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Sarasota December 2015 Real Estate Sales Cap New Yearly Record

sarasota_skylineReal estate sales in December 2015 closed-out a record-setting year for both Sarasota County and Manatee County, the latest figures reveal. The previous yearly record was bested by 2015 with 1,302 more sales than all of 2014 or both counties. Last year posted an all-time record of 20,691 sales, with 1,671 closing in December 2015 in both Sarasota and Manatee counties. That constitutes an increase of 28 percent over November 2015, but, is slightly lower than December 2014 sales totals. During all of 2014, there were a total of 19,389 residential homes sold, a trend that continues to signal a very strong and long-lasting recovery.

“These truly are exciting times for the real estate community, and reflects the hard work and dedication of our Realtor members, Our industry has been steadily and soundly rebuilding and I am so proud of our professional Realtors and all the industries that support the real estate community,” said Linda Formella, President of the 2016 Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. All of this data bodes well for the new year as January through April are among the most active real estate sales months in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Median Home Prices Increase in Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Median home prices rose again in both counties. In Sarasota, the single family median home price reached $239,900, a 22 percent increase, while in Manatee, single family residences reached a median price of $262,963, or, a 12 percent increase. At parity in Sarasota County were condos, also achieving an increase of 22 percent, rising to a median price of $217,000. In Manatee County, the median condo price rose moderately by 6 percent, reaching $178,249.

Inventory and Pending Sales

One factor driving up median home prices is low inventory. In both Sarasota County, available single family residential home inventory fell by 2.8 percent, while in Manatee County, single family housing inventory dropped by 3.2 percent, in comparison with December 2014. Condo unit inventory figures were mixed across the two neighboring counties, with Sarasota's inventory decreasing by just 1 percent and Manatee's increasing by 4 percent.

Pending sales, which represent real estate transactions yet to close, fell by 11.3 percent combined in Sarasota and Manatee for single family homes. However, pending sales of condo units remained unchanged, year-over-year. Such an environment puts more competition among buyers, who might have trouble finding the right property and could even create multiple offer situations on homes currently listed for sale. Of course, this market favors sellers, who are likely to see a larger return-on-investment.

Homes Sold in December

Top five luxury homes closed in December, two of which were West of the Trail in Sarasota, One on Siesta Key, One on Longboat Key and one on Anna Maria:

  • 1814 Roland Street -- 4 bedrooms, 4 full baths -- $5,000,000

  • 3040 1378 Harbor Drive -- 4 bedrooms, 5 full baths, 3 half-bath -- $4,200,000

  • 807 N Shore Drive -- 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths, 1 half-bath -- $3,750,000

  • 850 Mangrove Point Road -- 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths -- $3,500,000

  • 611 Bowsprit Lane -- 4 bedrooms, 4 full baths -- $3,250,000

Market Equilibrium and Distressed Properties

Market equilibrium continues to be off it's healthy six month inventory level, which represents near-parity between buyers and sellers. The supply is only at 3.8 months in Sarasota County and 3.9 months in Manatee. Both are about 36 percent below equilibrium level. However, sales remain robust and with interest rates still near historic lows, now is a great time to buy, particularly after the decision by the Federal Reserve to raise rates incrementally.

“2015 has been such an exciting and historic year for our two-county area. We live and work in paradise and more and more people want to be a part of it. I am looking forward to a healthy year of steady growth in 2016,” Formella said.

Distressed properties as a percentage of all available homes for sale continues to shrink to a smaller share, another sign of a healthy real estate market. Distressed properties, which consist of foreclosures and short-sales, continue to decline as a percentage, with single family sales down by 49 percent in Sarasota compared to last year and 46 percent in Manatee. Likewise, distressed condo sales in Sarasota County were down 25 percent and 47 percent in Manatee County. In both counties, distressed property sales accounted for just 195 transactions, a mere 12 percent of all recorded sales.