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East County Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 2 weeks ago

East County realtors expect strong market in 2020

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Realtors Donna Soda, Gloria Bracciano, Holly Pascarella expect growth to continue.
by: Brendan Lavell General Assignment Reporter

After flipping the calendar to a new decade, Donna Soda of The Soda Group, Gloria Bracciano of Michael Saunders & Company and Holly Pascarella of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate talked about their expectations for the East County real estate market in 2020.

What is looking hot for 2020?

Soda: “Contemporary, West Indies, coastal is definitely still very, very hot, and that's what most people are gravitating to. The greys, the beiges, and then they can add the artwork for the color. But the Mediterranean is still out. People need to de-tuscanize to sell their home if they want to get it sold. But that doesn't look like it's coming back anytime soon.”

Bracciano: “In The Lake Club, I think the Genoa area is appealing to people. It's very cost-effective. It's a great way to get into The Lake Club at a reasonable price point and have fantastic amenities. Also coming in the new year opening up, there's going to be the new Esplanade Golf & Country Club in Lakewood Ranch. It's going to be very unique in that they're going to offer a section that's built specifically for young families, so it's not going to have mandatory bundled golf, but it will still have some nice amenities like a community pool and probably tennis and basketball. So I think that's pretty exciting as well. Of course, we have the Waterside area that continues to grow. And 2020 is definitely going to be about lifestyle. People that are moving here are looking for a particular lifestyle and have specific interests, whether it’s pickleball, tennis, working out, golf, swimming, etc.”

Pascarella: “I would say that new construction continues to be hot. I know Cresswind is a 55-plus community that just opened up a couple months ago. Esplanade is almost all built out now, so they're opening up a new development called Azario, which is going to be a similar setup to Esplanade, which has been a very hot seller in this area. I think new construction will continue to do well. The resale market is doing well, I would say we're pretty stable. We have a lot less inventory in the higher end, a million-plus, than we did a couple years ago. So that's helping that niche market.”

What is trending down for 2020?

Soda: “Colder would be houses that have not updated because there's so much new construction in Lakewood Ranch. So if you haven't updated your home, it's going to be hard to sell.”

Bracciano: “I think homes that were built before 2000 that hadn't been renovated or updated are a little more challenging to sell. So we highly recommend to our sellers that they update, whether it's the bathroom or the kitchen or the paint colors, whatever is necessary.”

Pascarella: “I would say, again, the biggest challenge is going to be the older homes, some of the original homes in Lakewood Ranch. Because people are looking for the newer building code. You know, ‘Does it have impact glass? Does it have hurricane shutters?’ That's a big question we're getting. I'm also seeing some of these homes now are 20 years old or 20-plus years old, so the big question I get from a lot of buyers now is, ‘Has the roof been replaced?”

What is your general outlook on the market heading into the new year?

Soda: “I think the market’s going to be great. It's been a great 2019. So I think 2020 is going to be very, very good. We’re seeing a lot of cash. And when the stock market is doing as well as it is, people feel fat and sassy, their portfolios are pumped up, and they feel good. So I think we're going to have a phenomenal 2020.”

Bracciano: “People are excited. I think as long as there’s bad weather up north we're always going to be in a good position. I hate to sound rude, but bad weather up north is positive for our business. I think everyone wants a piece of paradise at this point, especially baby boomers. We have a lot of 55-, 60-year-olds who are getting ready to retire and are thinking, ‘I better get a piece of the pie before the prices go up.’ Lakewood Ranch is just so desirable.”

Pascarella: “I think, overall, we have a very positive outlook. I know going into an election year that always can cause some unrest. And there will be some people who will wait to see what happens with the election. But I think people feel really good about the strength of the economy right now. The interest rates for mortgages are still very low. I wouldn't be surprised if we see those just start to trend upwards, but right now, it's still very affordable to buy a house.”

Brendan Lavell is a general assignment reporter for the Observer. He earned degrees in journalism and history at the University of Missouri. He has visited 48 of the 50 United States, has a black cat named Arya and roots for the Eagles, Flyers, Phillies, 76ers and Chelsea FC.

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