Short Sales Getting Pricier, Scarcer


The affordable pricing that individual home buyers find attractive in short sales and REOs seems evaporating, as cash investors competing for thinning foreclosure inventories appear driving up prices of distressed properties.

In Sarasota and Manatee counties, short sales’ median prices based on recent Florida Realtors data were on an uptrend during the first five months of 2015, except for a 5.7% drop in Manatee in March. This decline in Manatee was followed by a 32.1% spike in May and 39.3% rise April. In Sarasota, short sales’ median price in May rose nearly 25%, following increases of 8.4%, 17.6%, 38.8% and 14.6%, respectively from January to April 2015.

Era of rock-bottom prices over

Short Sales Getting Pricier, Scarcer

It is very unlikely that foreclosure cases in the pipeline will hit the record high levels seen during the last housing market crisis and bring downward pressure on prices of distressed properties. Recent data from the real estate research firm RealtyTrac indicate an overall downtrend on foreclosure filings.

The research firm noted that as measured on a 12-month rolling basis smoothening out monthly swings, foreclosure activity in Sarasota is down by 20% and by 23% in Manatee as of May 2015. Another indication of fewer foreclosures in the months ahead is the 29% drop in lis pendens cases or those in the first step of the foreclosure process which totaled just 108 filings in the two counties plus those in Charlotte for the month of May.

Competitive new home options

Given the declining inventories and rising prices of distressed properties, new communities offering very competitively priced Manatee-Sarasota homes for sale in the $200s should appear prominent in prospective buyers’ radar screens. At the Sanctuary at RiverStrand in Bradenton, there’s a fresh listing at the lower end of this price range for a spec home set for completion in October 2015. It features three bedrooms and two baths within its floor area of about 1,420 square feet.

Another attractively priced new listing at RiverStrand’s Grand Estuary was put in the market for Bradenton condos for sale in June at an asking price in the mid-$100s. This unit, built in 2010, has a floor area of nearly 1,320 square feet, designed with two bedrooms and two baths.

Prime neighborhood amenities

Home purchases in these neighborhoods are bundled with social membership to the RiverStrand Country Club. An additional fee opens access to the club’s golf course. Other community facilities include a Tuscan-inspired, 39,000-square-foot clubhouse, a fitness center, dining areas, billiard/card rooms, eight lighted tennis courts, and resort style and resistance exercise swimming pools.

Great choices priced in the upper $200s are also among the fresh offerings in Caribbean Village, a new community in Venice. Homes for sale in this development have floor plans ranging from 1,800 up to nearly 2,000 square feet, designed with three bedrooms and two baths. This maintenance-free community has low HOA fees and is being developed with various amenities, such as a clubhouse, a resort-type swimming pool, fitness center and bocce ball courts.