Seller's Market Continues on Gulf Coast

Real Estate


High demand for homes on the Gulf Coast drove up median sales prices in Manatee and Sarasota counties for the month of July, according to data released by the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. The trend matches market activities in metropolitan areas around the country. But experts say it’s difficult to see whether the shift marks any signs for sales the rest of the year.

“There is no clear trend in the statistics to be able to say when the market might become more balanced or perhaps even shift to a buyer’s market,” says Xena Vallone, president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. “That would require either more properties on the market (inventory) or a decline in buyer demand for the shift to happen. We can’t predict consumer behavior, nor can we predict what the economy might do in the future.”

The media sales price for homes in Sarasota County rose to $260,000, 7.2 percent higher than the same month last year, while Manatee’s median sales price jumped to $300,000, up 7.1 percent. More modestly, the median price of townhouse and condominium units climbed in Sarasota to $214,175, a 4.5 percent rise from the prior year. In Manatee, condo and townhome units actually saw median price decline to $165,000, down 10.9 percent.

The inventory of homes remained scant in both counties, with just over a 4-month supply of homes available in either county—a 4.2-month supply in Manatee and a 4.1-month supply in Sarasota. The inventory of condos similarly was a 4.6-month supply in Sarasota and a 4.1-month supply in Manatee. Realtors traditionally consider a 6-month supply to be a balanced market, and for a market with more inventory than that to signal a buyer’s market.

But for now, the demand remains greater than supply on the Gulf Coast and in cities throughout the nation, causing home prices in most metro markets to ascend throughout the second quarter of the year, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

New listings don’t necessarily enlighten when the market may shift. With median prices rising, Manatee County in July saw a significant 18.4-percent increase in listings for single-family homes, but Sarasota County saw new listings decline by 1.7 percent. For condos, Sarasota saw a 2.2 percent bump in new listings compared to last year, while Manatee saw a 6-percent decrease.

Graphic courtesy Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee: Single Family Home trends for Sarasota County.

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