Southwest Florida Homebuilders Remain Gung-ho on Market Prospects


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, March 12th, 2014 – The U.S. Federal Reserve began the anticipated taper of its bond-buying economic stimulus this January, a move widely expected to drive mortgage rates higher. Builders in Southwest Florida, however, appear confident that the Fed’s move won’t have a significant negative impact on the home market’s recovery and are pushing through with their projects. Indicators on building permits, the count of housing units expected to start construction within three months, indeed show that builders remain gung-ho on the region’s home market.

During November and December 2013, it was reported that building permit applications in Sarasota rose by over 100% compared to the same two-month period in 2012. In Charlotte, one local report noted that November housing permits increased by 50% from a year earlier.

For the unincorporated Sarasota and Manatee counties, builders filed 211 permits in November to build new homes, 26% above permits pulled in the same month in 2012. In the first 11 months of 2013, the two counties granted 2,791 single family home construction permits, a 99% increase from the similar period in 2012.

New homesites opened

WCI Communities is one of the builders who remain optimistic on the prospects of the home market in Southwest Florida. In December, this Bonita Springs-based builder announced availability of a total of 80 new homesites in its Grand Villa and Classic Series neighborhoods at the WCI Tidewater Preserve. The prices of homes at these neighborhoods respectively start at $226,990 and $301,990.

Some resale homes are also available in the Phase I of this community. Current Tidewater Preserve listings in the MLS of Sarasota homes have tag prices from the high $100s up to around the mid-$300s. One of the newest in the list is that of a residence built in 2007 with a floor area of 2,561 square feet, featuring 3 bedrooms and 3 baths, and an asking price of $339,000.

Like other WCI communities, Tidewater Preserve is an amenity-rich development which fully harnessed its superb location adjacent to the Manatee River. Besides its boat lift, canoe launch and a river board walk, the community also has the Port and Court Club and The Lodge which house varied social and recreational facilities, such as dining halls, tennis courts, resort style pool, and fitness center.

Golf community purchase

sarasota national

The biggest move of WCI in 2013 was its purchase of the foreclosed 2,400-acre Sarasota National, a golf community in Venice. This development has approval for 1,584 residences, including 800 homes around its 18-hole championship golf course.

WCI’s builds here include three-bedroom carriage homes with floor plans of 1,710 or 2,376 square feet and prices starting at $205,990. The builder likewise offers detached single family homes in Sarasota National. The most spacious of these are its Grand Villa homes with floor areas of 1,756 to 2.039 square feet and starting prices at $249,990.

Sarasota National is a maintenance-free neighborhood. This development includes an 18,000- square-foot clubhouse which has a grand ballroom, dining and bar facilities. It will also feature a 10,000-square-foot community center with tennis courts, a fitness area, and a resort-type pool.