August Market Report: More Homes Listed for Sale, Building as Prices Rise


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, October 2, 2018 – Towards the end of 2018, residential property buyers in Sarasota can look forward to more choices on the market. The market inventory of single-family homes in Sarasota as of August increased by 3.2 percent to 2,595 units, the first gain registered since a year earlier. New listings helped propped up this total, with the addition of 770 available Sarasota homes on the market in August, up 0.3 percent from a year ago.

The sustained increase in prices of Sarasota homes for sale since the start of 2018 is driving more sellers to engage the market. In August, the median price for single-family homes was estimated at $283,488, up by 9.9 percent from the same month last year. This percentage gain is notably the second highest for this year, eclipsed only by the 10.4 percent spike in the median price in January.

Faster Turnover

Buyers of Sarasota homes for sale appear acting quicker before prices rise even further. In August, the median time to contract stood at 44 days, a 12 percent drop from last year. The lowest median time to contract so far this year is the 40 days registered in April, which represented an 11.1 percent decline on a year-to-year basis.

Home sales as of August 2018 continued strong and registered a 2.2 percent increase to bring sales to a total of 5,707 units since the start of the year. Robust sales increases in January, February, April, June and July propped up the eight-month total.

Market Absorbs New Builds

A strong upswing in sales of newly built homes has likewise been noted during the first half in two major developments in the Sarasota region. In the master-planned Lakewood Ranch straddling Sarasota and Manatee counties, 826 new homes were sold in the first six months of 2018, up 33 percent from the same period in 2017. First half sales of new builds in West Villages in south Sarasota totaled 622 units, which was 23 percent more than the 526 new home construction sold in the first six months of 2017.

More output could be expected from these large community development projects, with the significant volume of new home construction started therein during the 2018 second quarter. According to data cruncher Metrostudy, annual housing starts in Lakewood Ranch totaled 1,064 units, while West Villages and its neighborhood Grand Palm posted 698 and 180 new homes for construction respectively.

Housing Starts at Record Clip

For the whole of Southwest Florida, Metrostudy said builders in the region broke ground on a total of 1,782 new residences during the April‒June period. This represents a 17.2 percent increase from the similar 2017 quarter and stands as the highest recorded since the 2006 third quarter.

Metrostudy traced this housing starts’ uptick to the market tailwinds of the upcoming “snowbird season” and sustained baby-boomer-driven demand. Validating this observation, two new homes for construction in the age 55-plus community of Del Webb Lakewood Ranch were sales-listed recently and priced in the $500s‒$600s range.

Sales listings of upcoming new builds in the softer price range of the $300s and the $400s have also been posted at West Villages’ Grand Palm community. These residences typically feature floor plans of between 1,800 and 2,200 square feet designed with three bedrooms and two baths.