Realtors Unfazed by Sales Slump and Here’s Why


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, September 1st, 2016 – The number of existing single family homes sold in Sarasota and Manatee has slipped by 4.6 percent through the first six months of 2016, but local realtors are of the consensus that this drop won’t knock the wind out of the residential property market’s sails.

Real estate agents, for one thing, have anticipated the market to cool off following the consecutive record-high sales set in 2014 and 2015. Their sentiment is that the market is currently stabilizing and that there are enough reasons to be optimistic about near-term market prospects of Manatee and Sarasota homes for sale.

Some Silver Lining

Realtors Unfazed by Sales Slump and Here’s Why

One positive indicator is that June sales of single family homes, representing contracts signed one to two months earlier, were the highest for a month in the two counties so far in 2016. Sarasota had 792 homes sold during the month, while 610 sales were recorded in Manatee.

Another bright spot is that the sales drop appears mainly accounted for by a decline in market activity on distressed properties. Minus the June deals on short sales and foreclosures, traditional sales of single family homes in Sarasota actually increased by 4.7 percent and by 5.8 percent in Manatee. These gains contrast with drops of over 50 percent in June short sales and foreclosures in both counties.

Homebuilding Stepping Up

A recent report that housing starts in Southwest Florida have revved up to their fastest pace in 10 years should likewise resonate good vibes amongst players in the region’s real estate market. According to data cruncher Metrostudy, construction in the area started on 1,492 single-family homes during the second-quarter.

Aggregating figures from Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and a small part of DeSoto County, this total is an 18 percent improvement over the 2015 three-month period and represents the best quarter for the region’s housing starts since the 2006 third quarter. The recent increase is a follow-through of the hectic pace during this year’s first quarter when Southwest Florida’s home starts totaled 1,443 units, a level that had not been seen since 2006.

The robust performance of housing construction during the past two quarters has been attributed to low interest rates, steady growth in employment, and the continuing influx of retiring baby boomers opting favoring choices on Manatee or Sarasota homes for sale.

Samplings of Popular Choices

The residential developments of Neal Communities are amongst the favored destinations for age 55-plus home buyers. This Lakewood Ranch-based developer noted that over half of its buyers in July of 2016 belong to this age demographic.

Neal posted strong sales for that month, selling a total of 104 homes which was an improvement from the tallies in May and June. Significantly, it achieved this gain in what is typically slower summer month and within an election year when home buying activity generally tends to be more tempered than usual.

The star performers in Neal’s July sales include the Milano and Grand Palm communities in Venice, Windwood in North Venice, and Magnolia Point in Sarasota. Residences in the latter which are currently listed amongst Sarasota homes for sale are all newly built and priced in the $300s. Featuring three bedrooms within floor plans of between 1,770 and 2,400 square feet, these new residences aptly present a glimpse of the continuing optimism in the region’s home market.