Florida Home Market Healing at a Faster Clip


The local home market in Florida looks getting back to normal at a pace quicker than the national level, recent industry data indicates. Coupled with gains in prices, sales of single family homes in February of 2014 advanced in the Sunshine State, a stark contrast to a decline nationally.

Sales contracts on 15,826 single-family homes were closed state-wide during the month, up 1.5 percent from the year-earlier level of 15,591 and 5.5 percent higher than the 15,000 closed sales in January. As encouraging, year-over-year gains were posted on newly listed single-family homes in Florida which rose 11.6 percent in February. New townhouse-condo listings also rose 4.2 percent.

Robust outlook

Florida Home Market Healing at a Faster Clip

The positive state-wide readings were evident in Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte. Sales closings on single family homes and condos in the three counties totaled 1,723 units in February, a 5.9 percent increase from January 2014.

Industry observers note that the pace of home sales in this region has been going at pre-recession levels since the start of the year. With the peak season in spring, these gains in Southwest Florida’s home market are expected to be sustained.

Harsh winter favor Sarasota homes for sale

These recent home market advances at Florida’s state and regional levels contrast with the weak signal U.S.-wide. In February, data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that sales of previously owned homes declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million. This was marginally below by 0.4 percent compared to 4.62 million in January and down by 7.1 percent from the 4.95 million units sold in February 2013.

NAR partly attributed this decline to the harsh winter conditions across much of the U.S. which hindered house-hunting of prospective home buyers. This same adverse factor, on the other hand, appears favoring Florida whose tropical climate has increasingly grown attractive particularly to snowbirds from the northern states.

Getting the best deals

With the recent robust price appreciation, working with a seasoned realtor would be a logical step for those searching for the best deals on Sarasota homes for sale and similar opportunities elsewhere in Florida. Home inventory in the local market, although rising, remains relatively tight at around five months and still biased slightly in favor of sellers.

State-wide, the February median price for single family homes rose 10 percent to $165,000. In Manatee and Sarasota, the median price for single family homes increased by 12.2 percent in February to $200,000. These compare with the $189,500 median price U.S.-wide which is 9.1% above the February 2013 level. A search for Sarasota homes for sale slightly under the $200s, will lead to plenty of choices in the MLS.