Today “Home” is More Important Than Ever.

Guest Correspondence

In light of the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 by implementing a “shelter-at-home” policy, we have all had ample time to think about what is important to us in our residences, the outdoor spaces around us and the communities we live in.

For my wife Katie and I, we are so very grateful to have chosen to live in a condominium filled with light, spacious and with beautiful views of our many Sarasota assets including Sarasota Bay and The Gulf, and large terraces to watch sunrises and sunsets.

Even in this quiet environment, downtown Sarasota offers its condominium and single-family home residents easy access to great walking routes some with spectacular outdoor art installations or gorgeous views and charming neighborhoods, amazing restaurants that have been preparing fabulous take-out dining, excellent and safe options for groceries when we need them – and wonderful people.

In reaching out to my current and past clients, close friends, or chatting (at a distance) with my golf mates I have heard a common refrain – how comfortable they are in their “shelter” environment – or not. This situation has prompted several to question if they have too much space, too little property, they wish they were in a better climate if their primary residence is elsewhere, or were closer to family.

While the Sarasota Real Estate Market continued to show a healthy pace of sales and price growth in March, the number of contracts signed for future closings and number of new listings fell considerably. Yet, even though those statistics were down about 30% from March 2019, the activity was still pretty solid and more like a typical September level of business than our normal high-pace spring activity.

Yes, when the data from April comes out, it also will be expected to show considerable declines from previous years. But I do believe that the demand for Sarasota Real Estate will be even greater as the market recovers. Though consumers at all levels have slashed spending on non-essential goods, when it comes to real estate investment, especially at the higher price points, activity is expected to recover rather quickly.

And again, based on my conversations with past and current clients and general conversation with real estate savvy acquaintances, they are already viewing properties online, thinking about how to prepare their current residence for sale and reviewing all options for moving their primary residence to our beautiful community.

A month ago, it seemed impossible for most of us to imagine how much we could accomplish working from home. Now with remote working tested and many finding how much both online meetings and tech tools can assist us, and in some cases brought us even closer together, I expect those who were previously on the fence about relocating their business to our region will consider the option more seriously.

As always, I have reviewed the many resources available to us for both data and expert forecasts. My analysis of the indications and projections is that we have another 30-60 days of softer sales activity, lower available inventory and fewer properties going under contract, and a continuing moderate increase in prices.

Based on prior economic downturns, which were not attributed to the housing industry as in 2008, real estate becomes the spur that helps the overall economic recovery. As an optimist, I believe that the recovery curve will ease upward in 60-90 days and within months our Sarasota Real Estate Market activity will be on the move towards pre-crisis levels.

Consumer confidence in real estate has not waned during this crisis, and we have been reminded how very important our homes are to our safety, health and well-being… now more than ever.

To all those who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus, I send my sincerest wishes for your comfort. To our front-line workers supporting both the health and safety of our communities and residents, and the amazing service professionals coming to work every day to provide us with necessary supplies, and the immense caring and generosity of so many Americans, thank you!

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

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