MANATEE -- Rebounding from a relatively cold selling climate in November, existing home sales in Manatee and Sarasota counties bounced back to bring 2015 to an all-time sales record.
November existing home sales in Sarasota and Manatee counties totaled 1,671, bringing the year's total to 20,691, which eclipses the old mark of 19,389 set in 2014.
According to Multiple Listing Service, December was one of the strongest months of the year for total home sales and median selling price. Total sales were 28 percent higher than the previous month.
Linda Formella, president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, said the numbers make for "exciting times" in the residential real estate market.
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Other year-end indicators may be setting up 2016 for another strong sales year, including a three-year peak in permits issued for new home construction.
Also up in 2015 were sales of homes priced above $1 million. In that price category, 590 homes changed hands during the year.
Price appreciation was not limited to the luxury market. Compared with a year ago, median prices rose for all detached homes, condominiums and townhomes.
Prices were also up from November, which saw sales slack off to their lowest levels since a midsummer peak.
Sarasota County single family home prices hit their highest level in five years in December, reaching a median of $239,900.
Also reaching a five-year peak were Manatee County condos and townhomes. The median for those units, $178,249, improved on a previous high of $170,500 set in October.
Manatee County single-home prices represented the most expensive class of housing in the two counties with a median selling price of $262,963.
The number of properties available for sale was up from November, but well down from the same time in 2014. The two-county area supply of homes was well below the six-month level that typically defines an equilibrium between buyers and sellers. The supply of single family homes in Sarasota County was at 3.8 months in December. Manatee was at 3.9.
Condos were somewhat more plentiful, with a 4.1-month supply in Sarasota County and a 4.3-month supply in Manatee.
Cast against even the five-year high prices December brought statewide, Manatee and Sarasota counties are comparatively expensive and showing above-average demand. MLS figures for Florida pegged the median selling price of an existing single family home in October at $206,500. Condo pricing hit a median of $156,500.
Matt M. Johnson, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7027 or on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.