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SRQ DAILY Dec 6, 2014

Saturday Perspectives Edition

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Saturday Perspectives Edition

"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."

- Michael Moulton, Michael Saunders and Company

[What Beats?]  Odd Fellows
Diana Hamilton

It’s the last Sunday in November.  I’m putting up holiday lights at the old Odd Fellows Hall where I work as gardener general fixer upper for friends who fell in love with its history and

character enough to restore it and then open a law firm there on U.S. 301 about six car lengths from where it intersects with Fruitville Road. Across the way I notice several youngish men preparing for their own workday taking turns in shifts of two shambling along holding pitiful scrawled cardboard signs whose sad messages are specifically tuned to elicit voluntary donations, and the occasional “good luck man” from one of every 25 cars stopping at the light.

Stepping into the road to collect these offerings is against the law, and soon the police come to loudspeaker a warning, “get off the corner”. Sarasota Police Department regular procedure is to leave, then circle back, but before they can move a fella I recognize from when he was arrested in the law firm parking lot earlier in the year leaps into the road, dances around the car taunting the officers, then runs away. Such out-of-control behavior is not unusual. Working outside all around downtown I’ve witnessed similar antics, but today the players are more defiant, so much so that when wild man retakes his corner and gets himself arrested, his cohorts remain close by to chant curses at the officer, whose car is now up on the sidewalk only a curb edge away from heavy traffic. I watch in awe as he calmly guides the filthy squirming head beneath his hand safely into the back seat, then leaving his sector one car shy, he’s off to file the paperwork, as two more sign beggars begin their shift.00

A year ago, many of us, the Sheriff, the SPD and eight City/ County commissioners felt the wind was sure and strong at our backs, heading us toward a solution, if not to homelessness, at the very least to a workable alternative to jail for bringing those homeless we could humanely in off the street. We had hired a plain-speaking, connect-the-dots expert, Dr. Robert Marbut, to make a plan, and then as with most plans that pass through our city, on most things that might require leadership, due diligence and courage to succeed, we lost our nerve to the voices of fear and bureaucratic we-can’t-becauses until the wind died out from under us.

Now we’re stuck.

If I, an activist for the homeless, appear to lack empathy toward Sunday’s crowd of street hustlers, hear me; I don’t believe them any less homeless or less hungry than two men I witnessed yesterday eating out of a dumpster. What I do believe is this: our city has a reputation for being confused and hamstrung by our inadequacies, and our inability to make the correct choices has made us an easy mark and it will get worse.

If Dr. Marbut left nothing else behind in our collective consciousness it ought be this; we cannot arrest our way out of our problem. Homelessness is not a crime. The real crime lies in continuing to do nothing to improve the situation while pretending we can police it away, ultra-stressing our resources and placing our officers in harm's way working street corner arrests over cardboard signs.  

SRQ Daily Columnist Diana Hamilton, after living 35 years in Sarasota, labels herself a pragmatic optimist with radical humorist tendencies and a new found resistance to ice cream.

[Real Estate]  On Path For Sensible Market Growth
Michael Moulton

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

Sarasota's Finest Properties

[City]  History Repeats in Odd Fashion
Deborah Dart

It certainly seems appropriate this week to post pictures of the Hover Brothers' Arcade built in 1913 on Sarasota Bay at the foot of Main Street.  It was the seat of our government, Sarasota's City Hall for many, many years. 

 It was just this week that Sarasota's newly appointed City Commissioners took on one of their first major issues-a neighborhood sewer lift station.  All five commissioners voted to spend an outrageous sum of money to build none other than a replica of the Hover Brothers' Arcade building. This Disneyesque structure will house nothing more than the mechanics of one, yes, just one, of our neighborhood sewer lift stations. The sewer lift station is being located in Luke Wood Park.  Ironically a previous City Commission voted to locate this neighborhood lift station on this land that was gifted to the people of Sarasota in 1931 for the sole use as a recreational park. 

So here you have it in a nutshell! Our city tears down a perfectly good building on its bay front.  The city disregards the intended use of land generously gifted to them for all citizens to enjoy by relocating a sewer station to the middle of it and now they are going to recreate the building they tore down 47 years ago at an astronomical price to move our waste.

What's next?  I suppose when the next sewer lift station needs replacement our city can recreate the train depot and for the next one, The El Vernona / John Ringling Hotel or the Mira Mar. 

Deborah Dart posts for laurelparkhistoricdistrict.com

[SCOOP]  A Fresh Look for Forty Carrots Family Center

In its 21st year of serving families, Forty Carrots Family Center updated its agency logo to reflect the fresh growth taking place with new and expanded services.  The photo above is one of three Forty Carrots vans, used to deliver free Community Outreach parenting education, early childhood education and mental health services throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Sarasota-based Be Creative Studios designed the new logo for the agency, with the goal of honoring the brand’s legacy while preparing for the future. Founded in 1993, Forty Carrots Family Center is guided by a vision that all parents will provide their children with experiences and environments that are emotionally and physically safe so that they can grow into capable and caring young people.  In addition to its NAEYC-accredited Preschool and award-winning Parenting Center, the agency provided more than 845 free parenting education and mental health classes throughout the community last year. The agency is undertaking an expansion of its free Community Outreach Program, projecting a 40% increase in the number of free classes provided this year at 27 partner locations. 

Forty Carrots Family Center

[SCOOP]  LECOM Dental Clinic

Need dental care at an affordable cost? Would you like to receive high-quality care at a state-of-the-art facility? The LECOM School of Dental Medicine patient clinics are open to serve the needs of the community. To schedule an appointment, please call (941) 405-1600. 

LECOM School of Dental Medicine Patient Clinic

[SCOOP]  Goodwill Hosts Classroom On Wheels

Goodwill Manasota recently hosted three groups of visitors from “Classroom on Wheels,” a course in adult and community enrichment offered by Sarasota County Technical Institute. The program provided an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at Goodwill Manasota and the mission behind the donated goods business. “We are always looking for opportunities to connect with those in our community, and to teach them about our mission to change lives through the power of work,” said Bob Rosinsky, president & CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “It’s important to remember that the biggest champions of Goodwill are those who donate and shop, who don’t always realize that they are helping us to place people in jobs. This is a great way to remind them of why their donations and support means so much to us – they are helping us employ family, friends and neighbors in our local community.” During the three separate visits, 102 visitors learned about the history, mission and involvement of Goodwill Manasota, and enjoyed a tour of the retail store and corporate campus.  

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP]  A Taste of the Oceans - Mote Farm-Raised Caviar

Need the perfect uniquely Sarasota holiday gift for your foodie friends?  Surprise them with Mote Farm-Raised Caviar. This sumptuous Siberian sturgeon caviar is raised sustainably by Mote, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of the world’s oceans. Purchase it in person at Whole Foods (in Florida and many other regions nationwide) or through your favorite online caviar retailer, such as CaviarStar.com or BrowneTrading.com. 

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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