Latest Market Report Shows a Continued Upward Trend


The latest data compiled from My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service shows an increase for single family homes sales.  Compared to last year at this time, August 2017 figures showed an increase in closed sales, median home prices and inventory for Sarasota and Manatee counties.  While there have been some fluctuations month-to-month in closed sales this year, the total number through August 2017 still remain higher than the first 8 months of 2016.

Year-over-year, as the number of distress properties continues its decline, median prices continue to rise.  The median price for single family homes in Sarasota County rose 1.5% over August 2016 to $258,000 and more than 6% in Manatee County to $286,855.  

Although inventory is higher than it was at this time last year, the month’s supply of inventory has been on a slow decline since March 2017, remaining just under the threshold for a balanced market.  In Sarasota County, there was a 3.8 month supply of single family homes for sale, while Manatee dropped to a 4.1 month supply. Sarasota condos dropped to a 4.3 month supply, while Manatee is now at a 3.9 month supply.

In response to how Hurricane Irma will affect our market in the coming months, Xena Vallone, 2017 President of the Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee stated that while several conditions can affect the timing of when the increased pending sales will convert into closed sales, right now there is no way to determine the true effects the hurricane will have on our market.  At present time, there have been some delays in closed sales due to financed transactions requiring either a re-inspection or the lift of the disaster designation.

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

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

Median Home Prices Rising Due to Low Inventory and High Demand


The latest data compiled from My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service continues to fluctuate in July 2017 for Sarasota and Manatee counties.  In Sarasota county, closed sales increased 5.8 percent over July 2016; however, Manatee county saw an 8.9 percent decrease in closed sales over the previous year.

In response to the low inventory of active properties for sale combined with the a decreasing number of foreclosed and short sales, median home prices continue to rise.  Compared to July 2016, both Sarasota and Manatee counties saw just over a 7 percent increase in the median price for a single family home.  Condo median prices tell a slightly different story with a 4.5 percent increase for Sarasota County but in stark contrast, a 10.9 percent decrease in Manatee county.

So does the increase in the median price for single family homes mean we are headed for a repeat of 2006?  Not necessarily.  Overall median prices in July still remain lower than during the recently ended season. Xena Vallone, the 2017 President of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee states that while median prices are rising, the increase is driven by supply and demand and not artificial factors that were experienced a decade ago. “The increase began in 2011 and has continued at a gradual, sustainable rate,” Vallone adds.

While inventory is reported as being low, it is important to mention that inventory levels still show an increase year-over-year but that the lowering trend has been occurring since February. Last year at July month-end, there were 6,687 properties for sale in the two-county area. By the end of February 2017, the level had increased to 8,557 and by the end of July 2017, there were 7,182 properties on the market. 

The month’s supply of inventory peaked in March with levels inching toward a balanced market. However, like inventory, this figure has been steadily decreasing since then. In Manatee County, there was a 4.2 month supply of single family homes for sale, while Sarasota dropped to a 4.1 month supply. Sarasota condos are at a 4.6 month supply and Manatee condos are at a 4.1 month supply. The market remains a seller’s market.

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

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

Michael Saunders & Company Ranks Among the Nation’s Top Brokerages

Out of the top 500 real estate brokerages nationwide, Michael Saunders & Company was ranked at #70 in terms of sales volume and #96 in terms of sides of transactions.  REAL Trends, a leading authority on news, research and information about the real estate brokerage industry, recently announced these results in the REAL Trends 500 report, an independently verified compilation of the nation’s leading residential real estate companies.

It is important to understand two factors about this report.  First, in order for a brokerage to qualify for REAL Trends 500, that brokerage must close a minimum of 500 residential transactions sides (either buyer or seller) over and above the previous calendar year. Second, this compilation only includes the sales of residential homes; leases, commercial property sales or vacant land sales are not taken into account.

To give a better perspective on what this report means for the nation’s top brokerages, Steve Murray, president of REAL Trends states that while “housing sales in the nation were up 4.9 percent in 2016 from 2015…the REAL Trends 500 firms were up 6.6% in the same period.” This marks the third consecutive year that the nation’s largest brokerage firms gained market share and further demonstrates that “America’s largest brokerage firms have figured out how to grow their share in all kinds of markets.”  In other words, whether a buyer or seller market; a slow or hot market, the agents of the REAL Trends 500 firms are stepping up, conquering challenges, and closing the sales! 

As a company, we are always honored to be recognized nationally; however, we are just as honored to be recognized locally.  When REAL Trends compared our firm with others in the Sarasota real estate market, Michael Saunders & Company showed a strong lead both in the number of transaction sides and sales volume for 2016. 

Sarasota County
COMPANY 2016 Sides
Michael Saunders & Company . . . . . . . .  . 5,857
RE/MAX Alliance Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4,470
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate/NRT . . 4,368
Keller Williams Sarasota Lakewood Ranch . . . . . 1,953
Premier Sotheby’s International Realty . . . . . . . . 1,771

COMPANY 2016 Volume
Michael Saunders & Company . . . . . . . . . $2,430,886,648
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate/NRT . . . $1,606,303,000
RE/MAX Alliance Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,249,148,937
Premier Sotheby’s International Realty . . . $878,682,050
Keller Williams Sarasota Lakewood Ranch. $507,941,433

So, if you have been considering buying or selling a home, consider Michael Saunders & Company and contact me today!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Employment Growth Leads to Surge in Real Estate

The Realtor® Association of Sarasota and Manatee has released the sales numbers for May, and what has been said for months now still rings true: 2015 is on track to be another record-breaking year!

SAR_May2015Total reported residential sales in May for Sarasota county stood at 1,182; which is only 42 sales less than the all-time monthly record and Manatee county’s sales for May are at 827, which is a 10% increase over last year.

MAR_May2015Along with sales trending at historically high levels for both counties, the median sales price has steadily been on the rise. May 2015’s median sales price for Sarasota county is up 20% from last year and up 14.3% for Manatee county.

As sales and median prices continue to increase, so too has the demand, causing a decrease in inventory and in the length of time homes are remaining on the market.  Based upon this market statistic, sellers remain in command.

This continued upward trend in real estate sales may have some worrying about another “housing bubble;” however, the Chief Economist for Realtor.com, Jonathan Smoke recently reported that the housing market is on track to have its best year since 2006, but unlike 2006, there is no evidence of a “bubble.” Smoke states that it is job growth that is fueling this housing surge; citing that more than 3 million jobs have been created in the past 12 months; with more than 1 million of those jobs having been created for 25- to 34-year-olds, the age range at which most Americans buy their first home.

Association president, Stafford Starcher says, ““Once again, the market statistics are clearly showing the strength and vitality of Sarasota and Manatee counties.  We are living in a golden era for local real estate, and the future continues to look bright.”

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.