Resale Homes Need the Extra Push as New Builds Propagate


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, June 13, 2019 – Aspiring sellers of pre-owned residences in Southwest Florida, at current market conditions, would need to go the extra mile with their Realtor in crafting a marketing plan for their listing. This imperative comes from recent industry data suggesting that sales of new home builds in the region are taking a bite out of existing single family residences.

Housing data cruncher Metrostudy noted that closed deals of new single family homes in Southwest Florida during the first quarter rose 19.4 percent to 1,354 units. With an annual count, the closings have reached 6,008 homes, up 12.3 percent over a year earlier.

So far this year, several home builders have also reported a significant rise in their sales volume. One is Lakewood Ranch-based Neal Communities which had 279 sales in the 2019 first quarter on the back of a record 124 units sold at its 31 communities in March.

In comparison with this uptick, sales turnover for existing single family homes lacked luster. In Sarasota, total sales during this year’s first quarter dropped 1.3 percent to 1,831 residences. Manatee fared no better with its 1,426 pre-owned units sold, up by just a marginal 0.4 percent.

Housing Starts Advance

Indicative of the local market strength of newly constructed single family homes, builders broke ground on 1,285 units in Sarasota and Manatee counties during the first three months of this year. Although lower by 7.2 percent year-over-year, the annual start rate of 6,091 units stood 8 percent above that of 2018, Metrostudy reported.

The region’s leader in 2019 first quarter housing starts was Lakewood Ranch with 1,171 units. Next came the West Villages with 790, tailed by Palmer Ranch with 330, Babcock Ranch with 242, and Silverstone with 176.

Metrostudy further noted that the strongest gain in housing starts was in the price range of between $400,000 and $450,000. The building activity in this price band rose by nearly 20 percent on an annual basis. On a per-unit count basis, the biggest increase recorded was on homes priced over $450,000 for which housing starts leaped 161 percent compared to the 2018 rate. Sales listings of existing or pre-owned homes priced in the $400s are hence more likely to face competition from new home builds.

The Better Playing Field

On the other hand, resale homes priced around the mid-$200s face lesser challenge from newly constructed residences. Homebuilders are hard pressed delivering at this price point, which account for only about 19 percent of recent new home construction.

Willow Walk at Palmetto in northern Manatee County would be one potent destination for home buyers eyeing more affordably priced new construction. Current listings in this community include several new builds priced at slightly below the mid-$200s. These single family homes feature floor plans of 1,641 and 1,816 square feet designed with three bedrooms and two baths.

Veering southward of Willow Walk, Eave’s Bend at Artisan Lakes offers new construction too at a little under the mid-$200s. These newly built market entries have floor areas measuring between 1,492 and 1,708 square feet designed with three to four bedrooms, part of the comparables that sellers of existing homes need to weigh.