Home sales in Manatee slip in July

MANATEE — A recent hot streak for housing in Manatee and Sarasota was brought back down to Earth in July as existing single-family sales in both counties slipped from the previous month.

Prices in Manatee also fell below their mark from the same time last year despite inventory levels that would historically signal a seller’s market.July is typically a slower month for real estate, with seasonal residents gone and tourism at it slowest. With the progress made year-to-date, experts are confident the market will continue to build strength into the fall.

Manatee Realtors sold 245 existing single-family homes in July, an 8 percent dip from June. Those numbers, however, remain 6.5 percent ahead of a year ago, according to the association.

Manatee’s median sales price dropped 2.2 percent from the same time last year to reach $176,000.

In Sarasota, the county notched 523 existing single-family home sales last month, down 13 percent from June but up 18 percent from July 2011, according to the Sarasota Association of Realtors.

Although median prices in Sarasota eased slightly over the month, the $178,000 reported in July remains above the $169,900 compared to last year.

Existing supply in both counties remains below five months worth. The equilibrium between a buyer and seller’s market is typically around six months, a trend that should eventually drive prices higher if sustained.

Sales also have slid during the month across the Sunshine State, where existing single-family home sales totaled 17,420 in July, a 7 percent drop. But like local figures, that tally was up 9.8 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data released Wednesday from Florida Realtors.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $148,000, up 7.8 percent from July 2011. Foreclosures and other distressed properties, which are often sold at deep discounts, continue to downwardly distort the median price.

Sales of existing homes nationwide in July grew 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million units, also a 10 percent increase from the same time last year, according to number released Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors.

The U.S. median price for all existing housing types was $187,300 in July, up 9.4 percent from a year ago, showing five consecutive months of year-over-year increases — a first since 2006.

The national average commitment rate for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a record low 3.55 percent in July. The rate was 4.55 percent in July 2011. Record keeping began in 1971, according to Freddie Mac.

For more on this story, see later or pick up a copy of Thursday’s Bradenton Herald.

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