Rising Prices, Low Supply Inspire Home Sellers


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, May 24, 2018 – Home sellers now appear gung-ho on the market, based on the 2018 first quarter Home Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This poll showed that during the first three months of the year, 74 percent of the people that NAR surveyed believe that now is a good time to sell a residence. This reading represents an increase from 71 percent in the 2017 fourth quarter and from the 69 percent and 56 percent recorded respectively in the 2017 and 2016 first quarter.

A sustained rise in prices amidst low inventory drives this growing confidence of sellers to engage the market. For the 2018 first quarter, NAR estimated that the median price of existing single-family home in the U.S. rose 5.7 percent to $245,500 from a year earlier. NAR put the number of existing homes available for sale at 1.67 million in the January‒March period, down from the 1.80 million in the similar three-month span in 2017. Months’ supply in the 2018 first quarter came out lower as well at 3.5 months’ inventory, down from the 3.7 months recorded a year ago.

Positive Regional Trend

Sellers Market

This national trend is notably mirrored in the first quarter stats on homes for sale in Sarasota and Manatee, based on the reports of the local realtors’ association. Sarasota’s median price of existing single family home in the 2018 first quarter rose year-over-year by 7.7 percent to $280,000, while inventory dropped 9.7 percent to 2,971 homes available in the county. Months’ inventory during the quarter was estimated at 4.4 months, down 13.7 percent from last year.

Manatee County’s median price for single family home rose by a more moderate 2.5 percent to $295,000 in the first three months of 2018. Available homes on the Manatee market during the quarter declined by 5.9 percent to 2,185, while months’ supply slipped 6.5 percent to 4.3 months.

On a bright note for aspiring home buyers, new listings in Manatee County during the 2018 first quarter edged up 3.1 percent to 2,293, while a marginal 0.8 percent increase to 3,087 newly listed residences were recorded in Sarasota County.

Buyers’ Mood Assessed

Buyers Mood

NAR’s 2018 first quarter HOME survey also noted that enthusiasm remains significant amongst home buyers. It showed that 68 percent of those surveyed believe that the time is good for a home purchase. Setting some caution though on this reading is that this percentage is the lowest in two years as compared with the first quarter records of 75 percent in 2016 and 70 percent in 2017.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said affordability is hindering many prospective home buyers. Yun indicated that income growth has lagged significantly behind the appreciation of home prices. He said that in the 2011‒2017 period, income rose by 15 percent while housing prices soared by 48 percent.

Yun, who spoke in the recent 12th annual global conference of Sarasota and Manatee realtors, also said fence-sitting home buyers can’t afford to wait for mortgage rates to fall below the current 4.5 percent. The forecast, he said, is that the benchmark Federal Reserve interest rate would be raised two more times in 2018 and thrice in 2019.