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July 2015 Record Sales Rate Remains Strong

Both Sarasota and Manatee counties continued to register record sales, stretching a trend starting in January of this year. During July 2015, there were 1,974 closings, which is a substantial increase from the July 2014 figure of 1,600, improving by an impressive 23.5 percent. Should this pace continue through the remaining months of this year, 2015 will clinch the top historical spot in sales records across the two-county region.

July fell just 9 transactions short of the June total in Sarasota County, hitting 1,174. That's very close to the all-time high record of 1,224 set in April of this year. Manatee County sales in July bested those of the same month in 2014 with 768, compared to 672, but still fell short from the 875 transactions recorded in June of this year.

"We are now riding a five month wave of positive real estate numbers and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. The health of the current market is sustainable, judging by the recovery of the overall national economy. The Sarasota-Manatee region is certainly reaping the benefits," Association President Stafford Starcher said.

Median Home Prices Sarasota and Manatee Counties continue to Rise and Fall in July

Though 2014 turned-in record sales levels, those figures have continued to show strength through the first seven months of 2015. Single family median home prices are just one example, in year-over-year figures. The median price in Sarasota for July 2015 came-in at $219,500, which represents an increase of 9.2 percent from July 2014, when the number stood at $201,000. However, it did not outpace June 2015, when the median price reached $230,000. In Manatee County, the single family home median price stood at $250,000, up 8.7 percent from July 2014, but also down from June of this year.

Condo median prices showed mixed results across the two counties, with one falling and the other rising. In Sarasota, the condo median price dropped to $190,000 from July 2014, when the price was $205,000. The median price for condo units in Manatee rose significantly over July 2014, hitting $152,000, an increase of 18.3 percent. Condo prices in Sarasota County fluctuate at a larger rate from month to month compared to single family properties.

Pending Sales Slightly Simultaneously Down, while Available Inventory Levels Fall

Pending sales across the two counties, which represents open and unsettled transactions between sellers and buyers, increased 3 percent from July 2014. Conversely, the number of pending transactions fell just under 5 percent from June 2015 to July 2015. This is a somewhat smaller fluctuation between these two months, as seasonal visitors return to their homes in the north and other parts of the country. This decreased variation could well signal the current real estate market is not only stable, but will continue to rise.

In Sarasota County, available inventory in July shrank 13.9 percent from the same month last year, with 3,373 active properties. In Manatee County, available inventory also fell, down 4 percent to 2,616 from July 2014. This creates upward pressure on listing prices in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, making for a seller's market.

"Historically, we have seen August sales mirror the July numbers or rise slightly, so I’m looking forward to more good news as we come into late summer and early fall. Declining inventory of course remains a concern, but as homeowners look at the overall picture and gain some perspective, we could see more prospective sellers jump off the fence and into this hot market," Starcher explained.

Market Equilibrium and Days on the Market

In both counties, levels stood between 3.3 and 3.9 months for condos, as well as single family properties. This demonstrates that market equilibrium remains well below the 6 month levels found in a balanced environment. The median days on the market dropped substantially in both counties, falling to between 45 days and 53 days in July. That's an impressive figure as July 2014 recorded a median days on the market ranging between 76 to 88.