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!

Sarasota among Conde Nast’s best small cities

sarasota-florida-gettyimages-115029141

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!

Median Sale Prices and Inventory Continue to Rise

rasm_logo

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.

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

construction

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

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.

How Luxury Real Estate Faired in 2014

Happy New Year!  I hope this finds you doing well and that your 2015 is off to a very good start.  Last year continued a very exciting trend for our region’s real estate industry, as homes continued to sell at a near-record pace for the second year in a row.

The luxury market for Sarasota and Manatee counties maintained a very steady pace with the number of sales slightly exceeding those of 2013.  While the majority of the 361 luxury sales in both counties were below the $2 million price point, the 36 luxury sales of single family homes priced at $3 million or higher showed a shift in where buyers purchased.  In 2013, the buyers’ hotspot was Longboat Key; but in 2014, Siesta Key led the pack with 15 sales (as well as the 3 highest sales in Sarasota and Manatee counties) and Casey Key finished strong with 6 sales above $3 million.     I am pleased to report that Michael Saunders & Company continues to be the proven leader in the $3 million+ luxury real estate market.  Below are the $3 million+ sales by location in 2014.  Out of the 36 single family home sales, Michael Saunders & Company agents represented 22 of the transactions on the listing side and 17 on the selling side.

ADDRESS
AREA
SOLD DATE
LIST
PRICE
SOLD
PRICE
HEATED
SF
LAND
SF
WATER FRONTAGE
 232 SEAGULL LN
BIRD KEY
4/11/2014
 $     6,950,000
 $     6,100,000
           7,873
         21,103
BAY
 647 MOURNING DOVE DR
BIRD KEY
6/16/2014
 $     4,500,000
 $     4,000,000
           5,286
         15,000
BAY
 447 MEADOW LARK DR
BIRD KEY
1/29/2014
 $     3,750,000
 $     3,400,000
           4,778
         15,000
BAY
 712 N CASEY KEY RD
CASEY KEY
9/25/2014
 $   10,000,000
 $     8,000,000
         13,553
         90,306
GULF-TO-BAY
 2505 CASEY KEY RD
CASEY KEY
10/23/2014
 $     7,400,000
 $     6,500,000
         12,908
         47,933
GULF-TO-BAY
 2016 CASEY KEY RD
CASEY KEY
8/29/2014
 $     6,900,000
 $     6,200,000
           7,781
         58,787
GULF-TO-BAY
 540 N CASEY KEY RD
CASEY KEY
8/29/2014
 $     4,050,000
 $     3,650,000
           4,494
         36,160
GULF-TO-BAY
 1700 CASEY KEY RD
CASEY KEY
6/30/2014
 $     3,300,000
 $     3,000,000
           4,172
         18,113
NONE
 805 CASEY KEY  RD
CASEY KEY
9/17/2014
 $     2,895,000
 $     3,025,000
           2,255
         22,680
GULF
 7422 PERIWINKLE DR
CORAL COVE
4/18/2014
 $     3,995,000
 $     3,480,000
           7,564
         17,813
BAY
 7406 PERIWINKLE DR
CORAL COVE
6/25/2014
 $     3,149,900
 $     3,200,000
           7,429
         16,914
BAY
 1540 HILLVIEW DR
HARBOR ACRES
7/29/2014
 $     5,250,000
 $     4,500,000
           7,074
         23,410
BAY
 1435 HILLVIEW DR
HARBOR ACRES
2/13/2014
 $     3,959,000
 $     3,650,000
           4,876
         36,466
NONE
 1436 JOHN RINGLING PKWY
LIDO
12/12/2014
 $     6,399,000
 $     5,725,000
           7,930
         17,237
BAY
 165 WHITTIER DR
LIDO BEACH
6/30/2014
 $     3,799,999
 $     3,496,000
           1,743
         33,750
GULF
 267 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN DR
LIDO BEACH
9/19/2014
 $     3,495,000
 $     3,000,000
           3,157
           6,728
GULF
 2735 GULF OF MEXICO DR
LONGBOAT KEY
11/5/2014
 $     5,995,000
 $     5,750,000
           7,550
         16,761
GULF
 640 ROUNTREE  DR
LONGBOAT KEY
9/26/2014
 $     3,500,000
 $     3,450,000
           5,121
         22,684
BAY
 6225 GULF OF MEXICO DR
LONGBOAT KEY
3/12/2014
 $     3,795,000
 $     3,250,000
           4,781
         36,000
GULF
 6133 MANASOTA KEY RD
MANASOTA KEY
9/19/2014
 $     3,495,000
 $     3,100,000
           6,621
         83,150
BAY
 1447 TANGIER  WAY
SAN REMO
12/16/2014
 $     4,595,000
 $     4,200,000
           5,040
         18,392
BAY
 7712 SANDERLING  RD
SIESTA KEY
10/20/2014
 $   11,850,000
 $  11,850,000
           4,715
         53,754
GULF
 8250 SANDERLING RD
SIESTA KEY
7/25/2014
 $   11,500,000
 $     8,850,000
           7,652
         66,969
GULF
 4300 HIGEL AVE
SIESTA KEY
5/29/2014
 $   10,975,000
 $  10,250,000
           8,623
         69,028
GULF
 6629 PEACOCK RD
SIESTA KEY
10/2/2014
 $     7,950,000
 $     6,344,633
         10,207
         43,747
BAY
 3466 GULFMEAD DR
SIESTA KEY
2/27/2014
 $     7,900,000
 $     7,070,000
           7,132
         26,659
GULF-TO-BAY
 636 BEACH RD
SIESTA KEY
10/22/2014
 $     4,950,000
 $     4,950,000
           4,163
         83,700
GULF
 156 GIVENS ST
SIESTA KEY
3/31/2014
 $     4,750,000
 $     4,250,000
           4,946
         11,951
GULF
 648 BEACH  RD
SIESTA KEY
12/31/2014
 $     4,481,400
 $     4,481,400
           4,746
           9,550
GULF
 684 FREELING DR
SIESTA KEY
5/29/2014
 $     4,395,000
 $     3,750,000
           9,398
         64,963
BAY
 778 SIESTA DR
SIESTA KEY
9/12/2014
 $     3,950,000
 $     3,600,000
           6,395
         20,870
BAY
 5309 HIDDEN HARBOR RD
SIESTA KEY
4/11/2014
 $     3,599,999
 $     3,350,000
           6,827
         18,339
BAY
 220 TENACITY LN
SIESTA KEY
9/30/2014
 $     3,500,000
 $     3,250,000
           3,467
         11,079
GULF
 7816 SANDERLING RD
SIESTA KEY
8/22/2014
 $     3,450,000
 $     3,050,000
           2,800
         34,926
GULF
 7102 POINT OF ROCKS CIR
SIESTA KEY
12/1/2014
 $     3,200,000
 $     3,200,000
           5,582
         15,000
NONE
 7101 POINT OF ROCKS CIR
SIESTA KEY
4/11/2014
 $     3,195,000
 $     3,000,000
           2,764
         22,529
GULF

What I find interesting is that the majority of these sales took place during the months that used to be known as the off-season (from mid-May through the end of October).

Casa al Mare – 2016 Casey Key Rd.  Sold on August 2014 Deborah represented the Seller

Casa al Mare – 2016 Casey Key Rd.
Sold in August 2014
Deborah represented the Seller

Villa de Napoli – 2505 Casey Key Rd.  Sold on October 2014 Deborah represented the Buyer & Seller

Villa de Napoli – 2505 Casey Key Rd.
Sold in October 2014
Deborah represented the Buyer & Seller

And finally, 2015 is already off to a good start with 135 homes available for sale that are listed at $3 million plus throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties; two of which are “active with contract” and 5 other homes that are pending.    With all the new construction underway from “west of trail” to downtown, to Lido Key to Longboat Key, Sarasota is certainly trending toward “modern” architecture in both condominiums and single family homes. The amount of building activity is a strong indicator of our area being on the radar of those who seek the lifestyle we enjoy. I see this trend continuing in 2015 and beyond.

Interested in selling your property, or perhaps buying another, contact Deborah Beacham for a complimentary comparative market analysis.

I will continue to keep you posted on sales activity in our beautiful area.  In the meantime, stay warm during our “Florida winter” and I wish you all a 2015 full of good health, happiness, peace, and prosperity.

Sarasota Poised For New Development

If you have looked to the skyline in our region lately, you may have noticed the presence of construction cranes in the backdrop.  As Michael Saunders put it, these cranes are “highly visible displays of confidence in the region’s commercial real estate market,” but they are more than just a sign of commercial growth; these cranes represent a major transformation for the Sarasota/Manatee area.

By the time construction is completed, well over a quarter of a billion dollars in new construction will have been spent throughout the region, adding almost 1,000 hotel rooms, close to 1,500 residential condominiums and prominent retail centers committed to bringing in well-known luxury brands from all across the country and our commercial landscape will have evolved into something spectacular.

Rendering of the Mall at University Town Center

Rendering of the Mall at University Town Center

The most anticipated retail center is the Mall at University Town Center, one of only two enclosed malls of major size and scope under construction in the entire U.S.  The developer’s financial commitment to our region has encouraged many of the nation’s premier luxury retailers to eagerly follow suit.

A rendering of VUE Sarasota Bay

A rendering of VUE Sarasota Bay

For downtown Sarasota’s bay front, be prepared for what is being hailed as an iconic representation of Sarasota’s history and an important laboratory for mid-century modern architecture – a genre that is indigenous to our region and studied by architectural students worldwide. VUE Sarasota Bay is set to break ground soon and will feature an 18-story condominium as well as partner with a new Westin Hotel.

Our region already enjoys influx of visitors who enjoy our status as Florida’s cultural mecca with some of the top-ranked beaches in the world.  However, with our emerging status as an international sporting destination, our region is set to increase its tourism appeal and subsequently, its tourism dollars and our commercial landscape is ready to meet those demands.

Aerial view of Nathan Benderson Park, where the 2017 World Rowing Championships will be held

Aerial view of Nathan Benderson Park, where the 2017 World Rowing Championships will be held

Still, the evolving commercial landscape doesn’t just stop with tourism.  Tourism growth brings on a demand for residential and commercial properties, it brings new businesses to the area and thus, increases productivity, employment, property values, investment, and tax revenue – sending the Sarasota/Manatee region into a cycle of prosperity.

Ringling ~ Named a Top Florida Attraction

The Ringling Courtyard, courtesy of USA Today

The Ringling Courtyard, courtesy of USA Today

Sarasota has made yet another Top 10 list; this time published by USA Today® and this time the accolade goes to the very prestigious Ringling.  The newspaper’s “Best Florida Attraction” was compiled by readers and local experts who handpicked the attractions and gave the number 2 spot to the museum. The top spot went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which is home to Dolphin Tale movie star Winter, the dolphin that swims with a prosthetic tail (and really, how can anyone compete against such a wonderful creature?)

The expansive Ringling estate on Sarasota Bay was the home of circus icons John and Mable Ringling and includes their Ca d’Zan mansion, Mabel’s Rose Garden, the Museum of Art (described as having a “Louvre-worthy collection”), the Circus Museum, and the historic Asolo Theater. The Ringling’s landscaping and circus history is what led readers to elect it to the No. 2 spot, beating out the Historical District of the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine and the “happiest place on earth,” Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

Other attractions making the list include Everglades Holiday Park, the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg and seashells on Sanibel Island.

Sarasota’s Real Estate Market Continues on Hot Streak

Normally, Sarasota experiences a slight drop in real estate activity during the summer months.   The drop in real estate activity generally coincides with the end of our tourist season.  The Sarasota real estate market during this July remained on a hot streak with 699 sales reported, a 16.7% increase from July 2011.

“The Sarasota real estate market remains a bright spot in Florida and the nation,” said SAR President Laura Benson. “We couldn’t have asked for a better second quarter, and of course the amazing numbers were not expected to continue indefinitely.. But the fact we haven’t seen any big drop off in sales, and we are significantly ahead of last year’s pace, is great news for our members.”

 Key Real Estate Stats from July 2012

Single Family Homes

  • 523 Sold
  • Median Sales Price – $178,000 (a decrease from June 2012)
  • 2329 Active Listings – 4.5 months of available inventory

Condos

  • 176 Sold
  • Median Sales Price – $176,000 (a decrease from June 2012)
  • 1315 Active Listings – 7.5 months of available inventory

Read the Sarasota Association of Realtors complete report, “July Sales continue hot streak for Sarasota real estate

Looking for a luxury home in Sarasota, Florida?

Contact Deborah Beacham at 941.376.2688 to find your dream home in Sarasota!

Sarasota April Homes Sales Exceeds March’s 7-Year High

The Sarasota real estate market is making great strides to recovery.  The 866 real estate transactions that closed in April 2012 marked a new 7-year high for monthly sales.  Monthly sales were up 6.6% from March’s transactions.  In fact, we haven’t experienced a higher number of closings since August 2005.

Key Real Estate Stats from April 2012

Single Family Homes

  • 589 Sold
  • Median Sales Price – $175,000 (Slightly above March’s figure)
  • 2758 Active Listings
  • 4.7 months of available inventory

Condos

  • 297 Sold
  • Median Sales Price – $191,750  (Just above March’s figure)
  • 1525 Active Listings
  • 5.1 months of available inventory

“We’ve had an incredible string of positive numbers in the Sarasota real estate market, and we hope for a consistently strong market going forward,” said SAR President Laura Benson. “I’m hopeful that this will be the case, because we seem to be leading the nation into the real estate market recovery. The national economy continues to improve, employment numbers are better, and we’re in the perfect marketplace in Sarasota.”

Read the Sarasota Association of Realtors complete report, “April 2012 sales hit a new seven-year high

Looking for a waterfront property in Sarasota, Florida?

Contact Deborah Beacham at 941.376.2688 to find your dream waterfront property in Sarasota!