Sales in Sarasota market continue hot pace
The May 2012 numbers are in, and property sales in the Sarasota market once again topped 800 for the third consecutive month. The 854 closed transactions was the second highest total since September 2005, and according to the Sarasota Association of Realtors, this demonstrates a market that has recovered to levels not seen since the 2003-2005 real estate surge in Sarasota.
The breakdown was 591 single-family homes and 263 condominiums. Sales were 7.2 percent higher than May 2011’s 796 closed transactions. Sales were slightly below the April 2012 figure of 886, which was the highest total in seven years. According to SAR, the normal seasonal influx of buyers tends to drop shortly after the Easter holiday, when northern residents begin to exodus the area.
Pending sales remained at the very high level of 1,075, almost the same as April’s total of 1,068. It was the fourth straight month that topped 1,000. Last year’s spring surge didn’t slow down until July, and according to SAR, the numbers indicate continued strength in the current market dynamics.
“I’ve spoken to many agents who are having a tremendous 2012,” said SAR President Laura Benson. “This is certainly the right time to be in the real estate industry in Sarasota. Interest rates hit record lows in May, prices remain relatively low compared to the record surge from 2003 to 2005, and all the wonderful attributes of Sarasota are attracting buyers from across the nation, and the world.”
The median sales price for single-family homes was $185,000, the highest level since July 2009. Last month’s figure was $175,000. The median sales price for condos was $180,750, a drop from April’s figure of $191,750. Both figures were much higher than the 12-month running median prices, $165,000 for single-family homes and $160,000 for condos.
Single-family home prices remained at a level 34 percent higher than the low 14 months ago ($137,500), while condo prices are more than 40 percent higher than the low ($127,000). The reason for the price resurgence remains likely related to the lower number of distressed property sales, according to SAR.
The total number of distressed sales, foreclosures and short sales, remained around 31 percent, the lowest level in three years. The available inventory of homes dropped to a new decade low of 3,917, dropping 8.5 percent from the April figure of 4,283. High sales and low inventory has also dropped the months of inventory to new 10-year lows. The May figures are 4.3 months of inventory for single-family homes and 5.2 months inventory for condos.