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Strong Sarasota Sales Streak Continues Through May 2015

Both Sarasota and Manatee counties continue to post impressive real estate statistics, a trend following the last several months. At the current pace, the year 2015 could well post another record, breaking previous sales figures set earlier this year, as well as last year.

Residential real estate sales in Sarasota county came-in at 1,182, only 42 sales shy of April 2014. Likewise, Manatee County recorded 827 closed transactions, which represents fourteen more than April of this year, which posted a total of 813. It also bests May 2014 by an impressive 75 closed transactions, when sales totaled 752.

The trend is likely attributable to record low interest rates, still affordable home prices, an array of home loan products, loosened lending standards, and, new credit score modeling. In the past few months, the FAIR Isaac Corporation, the company which created and maintains consumer credit scores, lessened the impact of past due medical debts, and, designed a new credit score for the some 45 million consumers that do not have a credit score.

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

Historic high levels in both Sarasota and Manatee counties have been recorded for the past several months, with median home prices trending upwards. In May, the median sale price for homes in Sarasota County rose by 20 percent over May 2014. Near parity, the median home price for single family properties in Manatee County increased by 14.3 percent over May 2014. Condo median home prices increased by the same amount in Sarasota--20 percent. However, in Manatee County, median prices for condos rose just 1.5 percent.

“Many reports from experts across the nation point to the growth in employment as the leading fundamental behind this surge. Jonathan Smoke, the chief economist at the website, recently reported that there is no evidence of a housing bubble, and he noted more than three million jobs were created in the last year. He said we could experience the highest national sales since 2006," Association President Stafford Starcher explained.

The median sales price in Sarasota County for single family homes hit $230,000, which is a marked increase from May 2014, when the figure stood at $191,500. Condo median prices came in at $210,000, also a substantial increase from May 2014, when the figure stood at $175,000. Manatee County single family resident median prices also rose to $257,111, up from the May 2014 figure of $225,000. Likewise, median prices for condos in Manatee County saw a gain, rising to $160,000, in May 2014, the number stood at $157,600.

Pending Sales Decrease while Inventory Levels Drop, Giving Sellers an Advantage

Pending sales were the only category in May that trended lower, falling to 949. In April, the number of pending sales stood at 1,127 in Sarasota County. While in Manatee County, pending sales were also down, falling to 667 from 770 in April. This actually represents a familiar pattern across both Manatee and Sarasota counties, because seasonal residents return to their primary homes. Such a decline means that future closed transactions will be less robust in the subsequent months, restarting another familiar pattern across the two county region.

Inventory in both counties remained well below the 6 month level that represents market equilibrium between sellers and buyers. Figures range between 3.8 and 4.3 months in Manatee and Sarasota, keeping sellers at an advantage. This is also reflected in less average days to closings as well as median sales prices.

Distressed Properties Fall Again in May and Help Home Prices Rise

Distressed properties, or, short sales and foreclosures, fell to just 8.6 of total active inventory in Sarasota County, and represented only 6.7 percent in Manatee County. This is a marked decrease from recent months, when the number of distressed properties made-up about 20 percent of all active listings.

“Once again, the market statistics are clearly showing the strength and vitality of Sarasota and Manatee counties. We are living in a golden era for local real estate, and the future continues to look bright,” Starcher said.