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Sarasota February Real Estate Sales Step Up

February 2015 recorded a very active real estate month, with sales steadily rising, along with median home prices, as distressed properties remained about one-fifth of all listings. January 2015 kicked off the new year with plenty of good news, continuing a long-running trend of a fully recovering real estate market in both Sarasota and Manatee counties. This could easily mean a busy spring season, and, going further into the rest of the year.

In Sarasota, there were a total of 837 closings, with single family homes accounting for 585 transactions and 252 being condos. These numbers represent an increase of 12.3 percent, up from 743 in January of this year. In Manatee county, there were 593 closed transactions in February, of which, 428 were single family properties, while 165 were condo units. This is also an increase from January of 6.1 percent or up from 559 transactions.

“Once the holidays have passed, home shoppers jumped off the fence and started signing contracts. We are now above the record pace of sales experienced in 2014, and the pending transactions would indicate the current pace isn’t going to slow in the foreseeable future,” said Stafford Starcher, President of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.

Median Home Prices Remain Very Strong Across Sarasota and Manatee Counties in February

Median home prices continued to climb, and were especially improved over the same month last year. In Sarasota County, the median price for a single family residence came-in at $196,000, which is also better than January 2015, when the median price was at $190,000. It's also above the December 2014 figure of $195,000. Last February in Sarasota County, the median single family property price stood at just $185,000. For condo units, the median price in February reached $187,500, an increase of 10.3 percent, which is up from the January 2015 figure of $185,000.

Median home prices in Manatee County in the month of February rose to an astounding $256,750, which is an increase of an incredible 16.7 percent from February 2014, when the median single family home price stood at $220,000. Condos in Manatee county saw their median price rise 12.6 percent from $135,000 last year to $152,000.

These strong numbers clearly demonstrate a robust and healthy market and while interest rates remain at near historic lows, and the Federal Reserve has just released a statement that it will not pursue any changes. This means that mortgage interest rates will stay incredibly low, allowing more buyers opportunity.

Pending Sales and Inventory Levels Show Remarkable Strength

Future, or pending sales in the month of February also saw a climb from January of this year in both Sarasota and Manatee counties. There were a total of 1,046 pending sales in the month of February in Sarasota County, up from 995 in January. Future sales in Manatee County reached 685 pending transactions, up a little from the January total of 677. In both Sarasota and Manatee counties, the figures were above the same category the same time last year.

Inventory levels remained steady from January to February in both Manatee and Sarasota counties. There were a total of 4,439 available properties in February in Sarasota County, up from 4,385 in January. In Manatee County, the number of available properties rose slightly in February up to a total of 3,166, an increase from the January figure of 3,106.

“Properties in the two counties are selling at a high pace, and prices are on the rise, which tells us we are experiencing a healthy, vibrant market. The inventory totals have leveled off, which means we could see even higher prices going forward, based on the laws of supply and demand,” explained Association President Stafford Starcher.

Distressed Properties Rise Slightly but Remain a Small Portion of the Market

Foreclosures and short sales, which constitute distressed properties, were about one-fifth of all property transactions in February in both Sarasota and Manatee counties. While the levels remain about the same as January, these figures are nowhere near the percentages of several years ago. In Sarasota County, 20.2 of all sales involved distressed properties, while in Manatee County, distressed property sales constituted 21.2 of all transactions.