MANATEE -- Local Realtors are hoping a lot of open doors leads to a lot of closings.
They and thousands of other Realtors across the country plan to participate in the Nationwide Open House Weekend, an annual event designed to spur buyer interest and increase public awareness about the benefits of home ownership.
This year’s event runs Saturday and Sunday.
“It really makes it convenient for buyers,” said Jeannie Flynn, spokeswoman for the Manatee Association of Realtors. “They can see several homes in one day. It’s so much easier. Nobody has time and wants to spend money on gas driving all over the place.”
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It’s too early to say how many local agents will participate in this year’s event, but previous ones have drawn more than 300 open houses, she said.
Wagner Realty agents probably will host at least 50 open houses, said Ron Cornette, the firm’s marketing director.
“Open houses absolutely go hand-in-hand in doing lots of sales,” he said. “It’s crucial in our business, especially when things are not selling.”
The event comes as the local housing market continues to struggle to find consistency in terms of sales and prices.
Sarasota-Bradenton Realtors closed on 1,033 existing single-family home sales in April, fewer than the previous month but more than they sold in April 2010.
Last month’s median sales price of $155,700 was $1,100 more than March but $7,900 less than what it was in April a year ago.
While selling houses is the event’s primary goal, another is highlighting housing’s economic impact, said Angie Cegnar, the local Realtors association’s president.
“Home ownership creates jobs and is essential to a full economic recovery,” she said. “Every time a home is built, bought or sold, jobs are created and money is pumped into the economy. Housing isn’t the only thing that will restore our nation’s economy, but it will play a critical role.”