Sarasota-Manatee 1st Quarter Home Sales Sizzle


Realtors and real estate agents in Sarasota and Manatee leaped firing from all cylinders during the 2015 first quarter as sales of single family homes in the two counties notched sustained gains during the first three months of 2015.

The first quarter’s bonanza was most pronounced in March 2015 when closed deals on Manatee-Sarasota homes for sale advanced in double-digit levels percentage-wise from year-earlier figures. In Sarasota, single family homes sold for the month rose 13% to 789 from sales of 698 residences in March 2014. The March sales improvement, the fastest gain since January 2011, followed up on increases of 2.4% in January and 10% in February.

Prices peak too

Sarasota-Manatee 1st Quarter Home Sales Sizzle

Manatee’s quarterly record was as impressive, with total March 2015 sales of 553 houses, up 20.7% from 458 a year ago. In January, single family homes sold in the county rose year-over-year by 2.4%, improving even further to 10% in February.

Significantly, the March median home sales price in Manatee hit $265,000, up 17.3% and a record high since the Great Recession. Sarasota’s median home price for the month also rose, notching a 9.5% increase at $207,500.

Strong growth fundamentals

The biggest factor propelling this remarkable market growth of Manatee-Sarasota homes for sale appears to be continuing population growth due to in-migration. In a presentation this May on the U.S. economic outlook, University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith noted the resurgent trend of Florida drawing population from other states.

Recent data support this observation. Census statistics released in December 2014 showed that Florida, with an estimated population of nearly 20 million, has already surpassed New York as the nation’s third largest state. Populated by 19.7 million, New York has slid to fourth, a shift which demographers described as symbolizing “Snowbelt to Sunbelt growth.”

Toeing the same thinking, local realtors believe that the successive rough winters during the past two years in the northern states drove more prospective home buyers, especially baby boomers, towards Manatee and Sarasota. Brokers also note that a combination of attractive interest rates and good pricing have also contributed much to the stellar 2015 first quarter performance of the market for Manatee-Sarasota homes for sale.

Value-for-money choices

A walk-through of available properties, whether in new or older communities, can indeed easily uncover many well-priced choices of Manatee-Sarasota homes for sale. At just under the $265,000 March median price for single family homes in Manatee, there’s a two-bedroom, 1,300-square-foot home built in 2013 and sales-listed in April 2015 in the Central Park community of Lakewood Ranch.

Equally attractive Sarasota homes for sale priced in the low $200s are a likewise available in the highly desirable and well-established Gulf Gate neighborhood. One recent offering is for a 970-square-foot, two-bedroom cottage built in 1962 with recent updates, which is ideal as a seasonal vacation residence, an investment rental property, or starter home. For newly built choices also in the low $200s, the search can veer towards the golf community of Sarasota National which offers at this price point coach homes with two bedrooms and two baths within floor areas of 1,375 square feet.