Home sellers making more money faster

April 30, 2014 

MANATEE -- Home sellers in Manatee and Sarasota counties got more money out of their original list prices in March than at any other time in the past 15 months.

According to real estate market statistics by online reporting company Trendgraphix, sellers in both counties got an average of 97 percent of their asking prices at closing. This is up from 92 percent in January and from a period low of 89 percent in April 2013.

In Sarasota County, buyers got 92 percent of asking price in March, up from 90 percent in January.

Sellers also are waiting a shorter period of time for their houses to move. In March, the average time on market for homes selling in the two-county area was 75 days. That's down from 83 days in February and 80 in January. The fastest selling month out of the past 15 was October 2013 with an average time on market of 68 days.

Houses in Sarasota County were on the market for an average of 80 days in March. October was the best month of the past 15 for the county, as sellers had homes on the market for an average of 72 days and sold for an average of 93 percent of asking price.

Pending and total home sales were also up in Manatee County. In March, 686 homes sold, according to Trendgraphix, while 973 pending sales registered. Listings hit their second-highest point since January 2013, with 3,116 homes for sale. The numbers were bigger in Sarasota County, where 1,083 homes sold, 1,465 were pending sale and 4,625 were listed.

Fla. Amazon shoppers to start paying taxes this week

Starting Thursday, Internet giant Amazon.com will start charging sales tax on purchases in Florida.

The tax is linked to the opening, later this year, of two distribution centers Amazon is building in Hillborough and Polk counties.

The Florida Department of Revenue requires online companies to begin collecting sales taxes once a company has a physical presence in the state. That has allowed many out-of-state online retailers, including Amazon, to avoid adding the taxes to online purchases. Floridians are supposed to pay the taxes themselves when they buy from online retailers, but few do.

The Florida Retail Federation estimates that the state will collect $80 million a year from Amazon sales.

Chamber hosts health care reform workshops

MANATEE COUNTY -- The Manatee Chamber is hosting a workshop May 7 at its Lakewood Ranch office about health care reform.

The seminar is designed to help guide attendees through the questions they should be asking about health care reform, their business, their workforce, their insurance options, and their record-keeping. The seminar begins at

7:45 a.m.

Seminar presenters include Mystery Slimick of BB&T Insurance Services, Steve Hall of Alltrust and Matthew Westerman of Blalock Walter.

This workshop is structured to help business owners and human resources staff get answers, talk with their insurance broker/accountant/attorney, meet current requirements and prepare for the future. All attendees will receive two workbook-style toolkits.

The cost is $20 for Manatee Chamber members and $35 for guests. RSVP by phone at 941-748-4842, ext. 133 or online at web.manateechamber.com/events/Healthcare-Reform-Workshop-518/details.

Knight Marketing receives national awards

SARASOTA -- Knight Marketing, a strategic marketing firm, recently picked up national awards for work it produced last year for VITAS Innovative Hospice Care.

Knight Marketing won gold in the digital marketing programs category for a series of location-specific websites it produced for Miami-based VITAS, the nation's largest hospice organization. It also won bronze in the new media category for digital work created for freestanding kiosks.

The Healthcare Advertising Awards received more than 3,700 submissions, with 297 receiving gold. A national panel of judges scored entries for quality, creativity and message effectiveness.

-- Herald staff and wire reports

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