A worsening inventory shortage hurt sales of existing single-family homes locally and nationally in August, with Manatee County experiencing a 1 percent decrease and Sarasota County slipping 1.8 percent last month.
According to numbers released Thursday by Florida Realtors, buyers closed on 572 homes in August in Manatee County and on 668 in Sarasota County. That’s down from 578 and 680 a month earlier in each county, respectively.
Percent decrese in closed sales on single-family homes in Manatee County from July 2016 to August 2016
Even as the number of sales decline, median prices continue to rise. In Manatee County, the median price in August was $270,000, a 1.9 year-over-year increase. In Sarasota County, there was a 7 percent uptick to $253,528.
With prospective homebuyers having to save more for a down payment, sales have slumped of late despite low mortgage rates. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is at 3.44 percent this week, down from a 3.91 percent a year ago. The average historically has been closer to 6 percent.
The numbers on the condo market were better, with a five percent increase in sales from July to August in Manatee and a 7.5 percent jump in Sarasota. The median price for condos in Manatee surged 6.5 percent to $165,000 from a year earlier, while Sarasota County saw a 1 percent drop to $217,750.
Moreover, pending sales reversed a recent downward trend and improved in August, with 9.3 percent more single-family homes going under contract in Manatee County and 10 percent more in Sarasota County than in July.
Pending sales are a good indicator of potential future closed sales. The increase, if continued through the end of this year, should bring more closed sales to both counties.
Linda Formella, the president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee
“Pending sales are a good indicator of potential future closed sales,” said Linda Formella, the president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. “The increase, if continued through the end of this year, should bring more closed sales to both counties.”
Statewide, closed sales of single-family homes were up 8.2 percent from August 2015, “effectively erasing all of the losses from July,” Florida Realtors chief economist Brad O’Connor said.
That’s especially true in Manatee County, which went from 506 closed sales in August 2015 to 572 this year, a 13 percent increase. The opposite happened in Sarasota County, which went from 755 to 668, an 11.5 percent decrease.
Percent increase in closed sales on single-family homes in Manatee County from August 2015 to August 2016
Nationally, sales of single-family homes fell 0.9 percent in August to 5.33 million, the second straight monthly decline. Still, sales are up 3 percent this year after a long stretch of steady gains, even as the median sales price jumped to $240,200, a 5.1 percent increase.
“Inventory woes continue to introduce supply gridlock for homebuyers,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at the real estate firm Trulia. “Those who want to sell their home might not do so because finding another home is difficult.”
The back-to-back months of declines comes as fewer properties hit the market. According to the National Association of Realtors, the inventory fell 10.1 percent from a year ago to 2.04 million homes.
“We go back to the same bottom line: lack of inventory choices and prices rising way too fast,” said Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtor’s chief economist.
Only the Northeast posted gains, as sales fell in the Midwest, South and West.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.