2007.
  • In the first 10 months of 2014 total sales have exceeded the same period last year by 2.2 percent.
  • While Sarasota is on track to achieve an all-time record of annual sales for 2014, the rest of the country is not seeing such dramatic improvement.
  • The National Association of Realtors reported that October was the first sales increase over prior year seen in 2014, with a modest improvement of 2.5 percent.
  • Florida real estate sales in October exceeded previous year by 17.8 percent.

Housing prices in Sarasota have maintained a healthy growth pattern and, according to data collected by Trendgraphix, every month over the last year saw price increases over prior year.  The steady and moderate pace of rising prices is contributing to the overall market strength.

  • The median single-family home sale price in Sarasota in October was $195,000, which is an increase of 4.5 percent over prior year and within a range analysts believes to be controlled and sustainable.
  • Condominium prices in the Sarasota Real Estate Market were nearly equal to prior year setting a median price point of $175,000.
  • Using a 12-month cumulative average, which lessens the sharper impact of seasonal peaks and valleys, the Sarasota market has seen single-family home prices rise 10 percent and condominiums 12 percent over prior year. 
  • In comparison, median prices statewide have increased a total of 4.6 percent over last year.
  • Nationally, median home prices rose 5.6 percent and condominiums were up 4.5 percent over last year.  The NAR states this was the 32nd consecutive month of price gains.

Real Estate Market analysts and financial experts continue to be bullish on the expanding economy and homeowner rising equity, which will help Sarasota to see a strong finish to 2014 and a peak selling season ahead that may push our region to more record-setting sales levels.

Though much of my business occurs in the luxury level where many buyers are not as affected by interest rates, I believe that even these cash-rich buyers will be encouraged to take advantage of the generation-low rates.  Based on the buyers that I have been working with over the last several months, I believe that the number of "opportunistic buyers" in our region are being replaced by very serious buyers and sellers who are making life and family decisions on homes that they plan to enjoy for many years to come.

As we approach the end of the year, and I reflect on the long road of recovery that we have traveled, I feel confident in saying the path we are on is one of sensible and sustainable growth.  The Sarasota Real Estate Market is not only very healthy, but also in a position to prosper despite the ever-changing economic climate and client landscape.  Now is an ideal time as either a buyer or seller to engage, and I look forward to assisting my current and future clients make the best possible decisions for their personal real estate needs.

Michael Moulton is a certified residential specialist broker-associate with Michael Saunders and Company

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