US Pending Home Sales are the Highest in Almost a Year

National Association of Realtors logo (PRNewsFoto/National Association of Realtors)

National Association of Realtors logo (PRNewsFoto/National Association of Realtors)

The National Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday that the pending home sales index climbed 5.5% in February to 112.3%, which is the highest point in almost a year and the second highest point since 2006.

Lawrence Yun, the Association’s chief economist, suggested that a combination of a rising stock market, an uptick in consumer confidence and warmer weather have all played a part in encouraging prospective home buyers.  It was also suggested that rising median home prices may be urging people to make offers now rather than wait and risk price increases.

Additionally, the Association reported last week that even with the sales of existing homes falling in February after a strong January surge, sales are still solidly ahead from a year ago.  Similarly, local pending sales experienced a slight decrease in February, but 2017 started out strong with a 9% increase in Sarasota County and a 6.4% increase for Manatee County and overall, sales are still up from where they were at this time last year.  Even despite a sharp rise in mortgage rates since last November, the U.S. housing market as a whole is looking very strong.

For the full story from Herald Tribune, click here.

If you have been considering buying or selling a home, contact me today!

Sarasota – The Cultural Capital of Florida

Photo by Cliff Roles – Cast of Asolo Repertory’s production of West Side Story 

When we say that Sarasota is full of “arts and culture,” what exactly does that mean?  Well, aside from being internationally recognized for our beaches, Sarasota is also gaining “arts and culture” notoriety not only in the state of Florida, but nationally and even internationally for being one of the “few communities in the nation that have the depth and quality of arts and cultural offerings” that can be found in Sarasota.  Those offerings include live theater, concerts, ballet, opera, galleries, museums, exquisite architecture, art walks, festivals, and of course, our beloved circus. 

John Ringling

John Ringling

In fact, the foundation of our community lives within the arts and circus magnate, John Ringling of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.  When he decided to bring the circus’ winter headquarters to Sarasota, he also brought with him a keen vision for real estate development and an incredible passion for arts and culture.  Thus, “with the seed of arts planted in prominent style, a community was created where artists were valued and creativity was cherished. Today, that legacy lives on.”

Numerous publications have noticed Sarasota beyond our gorgeous beaches as well.  Here is a list of recent accolades:

  • American Style Magazine named Sarasota as the No. 1 “Small City for Art in the United States”
  • NerdWallet listed Sarasota in the “Best Small Cities for Art Lovers”
  • Sarasota’s iconic Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has been recognized as the No. 1 “Performing Arts Hall in North America” in the 2,000-seat category by Venues Today five times
  • Movoto named Sarasota among “The Best Cities in Florida for the Arts”
  • TopRetirements.com said Sarasota is known for “Most Big Cultural Institutions per Square Inch”
  • Coastal Living Magazine named the Sarasota community of Towles Court among the “Top 10 Artists Colonies in North America”
  • The annual Sarasota Film Festival was recently named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by Movie Maker Magazine

From new museums on the horizon like the Sarasota Museum of Art (SMOA) to the expansion of the Ringling College of Art and Design that includes new sound stages scheduled to open soon, our community is committed to keeping Sarasota as a “hub for creativity and culture.”  Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 is one of the most exciting initiatives dedicated to maintaining our status as “Florida’s premier destination for arts and culture” whereby a long-term master plan has been set for re-investing in 42 acres of land along the Bayfront near the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The goal of this project is to create a “permanent expression of Sarasota’s cultural prowess while inhabiting one of the city’s most beautiful and accessible waterfront settings.

Click here to read more on this story from Michael Saunders & Company

If you have been considering a move to our beautiful area, contact me today!

How Does Our Area Rank in Terms of Well-Being?

John Ringling Bridge and the Sarasota Skyline

John Ringling Bridge and the Sarasota Skyline

Florida’s Gulf Coast is no stranger to receiving high praises and accolades from Siesta Key Beach taking the top spot of best U.S. beaches to the Sarasota-Bradenton area being ranked No. 1 for Small Business Vitality.  

Recently, Gallup-Healthways released a study on the State of American Well-Being and has North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton ranked at #6.  To build this Well-Being Index, Gallup surveyed 354,473 people, measuring whether individuals feel a sense of purpose, have supportive relationships, are financially secure, are satisfied with their community, and are in good physical health.  Our region is one of several oceanfront U.S. metro areas to rank highest in terms of residents’ overall well-being. Just over 64% of residents surveyed agreed that our community is the best they can imagine, nearly the largest share in the country and far higher than the 51.6% share of respondents nationwide.

Here is a look at the top 10 cities:

1. Naples–Immokalee–Marco Island, FL
2. Barnstable Town, MA
3. Santa Cruz–Watsonville, CA
4. Urban Honolulu, HI
5. Charlottesville, VA
6. North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, FL
7. San Luis Obispo–Paso Robles–Arroyo Grande, CA
8. Lynchburg, VA
9. Hilton Head Island–Bluffton–Beaufort, SC
10. Boulder, CO

For more on this Gallup-Healthways study, click here.

If you have been considering a move to our beautiful area, contact me today!

Season Off to Solid Start in Sarasota and Manatee

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Recent data produced by Florida REALTORS® for our two-county area indicates January 2017 to be off to a solid start to this season’s sales. Here is a breakdown of how 2017 is starting out for Sarasota and Manatee counties:

  • Inventory in the two-county area increased by 17.9 percent over January of last year. Sarasota condo inventory increased by 27.1 percent and single family homes went 20.8 percent. In Manatee County, condos were up by 11.4 percent and single family by 10.9 percent.
  • Median prices for Sarasota single family homes increased to $250,000, while Manatee single family increased to $279,000. Condo median sales prices rose to $239,900 in Sarasota and to $175,000 in Manatee.
  • Closed sales in the two-county area are up by 11.6 percent from January 2016 for condos. Meanwhile, single family home sales in Sarasota and Manatee showed an 8.2 percent decrease. Collectively, distressed sales experienced a 51.8 percent decrease from last year, while traditional sales (nondistressed) experienced an increase of 3.5 percent, making a healthier market.

With the number of new pending sales going up, median home prices rising, and inventory continuing to increase, it shows that the Sarasota and Manatee areas are nearing a “strong and balanced market.” For sellers this means more interested buyers and for buyers this means more homes to choose from.

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.

 

Casey Key is Off to a Strong Start in 2017

For the area’s real estate market, 2017 is really off to a strong start, particularly for Casey Key. Recent activity on this beautiful island includes the highest sale since 2014!

Casey Key Sold Properties 2017

When Buying a House, What is a Must-Have for You?

Luxury Portfolio International recently conducted a survey to find out what the wealthy look for in a home.  For some it may be the waterfront views, while others are looking for a gourmet kitchen fit for the top chef in the family. However, this survey revealed that ample privacy, a Master bedroom with an en suite bathroom, and energy efficiency and environmental design are at the top of the list of “must-haves” for luxury home buyers. What are your “must-haves”?

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

Sarasota among Conde Nast’s best small cities

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Getty Images

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

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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.

Median Sale Prices and Inventory Continue to Rise

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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?

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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!