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April 2015 Sales Hit All-Time High

This April proved to be the most active month on record, bringing-in more sales than ever, even to the point of exceeding figures posted in the previous record, set in the same month in 2004. This month outpaced the highest level of sales in Sarasota County by a single transaction. In the month of April, sales totaled 1,224, comprised of 791 closed transactions for single family homes, and, 433 condo sales. In Manatee County, sales came in at a total of 813, with 539 being single family residences, and, 274 condo units. Though the Manatee numbers aren't a record, they are nonetheless higher than recent months. The historic activity is due to a number of factors, including but not limited to: low interest rates, loosened lending standards, new credit score modeling, inventory levels, and rising, yet still affordable prices.

For the past several months, sales in both Manatee and Sarasota counties have steadily been near the top of historical levels. March 2015 sales came just shy of the all-time record in Sarasota County, while in Manatee County, sales totals trended higher than recent years. For the first time in eleven years, sales in Sarasota exceeded the previous level, and though Manatee didn't break its previous record, it did rise to a very high level. For all-time annual highs, both counties are expected to exceed yearly records.

"The Sarasota-Manatee region is one of the hottest markets in the nation because we have tremendous weather, an amazing natural environment, great business climate, good schools, exceptional shopping, and unmatched cultural amenities. The fact that people want to move here and buy property here is no surprise, and we are no longer a secret in the national and international marketplace," Association President Stafford Starcher explained.

Median Home Prices Up across both Sarasota and Manatee Counties in April

Median sales prices in Sarasota County were on the upswing, reaching $221,990, or, 13.1 percent above the same number last April for single family homes, which came in at $196,250. Condo prices also recorded a yearly increase, up to $191,400, a bump of 4.3 percent over last April when the median price stood at $183,500.

"This is truly a historic time for our real estate market, and residents and visitors alike should be exploring their options when it comes to buying and selling homes and condos," said Starcher.

Pending Sales Positioned Positively while Inventory Levels Show Sellers Still have the Upper Hand

In both Sarasota and Manatee counties, future sales, which can be estimated based on pending sales, are still healthy. There were 1,127 pending sales in April in Sarasota County, nearly identical to March's figure, but, way above last April's number. Pending inventory in Sarasota climbed to a total of 1,713. In Manatee County, new pending sales fell to 770, a decrease from March, but representing an increase of 6 percent from the same month last year. Pending inventory in Manatee came in at a total of 1,151 properties.

Inventory levels show that sellers have the upper hand in the market, which is being reflected in rising median prices. April's inventory supply measured between 4.2 and 4.5 months for both Manatee and Sarasota, which is well below the 6 month level that represents parity between home buyers and sellers.

Distressed Properties Fall Again and Help Home Prices Rise

Continuing a long trend in both counties is the steady fall of available distressed properties, which are comprised of short sales and foreclosures. In April, there were only 15.6 percent distressed properties sold on the market in Sarasota County and just 15.7 percent in Manatee County. Last year during the month of April, distressed properties represented in excess of 20 percent of closed transactions in Sarasota, while Manatee recorded 25 percent distressed property sales.

Of all inventory, listings of distressed properties made-up 6 percent of all available properties in Sarasota County, and, Manatee recorded a similar number, with 7 percent. This marks a major shift as fewer distressed properties cause a rise in home values and sales prices.