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Realtors report spike in pending home sales

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  • | 4:00 a.m. May 26, 2010
  • Longboat Key
  • Real Estate
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The Sarasota Association of Realtors announced in a recent statement that April pending sales totaled 1,160, a four-year high in Sarasota County. Longboat Key Realtors say that pending sales on the Key are at the highest level they have seen in more than a year, however, they haven’t seen the spike in contracted sales that the mainland saw in April. As of May 7, Longboat Key had 17 pending single-family-home sales with list prices ranging from $189,900 to $3,999,000. For condominiums, there were 52 pending sales with listing prices ranging from $125,000 to $2,799,000. But, Realtors say that the fact that Longboat Key hasn’t had a dramatic spike in pending sales isn’t such a bad thing.

According to Barbara Ackerman, of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Longboat Key has many cash buyers and buyers who don’t have trouble getting financing. The fact that Key sales are rarely complicated by financing means that Longboat transactions often sit on the shorter end of the typical 30- to 60-day closing period, meaning that Longboat Key has fewer overall pending sales.

“On Longboat Key, the closing period is shorter,” Ackerman said. “Mortgage rates are good right now, and if the buyer has to put down more money, it’s really not a problem.”

The homebuyer tax credit that expired April 30 was at least partially behind the spike in pending mainland sales. But on Longboat, where buyers are on the market for second and third homes, the tax credit generally wasn’t a factor.

Still, pending sales are limited in what they can show about the market. New construction isn’t included on pending sales listings, although few Longboat Key properties fall into that category. Short sales, in which a lender agrees to accept less than what is owed on a property, are included. Those transactions often stay under contract for months and drive up the number of pending sales listed on the mainland, where distressed properties are more common than they are on the Key.

“There are not nearly as many short sales on Longboat Key as there are in (mainland) Sarasota and Manatee counties,” said Maureen Horn, of Michael Saunders & Co. “The amount of short sales on Longboat is so minute.”

Also, the prices shown on the Multiple Listing Service are the listing prices, not the selling prices. Still, according to Ackerman, the numbers show that demand is strongest at the lower end of Longboat Key’s market.

“The majority of sales are under $600,000, and half of pending sales are under $600,000,” she said.
Roger Pettingell, also of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, said that recent pending sales numbers on Longboat Key give reason for optimism. Often, when he surveys the MLS in the morning, he sees more pending sales than new listings — a good sign, because it means that inventory is decreasing.

“Right now, it’s not that we have an enormous inventory, but when things sell, there’s something to fill in its place,” he said.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].


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