Real estate prices tend to cool as the seasons change, and that held true to form last month as area single-family home prices slipped slightly.
As summer was coming to an end and schools were fully into session, the median price for a home in Manatee County declined 0.4 percent to $269,000 in September and 1.8 percent to $249,000 in Sarasota County.
That said, median prices in both counties were higher than a year earlier, according to a report released Thursday by the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. Single-family homes in Sarasota County jumped 11.3 percent from September 2015, while Manatee County saw a 1.1 percent increase.
$269,000The median price for a home in Manatee County in September
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Closed sales in the two-county area were down 5.5 percent from August but up 3.9 percent from a year earlier. Moreover, inventory in Manatee and Sarasota counties is up 19.8 percent from last year at this time, but has been declining since the spring.
“Historically, listing inventory will rise in the coming weeks as sellers position themselves for the upcoming season,” said Linda Formella, the president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.
Meanwhile, the median price for a Manatee County condominium jumped 7.9 percent last month to $178,000 while experiencing a 13 percent year-over-year uptick. The numbers weren’t nearly as good in Sarasota County, which saw an 11.7 percent drop to $192,450 while remaining flat year over year.
$249,000The median price for a home in Sarasota County in September
Also, September reports of pending sales showed the typical seasonal trend – single-family homes were down 7.6 percent in Manatee and 15.9 percent in Sarasota, while condos were down 8.6 percent in Manatee and 8.1 percent in Sarasota.
“The decline in pending sales could be a result of the typical September slow-down with buyers focused on back-to-school activities and storm warnings,” Formella said. “Also ... some buyers may have become leery of the rising prices and tight inventory, so they are content to sit on the sidelines.”
Nationally, more Americans bought homes in September, many for the first time, despite a persistent shortage of properties for sale.
The National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing homes rose 3.2 percent from August, the strongest pace since June. Sales rose across the country: 5.7 percent in the Northeast, 5 percent in the West, 3.9 percent in the Midwest and 0.9 percent in the South.
The decline in pending sales could be a result of the typical September slow-down with buyers focused on back-to-school activities and storm warnings.
Linda Formella, the president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee
Tight inventories drove the median price of existing homes up 5.6 percent from a year ago to $234,200.
The association said first-time home buyers accounted for 34 percent of the purchases, the most since July 2012. On Tuesday, the real estate firm Zillow released a report showing a surprise increase in first-time home buyers over the past year – good news for the housing market because home ownership rates for adults under 34 have been at record lows.
“What is lacking is inventory,” said the association’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun. “If we had more, we would sell more. … Home builders need to ramp up construction.”
The strong demand for homes combined with tight inventory suggests that would-be home owners could wind up in bidding wars when the home buying season heats up in the spring.