By Brian Tressider
Even if you have avoided watching the news or reading the paper, by simply taking a stroll through your neighborhood or a drive down the street, you can tell that the Florida Real Estate Market is HOT. The rows of For Sale signs that lined the streets the past few years are gone. If there happens to be one or two still in your neighborhood, they most likely are accompanied by a “Pending” sign. The former housing eyesores with high grass and broken windows waiting to be foreclosed now shine with perfect landscaping and other loving touches by their new owners. Statistics will show that the once decimated Florida housing market is on the rise, and quickly.
According to the most recent housing report presented by the Florida Realtors®, the upward sales trend in the first quarter of 2013 continued to roll through April. This report shows an increase in the number of closed and pending sales, rising median prices, and a lower inventory of homes for sale. All of these signs point to the strong, continued improvement of the Florida Housing Market.
While the number of sales has been steadily increasing, the number of new listings on the market continues to remain low. This correlation between supply and demand has created a frenzy among well priced new listings. “Buyers need to be prepared when considering a purchase. We are seeing our market priced listings receive multiple offers within the first several days of being on the market,” reports Keith M. Redding, Broker with Key Solutions Real Estate on Siesta Key. “The lack of inventory coupled with an abundance of buyers looking to take advantage of the low interest rates and discounted sales prices, has sparked the rebound of our market. Our agents are citing that many of buyers are thinking ahead. Even with retirement years away, many buyers want to purchase their second or retirement homes while prices are still low.”
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 20,662 in April, a more than 17.4 percent increase compared to the year-ago figure. Over 1,000 of these sales were from Members of the Sarasota Association of Realtors. In the 90 year history of the Sarasota Association of Realtors, only 10 months have ever surpassed 1,000 sales. When asked about these sales figures, Redding said, “The number of sales are not a surprise to anyone in the industry. April could easily have been a record setting month if more inventory was available.” In addition to the increase in sales, the values have also seen a substantial spike. The median sales price of single family homes in the Sarasota area has shown a substantial increase from $175,000 in April of 2012, to $217,000 for April 2013, which is the highest level since 2008. The inventory remains at its lowest level in a decade, decreasing by an additional 19 percent from April 2012 to this past April.
Meanwhile, current pending sales, which are properties that are under contract but not yet closed, for existing single-family homes last month rose 31.9 percent over the previous April. “By considering these numbers for pending sales, there is a good indication that the upcoming summer months will be strong as well,” said Redding
The single family homes market was not the only segment showing resurgence in Florida this past April. 11,183 condos and townhomes were sold statewide, an increase of 13.6 percent from April of 2012. Meanwhile, pending sales for these properties are up over 22.7 percent from last year. “The resurgence in the condo market stems from the still depreciated pricing of these types of property. Many buyers prefer the ease of owning a condo as a second home or vacation property. The majority of Key Solution’s buyers cited the trending increase in the values of property as to why they decided to make their purchase this year,“ replied Redding when asked about the significant increase in transactions involving condos. “They have seen the increase in pricing from last year to this year and didn’t want to let the opportunity pass them by. If the trend continues, each month that people wait to buy will cost them money.”
According to the Florida Association of Realtors, the inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.2-months’ supply in April; inventory for townhouse-condos was at a 5.6-months’ supply. The same report cited FAR Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo as saying, “To a certain extent, the real estate story remains the same: prices and sales are up and inventory is low. We are also seeing a continued stabilization of the distressed property market with short sales down, and foreclosure and REO (real estate owned) sales essentially unchanged. But there is also a bit more to the story.” He also stated, “Because the government is selling foreclosed properties in bulk and also using online auctions, our sales numbers actually understate the vigor of the market. The increased importance of government sales in this market is reflected in the continuing fall in inventory in MLS listings.”
Given all of the information, the question remains, what does this mean for buyers and sellers? According to Redding, “This is a great time to be a buyer or a seller. With property values well below the peak and interest rates still historically low, buyers can take advantage. For sellers, the inventory on the market is so low, that if you price your home according to market value, buyers will be flocking to your property.”
Keith M. Redding is a Broker Owner at Key Solutions Real Estate located on Siesta Key. He has been licensed for more than 8 years and is part of an executive team responsible for over $500m in real estate sales. Keith has earned the FIVE STAR Best in Client Satisfaction Award from Sarasota Magazine 5 consecutive years in addition to several Multi-Million Dollar Producer Awards. To find out more information about the Sarasota real estate market, or to get a free home market evaluation, call Keith Redding at (941)894-1255 or visit www.keysolutionsrealestate.com