Pending sales in the Sarasota real estate market experienced a major climb in January 2011, from 789 in December 2010 to 1,013 last month for a 28 percent increase. This statistic is a strong indicator for the next two or three months of sales, as pending sales reflect current buyer activity. It was the first time pendings have exceeded the 1,000 mark since April of 2010, when the looming homebuyer tax credit expiration date was fueling sales activity.
Overall, sales hit the 537 mark in January, higher than last January’s total of only 506 sales, but somewhat disappointing compared to the 681 sales in December. January is traditionally a slower sales month due to the holidays, and sales have dropped from December to January over the past several years. Last year, sales dipped in January but surged strongly in February, March and April. The dramatic rise in the pending sales last month, coupled with positive word of mouth reports from SAR members, predicts a potential repeat of last year, even without a homebuyer tax credit.
“The market is very lively right now,” said SAR President Michael Bruno. “I recently held an open house and had very high foot traffic compared to recent months, and I’ve heard from other Realtors® in the association who are experiencing the same thing.”
The breakdown in January 2011 was 384 single family sales and 153 condo sales. This compared to 350 single family sales in January 2010 and 156 condo sales.
The median sales price for both single family homes and condos was down in January 2011, as distressed property sales exceeded 50 percent of the local real estate market and pulled the overall median figures lower. The single family median sales price was $138,700, while the condo median dropped to $142,500. Both figures were above $160,000 the previous month, as well as last January’s figures.
The overall median price drop reflected the lower prices for both foreclosure sales and short sales. For single family homes, the median sales price for a foreclosure was $87,900; for a short sales, $130,000; and for normal, arm’s length sales, $225,000. For condos, the three categories stood at $61,000, $128,500 and $230,000 – a dramatic range of prices. More than half of all single family sales – 54 percent – were distressed sales. For condos, distressed sales were 41 percent of the overall total.
“Clearly, we continue to see three very distinct markets in Sarasota,” noted Bruno. “Buyers who want to avoid delays and other potential problems and complications on distressed properties are willing to pay a higher price for homes and condos. We continue to look forward to the day when these distressed properties return to traditional levels in Sarasota. The rebound in the national economy appears to indicate that day is coming.”
Inventory remained at a very low level in January (6,072 available properties), only slightly higher than last month’s figure of 6,047. But the lower sales volume caused a rise in the months of inventory to 10.2 months from 7.8 months in December 2010 for single family homes, and 14.1 months from 11.7 months for condos. Only two years ago, in January 2009, there were 25.3 months of inventory for single family homes and a very high 38.4 months of condo inventory. The market is considered to be in equilibrium between a buyers and sellers market once the figure reaches the 6 month level.
For the year 2010, overall sales were up 12.4 percent compared to 2009 – 7,603 to 6,739 total sales. Sales in the Sarasota market have now risen for two consecutive years since a low point of 5,820 sales in 2008.
Click HERE for the complete press release in PDF format, plus six pages of statistical charts.