Harvest Comes Richer for Mid-priced New Homes


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, March 2nd, 2017 – Prospective buyers of new home builds priced just around the mid-$200s will find more plentiful picks in Southwest Florida this year, a new research shows.

Statistics released recently by real estate data supplier Metrostudy indicated that there was a sustained focus in Sarasota and Manatee counties on building new homes priced at the median range or above. In 2016, new residences priced above the mid-$200s that were put under construction rose year-over-year by 30.2 percent in the area, the research firm estimated.

The Metrostudy report also noted that housing starts in the Sarasota‒Bradenton area grew at 20 percent clip in 2016, with the region even stepping up the pace for a 26.3 percent growth in last year’s fourth quarter.

Supply at Equilibrium

Harvest Comes Richer for Mid-priced New Homes

Total housing starts in the region last year amounted to 5,591 single-family homes, according to Metrostudy. Manatee County had 2,685 starts, a 14.8 percent gain; Sarasota County with 2,079 starts was up by 15.7 percent, while Charlotte County’s 813 starts was good for a 64.2 percent surge. New housing inventory was estimated at 6.5 months’ supply, the market equilibrium which favors neither seller nor buyer.

Lakewood Ranch topped the master developments in the region with its 781 housing starts in 2016. This January, LWR notably hit the 10,000 sales milestone, having sold 86 new homes for the month, which was up 32 percent from a year earlier. This record brings to 10,026 the number of homes sold in the master development since its establishment in 1995, with sales value at nearly $4 billion.

Similar strength was exhibited in other major Southwest Florida communities. In West Villages, there were 428 housing starts last year, while Palmer Ranch came up with 229. South Gulf Cove had 207 and Sarasota National chalked up 185.

The 2016 sales performance of the largest local homebuilder, Lakewood Ranch-based Neal Communities, likewise reaffirms the strong market demand for new home builds. Neal reported record sales of 1,109 units last year in closings which rose to $430 million from $369.6 million in 2015.

Uptick Seen to Continue

Metrostudy foresees another strong season for housing starts in 2017 and in the years ahead. It expects retiring baby boomers to continue fueling home market demand. It notes that demand from this demographic is still in its early stages, with the baby boom at its peak in 1957, and those born this year will be 60 this year.

A cue on the strength of the market could likewise be drawn from the 2017 Parade of Homes set this February 17‒March 5. In this annual showcase, a collection of some 130 homes has been fielded, the largest number of participants since the Great Recession.

Some Market Samplings

Significantly, a sizable number of the 2017 entries in this builder’s extravaganza are mid-priced models. One is the Casey design of Medallion Homes at University Village offered starting around the $240s, featuring two bedrooms plus a den within its floor plan of 2,343 square feet.

At Palmer Park in Sarasota, Ashton Woods features its Gaspar model with a base price in the $300s. This residence has a floor space of over 2,000 square feet good for three bedrooms and a large family room with cafe and flex space, a tempting pick among Sarasota’s inventory of fresh builds.