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Bradenton area home prices continue to rise. There’s good news for would-be buyers, too

In January, the median sales price for existing single-family homes sold in Manatee County rose to $309,000, a 3 percent increase from the same month a year ago, according to the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.

The median price in the Bradenton area has been at or above the $300,000 mark for all but four months of the past year. The median is the midpoint — half the homes sold for more, half for less.

A bit of encouraging news for prospective home buyers could be found in the latest batch of statistics. There was a jump in inventory and new listings, pointing to a more-balanced market.

For much of 2018, the Bradenton area was a sellers market because of a tight inventory of homes.

“Although January sales may seem less than positive, the market remains healthy overall,” Amy Worth, 2019 president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, said in a press release.

“Additional inventory could ease rising prices, creating a more balanced market between buyers and sellers.”

A balanced market is indicated by the months supply of inventory. If supply falls under 5.5 months, the market favors the seller; if supply is over 5.5, the market favors the buyer.

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The tight inventory of homes on the market is a factor in the continuing rise of housing prices in the Bradenton area, as well as state and nation wide. James A. Jones Jr. jajones1@bradenton.com

Single-family home inventory in Manatee County increased by 5.7 percent from last year, while Sarasota County increased by 18 percent. Condo inventory increased by 5.5 percent in Manatee and by 15 percent in Sarasota.

While there is a hint of improving conditions, Manatee County remains a seller’s market with a 4.4-month supply of single-family homes and a 4.7-month supply for condos. The supply of single-family homes in Manatee fell by 3.1 percent in January.

In Sarasota County, single-family homes are nearly balanced with a 5.4-month supply, while the condo market has shifted to favor the buyer with a 6.1-month supply.

Closed sales in the Bradenton area decreased 16 percent in January compared to the previous year. About one-third of those sales were all cash deals. Sales in Sarasota County fell 11.4 percent.

In Sarasota, the median price for single-family prices increased by 3.9 percent to $286,600. Sarasota condo prices increased by 0.8 percent to $240,000, while Manatee condos increased by 13 percent to $195,000.

Combined, single-family closed sales in the two-county area decreased by 17.2 percent from January 2018.

Condo sales in Manatee decreased by 6.9 percent and Sarasota sales decreased by 33.1 percent.

Pending sales, or the number of properties that went under contract during the month, decreased year-over-year in January. Single-family pending sales decreased by 11.3 percent in Manatee County, while Sarasota decreased by 5.5 percent.

Condo pending sales decreased 16.1 percent in Sarasota, while Manatee decreased by 15.3 percent.

When compared to last month, total pending sales increased by 56 percent from December 2018 to January 2019. Under the right market conditions, this positive change in month-over-month pending sales may indicate future closed sales.

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The tight inventory of homes on the market is a factor in the continuing rise of housing prices in the Bradenton area, as well as state and nation wide. James A. Jones Jr. jajones1@bradenton.com

“Pending sales typically slow down in December as many buyers wait for the new year,” Worth said. “This month-over-month change in pending sales is expected as we head into our regular season.”

The median time to contract, or number of days on market, increased for the condo market in January 2019. Manatee condos increased by 39 percent to 57 days. Sarasota condos increased by 21.4 percent to a median 51 days on market.

Single-family homes in Manatee spent more days on the market with an 8.5 percent increase to 51 days, Sarasota experienced a 2.2 percent decrease to 45 days on the market.

Across Florida

In January, statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and condo-townhouse properties increased year-over-year for the 85th month in a row.

The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes was $249,900, up 4.1 percent from the previous year, according to data from Florida Realtors Research Department in partnership with local Realtor boards/associations.

Last month’s statewide median price for condo-townhouse units was $182,500, up 2.8 percent over the year-ago figure.

Florida’s housing market reported more new listings, higher median prices and increased inventory (active listings) in January compared to a year ago, according to the latest housing data released by Florida Realtors.

Uncertainty over mortgage interest rates, the stock market and the federal government’s shutdown may have affected home sales, which were lower than the level of sales a year ago. Sales of single-family homes statewide totaled 15,526 last month, down 6.2 percent compared to January 2018.

“As the new year gets underway, more new listings and gains in inventory (active listings) are positive signs for potential home buyers in Florida,” said Eric Sain, 2019 Florida Realtors president.

“Having more homes available for sale in many local markets may start to ease some of the affordability constraints we’ve been seeing for a long time. In January, new listings for existing single-family homes rose 5.6 percent compared to a year ago and new listings for condo-townhouse properties increased 2.5 percent.”

Across the nation

Across the United States, the median price for existing single-family homes was $249,400, up 3.1 percent from January 2018. January’s price increase marked the 83rd straight month of year-over-year gains.

The median home price growth is the slowest since February 2012.

Lawrence Yun, economist for the National Association of Realtors, cautions that the figures do not yet tell the full story for the month of January.

“Lower mortgage rates from December 2018 had little impact on January sales; however, the lower rates will inevitably lead to more home sales,” Yun said.

The market is still suffering from an inventory shortage.

“In particular, the lower end of the market is experiencing a greater shortage, and more home construction is needed,” Yun said. “Taking steps to lower construction costs would be a tremendous help. Local zoning ordinances should also be reformed, while the housing permitting process must be expedited; these simple acts would immediately increase homeownership opportunities and boost local economies.”

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