Home, condo sales strong in Manatee, Sarasota counties in April

MANATEE — A month after reaching a seven-year high for existing home and condo sales in Sarasota, the market one-upped itself in April, recording the highest number of sales since August 2005.

While Manatee didn’t break any records last month, single-family sales activity also remained strong, jumping 22.5 percent over April 2011.The strong showing in both counties continues the momentum that’s been building in the housing market for much of the year.

Manatee County reported 245 single-family home sales in April, a 4 percent gain from March and 22.5 percent jump from the same time last year, according to the Manatee Association of Realtors.

At the same time, the number of homes for sale in Manatee has dropped 32 percent from a year ago, strengthening median prices by 6 percent over that time to $166,000.

In Sarasota, the 589 single-family home sales slipped 1 percent over the month but remained 10.5 percent ahead of last year’s pace, according to the Sarasota Association of Realtors.Combined with existing condo sales, April was the best month for real estate in Sarasota in more than seven years. Median prices in Sarasota also grew to $175,500, up from the $155,430 in April 2011.

Across the country, existing-home sales rose in April and remain above a year ago, while home prices continued to rise, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Total existing U.S. home sales increased 3.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.62 million in April. That tally was 10 percent higher than the same time last year.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types jumped 10.1 percent to $177,400 in April from a year ago; the March price showed an upwardly revised 3.1 percent annual improvement.

“This is the first time we’ve had back-to-back price increases from a year earlier since June and July of 2010 when the gains were less than 1 percent,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said in a statement. “For the year we’re looking for a modest overall price gain of 1.0 to 2.0 percent, with stronger improvement in 2013.”

For more on this story check later for updates.

Josh Salman, Herald business writer, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @JoshSalman