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Sarasota March Real Estate Market Inventory, Median Prices Rise, Sales Mixed

The March 2016 real estate market in both Sarasota and Manatee counties continues to record mixed results, with inventories steadily on the increase, along with median home prices rising. However, closed transactions demonstrate a variety. The overall local market stays healthy and there are definite signs indicating more growth. Such fluctuations are completely normal for a vibrant real estate market and aren't entirely unexpected, given 2015 to be a record-breaking year. Though figures are up in some categories and down in others, the market remains solid.

Median Home Sale Prices continue to Rise

One indication of the market's health in Sarasota and Manatee are the continuing rise of median sales prices. During the month of March, the median sales price increased across both Manatee and Sarasota counties. In the single family category, the median sales price in Sarasota County rose 17.4 percent to $244,000. Manatee County likewise recorded an increase in the single family home median sales price category, up slightly, 1.8 percent to $269,735. Condo median sales prices also rose in both counties. Sarasota recorded an increase of 8.4 percent in condo median sales price, up to $196,000; while Manatee experienced a more moderate increase of just 2.2 percent, rising to $160,000 over the same month last year.

Inventory Up across Sarasota, Manatee Counties

Inventory demonstrates momentum in both counties, climbing up 5.6 percent in single family properties in Sarasota County from March 2015. Manatee County experienced a similar rise of 5 percent in single family residences over March of last year. Condo inventory in both counties also rose, increasing by 22.1 percent in Sarasota, and 21.5 percent in Manatee, in a year-over-year comparison.

In addition, the months' supply of inventory combined from Manatee and Sarasota counties is between 4.7 to 5.4, compared to 4.5 to 4.8 for the same time last year. This statistic represents the amount of time it would likely take to sell all active real estate listings in the two county area. By comparison, six months is considered to represent a balanced market. When lower than six months, the market favors sellers, while over six months favors buyers.

“The moderate inventory increase is encouraging as it translates to more options for potential buyers. In the broad picture, we are seeing a return to normalization, however in price points under $400,000, inventory is tight, selling quickly, and resulting in multiple offers,” Linda Formella, Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee President, explained.

Top Home Sales in March

Top five luxury homes closed in March, two of which were in Sarasota, one on Siesta Key, one on Casey Key, and one in Lakewood Ranch:

  • 1201 Hillview Dr 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths $5,250,000

  • 2315 Casey Key Rd 3 bedrooms, 4 full baths $4,026,790

  • 14406 Anchorage Place 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths, 1 half bath $3,981,000

  • 7360 Point of Rocks Rd 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths, 1 half bath, $3,900,000

  • 3657 San Remo Ter, 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths, 3 half baths $3,668,000

Real Estate Sales Show Mixed Results

The first three months of 2016 appear to signal normalization of the local Sarasota and Manatee real estate markets in the category of sales. Fluctuation remains part of the dynamic since the year began. Sarasota County experienced a rise in single family home sales of an impressive 33.9 percent over the month of February, recording a total of 765 closed transactions. However, this figure is slightly down in comparison to March 2015, falling off by 2.9 percent. In Manatee County, single family home sales rose from February, with 522 closed transactions, or, an increase of 26.8 percent. Although, these represent a decline of 5.4 percent from March 2015.

Condo sales varied in both Sarasota and Manatee counties in the month of March. Sarasota County recorded an increase of 24.4 percent with 364 sales in closed condominium transactions over February; though dipped 11.7 percent from March 2015. Manatee County closed condominium transactions were up by 28.2 percent over February, posting 273 sales, while besting March 2015 by 11 percent.

Distressed Property Sales Remain a Small Percentage of Overall Sales

Another healthy market sign in the number of distressed property sales, which consist of foreclosures and short sales. Single family distressed sales across both Sarasota and Manatee accounted for just 10.3 percent of all closed transactions, a stark contrast to March 2015, when distress properties represented 20 percent of all sales. Distressed condo sales were also down to only 4.4 percent, about half of last year's 8.66 percentage. Only a few years ago, nearly half, 48 percent of all closed transactions involved distressed properties.