Housing Starts Robust but Lag at Lower Price Points


Residential construction in Sarasota and Manatee remained on its robust track during the 2014 first quarter, following a surge in 2013 which went on record as the strongest performance since the Great Recession. While the new home builds have helped improve overall inventory levels, housing starts at certain price points, particularly under the mid-$200s, have shown signs of decelerating during the 12 months ending March 31, 2014. Hence, home buyers in search of properties around this price level may find market inventory still relatively tighter, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports.

According to a recent MetroStudy analysis, annual housing starts as of end-March rose by 35.6% in Sarasota and by 32% in Manatee. Taken as a single market, the Sarasota-Bradenton area’s annual starts rose 32.8% to 3,785 units.

For the 2014 first quarter, construction was started on 918 single family homes, up 2.7% from the 894 starts in the 2013 first quarter. Inventory in the year’s first quarter for single family homes stood at 1,834 units, 21.3% above the same period in 2013. The current inventory level represents a 6.4 months’ supply of units under construction, home models, and finished but still vacant residences.

Valuable market insights

Housing Starts Robust but Lag at Lower Price Points

In contrast to the overall gain in housing starts, construction activity on an annual basis for new homes below $250,000 dropped 5.4% to 1,561 as of end March 2014. With this scenario, it would be advantageous for buyers eying new homes around this price level to have the able assistance of real estate agents who can not only lead clients to the new builds within their budget but also share insights on the market hotspots within their price range.

In West Bradenton, the Palma Sola Trace community of national homebuilder Taylor Morrison would likely be among local realtors’ recommendations. Besides choices on single family homes, this amenities-rich community has options for attractive multi-family residences priced under the $200s. The current MLS listing of Sarasota homes for sale has several available Palma Sola Trace condos at this price range. These maintenance-free residences either have two or three bedrooms in floor areas of between 1,200 and 1,400 square feet.

Some sweet alternatives

Sugar Mill Lakes located near downtown Bradenton in Palmetto is another potential hunting ground for new homes priced below the mid-$200s. Within this price range, there are new listings of single family homes in this community which is near I-75 to Sarasota and I-275 to St. Petersburg.

Besides expansive water views, Sugar Mill Lakes has a family recreation center, tennis court, and kids’ playground.