Tougher Home Price Negotiations Forecast


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, April 11, 2013 – Residential property searchers in the Manatee–Sarasota area should brace themselves for some hard bargaining in the typically brisk spring home buying season that opens this year with a tight market inventory, Sarasota Bay Real Estate reports. This situation underscores even more the necessity of home-hunting with the guidance of a realtor having an inside track on the market in the locality, the full service realty firm added.

Market inventories declining rapidly

Sarasota Bay Real Estate observed that inventory for single family homes in Manatee as of this February is the lowest compared with those in nearby counties Sarasota and Charlotte, a scenario that creates an even greater upward push on residential prices. Manatee’s February single family home inventory stood at 4.5 months, the estimated length of time it would take for existing home supply to be depleted at the current sales clip. The county’s home market supply was a lot more stable early last year when inventory level stood at 7.1 months as of February 2012. A six-month supply is regarded as the real estate industry’s benchmark for a market equilibrium wherein neither the seller nor the buyer has the edge in pricing.

In Sarasota, this February’s single-family home inventory is only a bit higher at a 5-month supply, and the upward tempo of residential property prices can also be expected to continue in the county. In February 2012, Sarasota single family homes available in the market were estimated at 7.2 months. The February 2013 inventory level is nearer equilibrium in Charlotte at 5.7 months, but still substantially lower than the 7 months supply a year earlier.

Price hike impetus

Sarasota Real Estate

The depletion in home inventories contributed to significant advances in Manatee–Sarasota home prices this February, Sarasota Bay Real Estate noted. Housing statistics released recently showed a 13.2% increase in average prices for single family homes in the area to $178,250. An 8% increase in median sale prices for Manatee–Sarasota condos to $142,300 was likewise reported.

Reinvigorated demand for residential properties this February was also evident as single family home sales in the three counties increased by 9.1% from January and by 11.3% year-over-year. Nearly a thousand single family residences were sold for the month in the area. The increase in February sales reverses the 19% decline in January from December 2012. The demand for condos was even stronger with 427 units sold, up 38% from January and 29% over the year-ago level.

Moving forward to another banner year

An improving job market and home mortgage rates near record low levels are helping boost demand notches higher. Pending sales, an indicator of sales growth in coming months, are also encouraging, particularly in the Sarasota area. For this February, the Sarasota Association of Realtors (SAR) estimated pending sales at 1,138, up from the 1,047 total in January. The February pending sales level, SAR said, was the highest in nearly two years. This uptrend mirrors the pending home sales increase statewide which for this February was estimated to have grown at a 26.7% year-over-year clip and at a 31% pace in January.

Noting these statistics, SAR President Roger Piro expressed optimism that 2013 could be again a banner year for the Sarasota real estate market. In 2012, the association saw a sales performance that was the fourth highest in its 90-year history.