MANATEE -- As the local real estate market descended into its annual quiet season last month, the number of home sales, median sales prices and inventory dropped for the fourth month in a row.
Coming off the second-busiest residential sales month in five years in May, the Manatee County housing market has steadily quieted, dropping from a peak of 547 single-family home sales five months ago to 481 in September, according to figures published by the Multiple Listing Service. Still, the total was nearly 18 percent more than September 2013.
Prices were also down, dropping from the year's peak median of $225,000 to $217,000. The drop comes as the supply of homes hits a six-month low, with 1,990 homes on the market. But home shoppers continued to buy relatively quickly. Single-family properties sold in September spent an average of 47 days on the market, 10 days fewer than in August.
Put into perspective, the 2014 market is a good one. September prices, inventory, days-on-market and sales in Manatee County were still well ahead of where they were at the same time last year, and were a bit better than the statewide picture. Florida as a whole showed a 13.5 percent increase in sales over the past year as the median sales price for a single-family home hit $180,000.
Neighboring Sarasota County had more single-family home sales in September, 688, but sellers realized a lower median price for the month at $189,000. At the same time, the availability of homes for sale was slightly lower than in Manatee County as the supply hit 4 months. Manatee's inventory, calculated as how long it would take to sell
all homes currently on the market, was 4.3 months in September.
Sales of homes in foreclosure or up for short sale in Manatee County comprised about a quarter of the total single-family market for the month.
Down by just 10 sales from August, the total number of distressed sales was up just slightly from the same period in 2013.
Buyers favored foreclosures, snapping up 118 of them at a median price of $111,300, above the 75 that sold the previous September for a $105,000 median.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027, or on Twitter @MattAtBradenton.