Sarasota among Conde Nast’s best small cities


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Earlier this week, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reported that Sarasota has earned another accolade!  Condé Nast Traveler recently published their list of the “Best Small Cities in the U.S.” and Sarasota, Florida is on the list.  This list is a readers’ choice of the top 15 cities with a population of 150,000 or less.

This is the second such accolade awarded to Sarasota this year. Earlier in 2016, Condé Nast Traveler named Sarasota among the best food cities in the United States – a list also originating from the magazine’s readers.

Globally, Sarasota has long been known for its beautiful beaches and cultural arts, but one other thing that the magazine’s readers praised Sarasota for, which may not be quite as obvious, is our “growing farm-to-table movement.”  Here is how the magazine described our beloved city: “In a region best known for technicolor sunsets and thatched-roof daiquiri bars, Sarasota shines for its growing farm-to-table movement, soft beaches, and culture: Attractions include the Ringling Museum of Art, the restored Sarasota Opera House, and Lido and Siesta Key beaches.

What an honor it is to be included in a list of breathtaking locations such as Sedona, AZ, Aspen, CO, and Savannah, GA! Click here to see the full list.

If you have been considering a move to Sarasota Florida, contact me today!

A Seller’s Market Remains for Sarasota and Manatee counties


While the number of overall closed residential sales, median home prices, and inventory are all up from this time last year, the Sarasota/Manatee area continues to be a seller’s market.  Sarasota county residential sales are only slightly up from September 2015 with a 3.3% increase in condominium sales and a 3% decrease in single family home sales. By contrast, Manatee county single family homes sales are up 13.8% from last year, while condominium sales have dropped 6.2%.

Inventory for the two counties is up nearly 20% from last year at this time even though the current levels have followed the expected trend of off-season decline.  According to the September 2016 data, Sarasota county has a 4.2-month supply of inventory for single family homes and a 5-month supply for condominiums while inventory levels for Manatee county are slightly lower; however, neither county is too far off from a balanced market indicator of a 6-month supply.

Pending sales are have also decreased an overall 11% from 2015 but as the Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee reports, this was not unexpected since 2015 recorded a historically high number of residential sales. Additionally, Linda Formella, the 2016 RASM® President pointed out other factors that can slow down the rate of pending sales such as back-to-school activities, storm warnings, and the anticipation of election results.

Click here to read the full report from the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, please contact me for further details.

141 North Casey Key Rd, Osprey, FL for Sale


Gulf-side patio with fire-pit at 141 N. Casey Key Rd.

Welcome to Casa Celeste, my newest listing on the coveted north end of Casey Key, located at 141 N. Casey Key Rd in Osprey, Florida.  This exquisite home was recently remodeled — re-envisioned by architect George Merlin and brought to life by Mayer Construction.  The end result is an inviting residence with the perfect blend of added amenities for exceptional waterfront living and the preservation of the original feel of a genuine beachfront home from yesteryear.

141-n-casey-key-rd-osprey-fl-small-024-31-024-666x444-72dpiUpon entering the home, two things immediately catch your eye.  The first being the walls of glass that draw you to the calming breadth of the Gulf of Mexico and the other is the vaulted, tongue-and-groove ceiling that seems to transport you to a different era.  Adding to the overall charm of this home are the classic lines and the coral stone fireplace.

The transformation of this home includes an open floor plan that takes full advantage of the views as well as the addition of a pool, new tropical landscaping, an outdoor patio with awning, fire-pit and hot tub, and a 3-car air conditioned garage with ample storage space.

141-n-casey-key-rd-osprey-fl-small-041-53-041-666x444-72dpiThree ensuite bedrooms, a laundry room, powder room, wet bar, Lutron lighting, hurricane compliant glass, Anderson French doors all complete this home’s stunning location with 105 feet of frontage on the Gulf of Mexico.

This property is listed at $4,500,000 with furnishings included.  Contact Deborah for a personal property viewing.

Median Sale Prices and Inventory Continue to Rise


The Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee recently released the regional sales numbers for the month of July and while the number of residential sales substantially differ from the record numbers we saw in 2015, Sarasota and Manatee counties are starting to see a more normalizing trend as median sale prices and inventory continue to climb.

Over the past year, Manatee County increased in sales from 2015, with a 0.7 percent increase in single family homes and an 11.5 percent increase in condos, but by contrast, Sarasota County sales are more than 20 percent down for both single family homes and condos.  Additionally, in 2015 pending sales remained very strong through August, but this year, we saw significant slow-down in pending sales as early as May.  In July, records showed that pending sales are 18.5 percent lower than last year for Sarasota and Manatee counties.

However, median sale prices for single family homes in Sarasota County are up 10.5 percent from 2015 to $242,500, while Manatee County experienced an 11.7 percent jump from 2015 to $279,250. Year over year, condo median sales prices rose 7.9 percent from 2015 to $205,000 in Sarasota and 21.9 percent to $185,250 in Manatee.

Inventory is steadily rising as well with single family homes in Manatee and Sarasota each showing a 19.5 percent increase from July 2015, which equates to over 4 month’s supply of inventory.

“July marks the seventh month this year where pending sales are down. This is also the sixth month where listing inventory has been higher than the same period last year. It’s reasonable to expect that the prices will adjust to the slowing demand,” says Linda Formella, 2016 President of the Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee.

Click here to read the full report from the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, please contact me for further details.

Is a Quality Healthcare System on Your List of Criteria?


There are many factors to consider when considering a move to Florida.  For many, the sun, sand and surf will be at the top of the list of criteria, as would the cultural amenities of the area.  However, for others who are looking to move to Florida based on more everyday and practical criteria, the quality of the area’s healthcare system may be high on that list as well.

Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) evaluated over 4,500 eligible hospitals in the nation for overall quality and safety, based on the performance level on a range of inpatient and outpatient measures. Only 2.2% (or 102) of those hospitals received a 5-star rating; and of those 102 hospitals, only 2 of them are located in Florida; the first being the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and the other being Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

But the accolades do not stop there!

A few days later, the U.S. News’ 2016-17 “Best Hospitals” ranked Sarasota Memorial Hospital in the top 10 for the state of Florida and cited Sarasota Memorial Hospital as being one of only 63 hospitals nationwide to earn “high performing” ratings in all nine inpatient surgical procedures and chronic conditions evaluated.

In early July, the Florida Department of Health notified Sarasota Memorial Hospital that it now qualifies as a Level II Trauma Center, making it only one of 31 hospitals statewide to have this designation.  Such a designation means that critically injured patients in Sarasota County can now be treated locally rather than be transported to another trauma center in another community.

As a community, we could not be more proud of SMHC’s dedicated staff, nurses and physicians and their commitment to providing their patients with optimal care.

If you are considering a move to Southwest Florida, contact me today!

Home Building and New Construction Jobs: Both on the Rise in Southwest Florida.


The Sarasota Herald Tribune reported that home building is booming in Southwest Florida with permits in Sarasota-Manatee increasing 65% from last year. However, some residential builders have expressed their concerns, stating that the availability of qualified skilled labor workers is becoming less while the demand for workers continues to rise.

It’s a huge daily challenge, no question about it,” said Michael Storey, president of Neal Communities, the region’s largest locally based home builder. “And it’s not only a quantity issue, it’s a quality issue as well. Finding skilled workers makes the equation even more difficult.

See more on this story at:  Construction companies struggle to find enough skilled workers

Michael Saunders & Company Ranked #1 in Sarasota County in 2015

Michael.Drayton.HeadshotRealTrends recently released its 2015 statistics for real estate brokerages in Sarasota County and Michael Saunders & Company ranked at the top of the list.  Saunders had 3,378 residential transaction sides (representing either the seller or the buyer), with a volume of $1.566 billion. It represented the seller in 1,664 sales and the buyer in 1,714 sides.

We are so proud to share our company’s accomplishments and could not be more proud to work with our amazing team of professionals under the awesome leadership of Michael and Drayton Saunders.

Click here to read the full report from the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, please contact me for further details.

2613 Casey Key Rd, Nokomis FL For Sale

Welcome to Heron Hill, my newest listing on Casey Key, an exquisite Gulf to Bay estate situated on 1.6 acres of prime beachfront on this exclusive 8-mile barrier island located between Siesta Key and the island of Venice, Florida.

Completely renovated in 2008, the Clifford Scholz designed remodel takes full advantage of the approximate 17-foot elevation to reveal magnificent, unobstructed Gulf and Bay views and the best of a coastal lifestyle.

At the front of the property is a private tennis court overlooking Blackburn Bay, with a walkway that leads to the front of the expansive home.  When you walk through the front door, your eyes are met with reminders of the exceptional detail that went into creating this home, from the grand lounge that is lined with French doors, giving you a sneak peek of the crisp Gulf waters that await you to the pecky cypress beams in the impressive kitchen that would delight the most discerning chef.  On the second level, discover a luxurious master retreat complete with a spa-inspired bath and another wall of French doors that open up to your own private Gulf front terrace.

The highly sought after amenities of coastal living are accomplished with finesse to complete this home, including a sweeping Gulf-front outdoor lounge with open-air swimming pool, summer kitchen and verdant rolling lawn leading to the beach.

This property is listed at $8,750,000.  Contact Deborah for a personal property viewing.

Sarasota Ranks in the Top 10 for Most Tax-Friendly City

While tax day is a one-day event for many people, for small business owners, taxes are a year-round, top-of-mind topic. With April 15th just around the corner, released its analysis of its annual Small Business Friendliness survey, which ranks U.S. cities specifically on their tax friendliness toward small businesses.  Out of 96 cities, surveying nearly 18,000 small business owners, Sarasota came in at #7!

Thumbtack-MostTaxFriendlyCities-602x1024Three factors are taken into account (no pun intended) when ranking each city:  (1) the overall tax friendliness, (2) ease of understanding and filing taxes, and (3) the perceived fairness of local tax rates. Texas, Florida, and Michigan each had multiple cities in the Top 10, while California seemed to dominate the opposite end of the spectrum. Additionally, while some may perceive that Florida made the list only because we do not have state income tax and therefore, business owners pay less taxes, the survey actually revealed that the perception of small business friendliness is influenced more by how easy it is to comply with tax laws and less by the overall rate of taxation.

So if you are thinking about relocating and starting your own small business, Sarasota just may be the right choice not only for all of its beauty and cultural offerings, but also for turning the dreaded topic of taxes into a more friendly experience.




Signs of a Healthy Market: 2015 Hits an All-Time Record in Real Estate

Dec2015_StatsThe numbers are in and it’s official!  2015 closed out the year with an all-time record of 20,691 in combined closed residential transactions, which is 1,302 sales above last year’s numbers.

Additionally, median sale prices have increased across the board.  Single family home prices rose 22%  in Sarasota County to $239,900 and nearly 12% to $262,963 in Manatee County, and condo sales rose 22% Sarasota County and 6% in Manatee County to $217,000 and $178,249 respectively.

Another sign that our market has become healthier is the drop in the percentage of distressed sales. Distressed sales for single family homes were down 49% from last year in Sarasota County and 46% down in Manatee County.  In December, there were only 195 distressed sales reported in the two counties, which is just under 12% of all reported residential sales and certainly, a significant drop from the peak of 48% from just a few years ago.  Dec2015_Stats_Manatee

New Pending sales were down 11.3% for single family homes and remained unchanged for condo sales year over year.  The declining inventory is likely to be the cause of the decline in new pending sales, as buyers face the challenges of not only finding the right property but also the probability of competing in multiple-offer situations. Inventory of available properties continues to decline for both counties and the two-county area saw the month’s supply of inventory remain just below the 4-month level.

Nevertheless, referring to the historic year in residential sales for our two-county area, RASM President, Linda Formella credits the hard work and dedication of our area’s professional Realtors® as well as the many industries that support the real estate community.  She states that more people are eager to be part of this southwest Florida paradise in which we live and work and looks forward to a healthy year of steady growth in 2016.

Click here to read the full report from the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.

If you are interested in buying or selling property, please contact me for further details.