Quick Market Checkup

18 Mar 2014, Posted by Drew Russell in Market Statistics

What’s really going on in the Sarasota County real estate market?

We are consistently seeing good news in the newspaper and lots of local and national statistics that purport to be indicators of the overall health of the real estate market. I thought I would take a look at this year’s stats so far by market segment as we are entering the very peak of our busiest selling season of the year.

-In the lower end of the market ($0 to $299,999), we are seeing a year over year gain in listed inventory vs. 2013, there were 2,617 available properties in this range available at the end of February 2014 which is an increase of 15.5% over February of 2013. So far in 2014, new contracts in this price range are 7% above last year’s with a total of 880 properties going under contract.  In this price range, we currently have 3 months of supply based on pended sales as opposed to 2.2 months of supply at the same time last year.  VERDICT: Healthy market, seller’s market, however we are gaining inventory.

-In the mid range of the market ($300,000 to $499,999), we also see a major gain in listed inventory over last year with 943 homes and condos available for sale, an increase of 17%.  So far in 2014, new contracts in this price point are up nearly 16% over last year, keeping pace with the new inventory coming onto the market. In this middle price range, we have 5.2 months of inventory based on pended sales for February 2014, and the exact same level of absorption based on February of last year. VERDICT: The market is expanding, healthy and absorption appears constant at this level. The average sold price, listed price and price per square foot remained stable across the market.

-In the higher end market ($500,000 to $999,999), there has been a modest gain in inventory, about 3%, or 672 total properties, but there has been a nice 10% increase in contracts written from a year ago at this time. We currently have about 6.5 months of inventory in this market segment compared with 7% in February of last year. Average sold price and price per square foot remain very similar to last year at this time. VERDICT: While sales activity is extremely healthy in this segment of the market, it is a more balanced market segment with the traditional 6 month equilibrium.  Pricing remains stable.

-In the luxury market (over $1,000,000), we see a much different story. For February of 2014, there were 606 properties over $1MM available for sale.  This is an increase of only 4% over last year at this time. There is however an alarming 45% drop in the amount of written contracts in this price range versus this time last year (51 sales in February of 2013 vs. 28 in February of 2014).  The amount of closed properties is up slightly as are the average price per square foot closed and the average sale price which is $2,029,000. VERDICT: High Season is not hitting this segment of the market early so far this year. February shows a 21.6 month inventory based on pended sales, but this could easily be a one month aberration.

Overall our market is vibrant and performing well in almost all areas. We are gaining inventory in the lower end which is a good thing, and the middle of the market is robust. Luxury sales are off to a slower start in 2014, but the year is young with plenty of time to reverse that trend.

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