Last month Sarasota County saw real estate sales attain a seven year high, a level not seen since September 2005. Pending sales reached the highest level in 12 months, confirming that the current market surge will continue for the next few months.
Another clear sign of a strengthening market is the median sales price. For condos the median price was $192,000, an 11 percent increase on March 2011’s figures. The average sales price for single family homes was $174,000, 9.8 percent higher than last March. The number of distressed properties fell to 32 percent from 37.4 percent in February, a three year low, which accounts for the recent price resurgence. All of this is positive news for the local economy as home sales are a catalyst for more jobs, higher salaries and a better standard of living.
A drop in available inventory of homes is another positive sign. The level of 4,463 is close to the decade low figure of 4,408 in August 2011, and the combination of high sales and low inventory has dropped the months of inventory to an eight year low. A well balanced real estate market has an average inventory of 6 months so a lack of available housing will most likely push prices up.
We have not seen 4.8 months of inventory since 2004 for single family homes and 6.7 months inventory for condos.
Single family home prices are now 21.4 percent higher than the low of the market reached 13 months ago, while condo prices are almost 30 percent higher.
Currently distressed listings equate to 15 percent of the market. If the percentage continues to trend lower, we could begin to see median sales price increase going forward.
Jane Ebury –