Surge in U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Echoes in SW Florida


Echoes from the rising U.S. homebuilder confidence, which hit a record high in September 2014, continue to reverberate across the Southwest Florida housing market. In Sarasota, development has caught up at the north side of the West of the Trail, a highly coveted area due to its strategic location between U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) and the coastline of Sarasota Bay.

Casa Museo, a single-family housing development, is moving forward in an 8.4-acre site at 4200 Bay Shore Road in this West of the Trail locality. Level Homes, a Baton Rouge, LA, based developer, has submitted plans for a 23-home residential complex in this property located near the existing Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores neighborhoods. The company earlier purchased the land for $4.1 million, thus sidestepping moves by the local residents to convert the property into a park. Initial efforts for a residential project here fell through because of the Great Recession.

A boost to thin inventory

Surge in U.S. Homebuilder Confidence Echoes in SW Florida

The Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores Neighborhood Association has been eyeing the property for conversion into a park and has opposed the initial plans for its development into a residential complex. However, there’s no formal attempt to fight the new development, with the association reported as having missed the optimal window for the land acquisition.

Instead, the local residents would now look elsewhere for a property suitable as a park serving Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores which has more than 1,200 homes. Having a park devoted to these neighborhoods should add further value to properties in these waterfront communities.

Current listings of Sarasota homes for sale at Sapphire Shores are few and range from the $400s up to a rare a $13.8 million waterfront home. At Indian Beach, available properties are likewise paltry and have tag prices from the $100s up to the $9.9 million level. With the Casa Museo’s development gaining headway, inventory of Sarasota homes for sale should improve in this West of Trail locality.

River Wind and Bridgewater

A bit farther south in Parrish, fresh options is also emerging on the horizon on waterfront neighborhoods. Neal Signature Homes has broken ground for its River Wind community here, a coastal-themed neighborhood to be composed of 62 homes.

Expected to start selling in spring 2015, River Wind is planned as a gated community featuring choices on six floor plans of one- and two-story homes. The layouts of the residences will range from 2,200 to 3,400 square feet featuring options on three bedrooms, two-bathroom and a den, and four-bedroom homes with a bonus room. Their prices are in the $350,000–$500,000 range.

At Bridgewater in Lakewood Ranch, homebuilder activity has likewise picked up with Lennar Homes opening a new phase with 33 home sites. New home sales in this neighborhood were reported as exceptional since its marketing started in 2013.

Lennar has been selling new estate and manor homes at Bridgewater. The estate homes’ floor plans range from 2,394 to 3,800 square feet, featuring choices on layouts for three, four and five bedrooms. Their prices start from $405,990. Priced from $330,990, manor homes have layouts ranging from 2,245 to 3,828 square feet with option designs on four, five or six bedrooms.