The pace of Sarasota County's recovering real estate market showed no signs of relenting going into 2014.
According to data released Friday by the Sarasota Association of Realtors, new listings in Sarasota County were up substantially in January 2014, sending the total inventory to a 32-month high, up 10.6% from December 2013, highlighting the market's ongoing recovery.
Inventory levels are now 30% above the recent low in July 2013, only six months ago.
The area's continually improving real estate market has also lured many Realtors back to Sarasota County who relocated during the economic downturn following the 2008 housing market crash.
The median sale price for single family homes was up 21.3% and for condos was up 17.1% compared with January 2013. While prices are markedly higher than last year at this time, the rate of change has remained stable. The steady nature of the median sales price is another indicator of a healthy market, SAR representatives said, referring to the wild fluctuations and unsustainable price appreciation that was experienced in the period from 2004 to 2006.
The 12-month rolling median, which moderates monthly swings, for single family homes was $187,000 in January 2014, up about 20% from last year at this time. For condos the rolling median was $165,000, up 10% over last year’s figure at the same date.
“The Sarasota County real estate market saw near record sales last spring, so anything approaching that level would be welcome news,” said Sarasota Association of Realtors President Peter Crowley in a statement. “The fundamentals of the market would certainly indicate a solid spring ahead. The state tourism level just hit a record high. We have had a mild winter while the northern states have experienced heavy snowstorms, and that tends to drive the level of visitors up. Once people see what Sarasota has to offer, many tend to want to relocate. And that’s where our members can certainly help.”
Sales of distressed properties represented 24.9% of overall sales in January 2014, up slightly from December 2013, but much lower than the 50% level experienced in 2011. The current inventory includes about 12.1% distressed properties, down from the 12.5% in December.
“Our real estate market is a bright spot in an economy that has turned the corner,” Crowley added. “The strength of the market helps produce many jobs, in the real estate field and also in many other businesses that supply goods and services to the home industry. It’s really great news for everyone when home sales are up. The unemployment rate drops, salaries tend to rise, and families prosper.”
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