Institutional Buying in Sarasota Subsides


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, November 22nd, 2013 – Institutional buyers who were earlier active in the Manatee and Sarasota counties appear to have shifted their attention to other metropolitan areas, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports. This development should be good news to individual and first-time home buyers who were being crowded out earlier by corporate investors which saw potential profits in lower-priced Sarasota homes for sale, particularly those opportunities in distressed properties.

Armed with cash, institutional investors like the Blackstone group have been gobbling up fire-sale residential properties in the market to convert these homes into rental units.   These companies also hope to generate earnings when market price levels become conducive to selling their acquired properties.

Where the big boys seem headed

On the national level, institutional investors accounted for 10% of all existing home sales in August, up from the 9% recorded in July and the year-earlier level, according to the U.S. Residential and Foreclosure Sales Report of RealtyTrac. The analytics firm also reported that distressed homes constituted 25 percent of all residential sales in August, a 2 percentage-point advance from July.

Based on the RealtyTrac report, Memphis, Jacksonville, and Atlanta appear as the current focus of these large investors. Their home purchases in these three areas respectively rose by 31%, 29%, and 22%. In Jacksonville, the presence of the institutional buyers was evident in the 65% slice of all-cash sales in its home market this August.

The continuing impact of foreclosures in Florida was manifested in the 29% slice of short sales in all closed August home deals in the state. This percentage came out second only to Nevada’s 34% and compares with the national level of 15%.

Foreclosure scenario gets better locally


Notably, however, distressed property sales in Sarasota dropped to 20.6% of the overall sales in August 2013, down from 22.7% in July 2013 and from 34% in August 2012.  A similar downtrend, which augurs well for the improvement of the local home market, was observed in Manatee. Single family home foreclosure sales in this county dropped 2.2% and short sales by 22.1%. Condo foreclosure sales too declined by 3.1% while short sales slipped by nearly 46% on a year-over-year basis.

The increased prices of foreclosures in Manatee for single family homes and condos may have helped dampen the interest of institutional investors on pursuing cash purchases in this county. The median price of foreclosed single family homes sold here in August rose 18.6% to $100,779 and by almost 26% for short sales to $164,900.

With the large investors showing less interest in Sarasota homes for sale, the bidding wars on attractive foreclosed and short sales homes in this market could be lessened as well.  Sarasota Bay Real Estate suggests the subdivisions of South Gate Ridge and Brookside as two starting points in search for such offerings which are priced substantially lower than prevailing market prices. In these neighborhoods, the MLS currently features two new listings with floor plans of close to 1,500 square feet designed with three bedrooms and with tag prices approaching the mid-$100s.