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Homeowners in Manatee County continue to benefit from the strong sales performance of existing single-family homes and declining housing inventory.
In June, the median sales price was $315,000 in Manatee County, five percent more than the same month a year earlier. Sarasota County had a median sales price of $290,000 in June.
June represented the 14th month in the last 19 when the median price hit $300,000 or more in Manatee County, according to figures provided by the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM).
The Manatee and Sarasota housing market favors the seller with a decrease in existing home sales in June 2019, according to Realtor Association statistics.
The hottest part of the housing market in the Bradenton area is for houses priced $300,000 to $350,000, said Beth Barnett, a real estate sales associate for Coldwell Banker based at Lakewood Ranch.
“They just don’t last,” Barnett said, adding that she recently listed a home in the Fairfax neighborhood in East Manatee for $349,000, and sold it for full price the same day.
It pays off for home sellers who have painted and freshened their homes when it comes time to put the house on the market, Barnett said.
Conversely, the upward tier of the market is not selling well.
“They are just sitting there. Many baby boomers are downsizing and don’t want the McMansions any more. It’s not that they can’t afford them. They just want to get out and enjoy life,” Barnett said.
Manatee single-family home sales decreased by 2.2 percent to 623 in June, according to the Realtor Association. In Sarasota County, single-family home sales increased by 2.9 percent to 821.
“Interest rates have stayed relatively low, allowing buyers who may be on the fence to consider the advantages of home-ownership in our area,” 2019 RASM president Amy Worth said in a press release.
Mark Boehmig, an agent with the Bradenton office of Michael Saunders & Company, said the low interest rates bear watching.
“Every one percent increase or decrease in the interest rate increases or decreases buying power by 10 percent,” Boehmig said.
Were the interest rate to fall by one percent, a buyer who previously qualified to buy a $200,000 house would qualify to buy a $220,000 house, he said.
In part because interest rates remain low, the number of buyers paying cash for their homes in Manatee County in June fell to 157, compared to 170 a year earlier.
“Cash sales are decreasing because money is relatively inexpensive. People are trying to hold on to their cash and use the banks,” Boehmig said.
Mike Snipes, an economics instructor at USF Sarasota-Manatee, said the local housing market is a case of supply and demand.
“In the three years we have lived here, we have seen entire subdivisions and tons of new houses being built. What is affecting the market is population growth and the new demand with people moving to the area,” Snipes said.
“You see a lot of people moving in with a lot of money and that will drive the price of houses up. There is no incentive for builders to build affordable housing.”
Rising prices and a decrease in sales keeps inventory at bay. Single-family home inventory decreased by 7.1 percent in Manatee County and increased by 2.1 percent in Sarasota. Condo inventory was up in both counties: 2.2 percent in Manatee and 11.8 percent in Sarasota County, according to the Realtor Association.
The benchmark for a balanced market is 5.5 months of inventory. The single-family home supply in Manatee decreased by 12.2 percent in June to a 3.6-month supply, while condos showed no change and continue to sit at a 4.1-month supply for condos.
“The market continues to adjust to a more balanced position as inventory grows amid rising prices,” Worth said. “But, new inventory is needed to help us toward a stable market. New construction is offering additional options to buyers, opposed to existing homes.”
New listings for single-family homes decreased by 12 percent in Manatee. New condo listings in Manatee decreased by 9.5 percent.
Across Florida, the median price of single-family homes rose 3.8 percent in June to $270,000, compared to $260,000 a year earlier. The number of homes sold fell 1.9 percent to 27,283, compared to 27,825 a year earlier.