Closed sales, average prices improved in 2018, figures indicate.
The sale price of Longboat Key properties is up in early 2019 as compared to early 2018, continuing a trend of generally upbeat real estate figures since 2016.
“We’re going back to the old normal,” said Michael Renick of Keller Williams in Longboat. The average selling price of a home last month in Longboat Key was $841,000, compared with January 2018's average price of $807,000.
"Overall the market is showing good signs, but we are only a month into 2019," he said.
A three-year comparison of average prices in the 34228 area code which encompasses Longboat Key show increases for homes and condos from 2017 levels, but median prices -- the spot at which half sell for more and half sell for less -- backed off a bit in 2018 year-end figures as compared to 2017, according to the Florida Realtors Association.
Generally speaking, Sarasota County and Manatee County reported a combined total of 21,344 closed sales in 2018, a 6.7% increase from 2017. In Manatee County, single-family homes increased by 7% to 6,485 closed sales, while Sarasota sales increased by 0.5% to 7,952 closed sales.
Overall condo market sales increased year-over-year as well regionwide. Sarasota condos increased by 8.1 percent from 2017 to 4,150 closed sales. Manatee condo sales increased by 11.1 percent to 2,757 sales.
On Longboat in 2018, home and condo sales climbed 2.6% and 18.9% respectively.
About 475 properties are for sale on Longboat as of this week, about 70 more than this time last year.
“I feel that the inventory is at healthy number for this time of year,” said Jesse Griffin of CENTURY 21 Beggins Enterprises. The market was sluggish at the beginning of the year, something he blames on red tide.
“But as season keeps rolling in, it does feel like it it’s picking up daily,” he said.
Properties also need to be priced right, said Roger Pettingell Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate on Longboat Key.
“In the case of older condition properties, it is important to price in the renovations which a buyer will likely make,” Pettingell said.
Two high-profile properties with recently reduced prices are two of the highest-priced properties around.
Owners of Serenissima, a Venetian-style home located across the street from Longboat Key Club's Islandside golf course, dropped the price of their home. The asking price for the 19,300-square-foot mansion is $22.5 million, down $4 million from its previous asking price. It had been on the market since March 2017.
And Ohana on Gulf of Mexico Drive on the northern end of the island is going back on the market in less than 30 days with different Realtors once landscaping work is completed.
The asking price for the Hawaiian-style estate is $15.49 million, $7 million less than its original price.
“There is still a lot of move-around buyers, people upgrading from smaller to bigger and people moving from condominiums to houses and back,” said Pettingell who sold 73 properties last year for $106.18 million, tops among realtors in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
Pettingell said he is hearing from buyers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut who have horror stories about higher taxes and slowing real estate markets. He is also seeing a number of mid-Westerners who are coming to Longboat because of the freezing temperatures they are experiencing up north.
“Two years ago we were seeing the initial movement of people into downtown condominiums,” he said. “This brought a bunch of new inventory to the market, which has been subsequently been absorbed by new buyers drawn to the island lifestyle.”