Sales of single-family homes and condominiums in Manatee and Sarasota counties were up significantly in September, compared to a year ago.
The reason? Hurricane Irma, which stalled 2017 sales in both counties due to limited business days surrounding the storm.
“Hurricane or no hurricane, September typically slows down in our area,” said Greg Owens, 2018 president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.
“However, the market continues to show consistent growth with an overall increase in closed sales, year-to-date,” he said.
Manatee single-family sales increased by 10.7 percent, while the median price stayed steady at $295,000.
Pending single-family home sales in Manatee County increased by 39.9 percent, while pending condo sales increased by 32.8 percent .
As for new listings, the combined totals increased from last year by 36.5 percent. Single-family home new listings increased by 31.7 percent in Manatee, and by 50.5 percent in Sarasota.
In Sarasota County, single-family homes sales increased by 3.6 percent. Sarasota median prices increased by 3.7 percent to $280,000.
Compared to last year, combined closed sales in the two-county area were up by 7.6 percent. The condo market improved with a 12.5 percent increase in Manatee County, and a 7.5 percent increase in Sarasota.
More properties went under contract this month, compared to last year’s stall, with a 31.8 percent combined increase. Condo pending sales in Sarasota county increased by 40.5 percent, while Sarasota single-family homes increased by 28.8 percent.
New condo listings increased by 29.4 percent in Manatee and 19.5 percent in Sarasota.
“Slow and steady wins the race,” Owens said. “Despite last year’s stall, this month stays on the 2018 trend: more sales, higher prices and narrow inventory.”
Condo prices in Manatee increased by 2.8 percent to $186,575, while in Sarasota condo prices increased by 7.4 percent to $236,248.
Single-family home inventory, which has been tight in Manatee County, decreased by 0.8 percent to 2,002 in September. Manatee condo inventory was also down, by 3 percent to 774 available properties.
“There is still new construction that indicates there is a need,” Glenda Matheson, a Realtor-associate with Realty Partners of Lakewood Ranch, said of the tight inventory in the two-county area.
“What I am seeing with my customers is that they want location. You are selling lifestyle. Some want golf, to be near the water, or good schools. They want homes that are move-in ready, although a few will take a fixer-upper,” Matheson said. “Each customer has their own lifestyle.”
Sarasota single-family home inventory increased by 6.7 percent to 2,583. Sarasota condo inventory increased by 4.2 percent to 1,463.
“The law of supply and demand tells us that low supply will impact median prices and eventually closed sales,” Owens said.
According to current month’s supply of inventory, the market continues to favor the seller. Single-family homes in Sarasota and Manatee are both at a 3.8-month supply, a 2.7 percent increase in Sarasota and a 5 percent decrease in Manatee.
As for condos, Manatee County decreased by 12.8 percent to a 3.4 month’s supply and Sarasota is at a 4.2 month’s supply, a 6.7 percent decrease from last year.
Florida home sales were up in September
Irma was a disruption for much of the Florida single-family home market in September 2017, as reflected in statewide sales figures. In September of 2018, there were 21,087 closed sales, compared to 18,023 a year earlier, according to the Florida Association of Realtors.
The median price for single-family homes was $251,610 in 2018, versus $239,900 a year ago.
The median time a home was on the market to contract was 38 days, reflecting no change from a year earlier.
Condo sales also increased to 8,492, compared to a year earlier when there were 7,411. The median price rose to $182,500 from $173,000.
Home sales declined nationally
Existing-home sales declined in September in all four major regions of the United States after a month of stagnation in August, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, town homes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 3.4 percent from August to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.15 million in September. Sales are now down 4.1 percent from a year ago (5.37 million in September 2017).
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said rising interest rates have led to a decline in sales across.
“This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015,” he said. “A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur under-performing sales activity across the country.”
The median existing-home price for all housing types in September was $258,100, up 4.2 percent from September 2017 ($247,600). September’s price increase marks the 79th straight month of year-over-year gains. Total housing inventory at the end of September decreased from 1.91 million in August to 1.88 million existing homes available for sale, and is up from 1.86 million a year ago.
Unsold inventory is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace, up from 4.3 last month and 4.2 months a year ago. Properties typically stayed on the market for 32 days in September, up from 29 days in August but down from 34 days a year ago. Forty-seven percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month.
“There is a clear shift in the market with another month of rising inventory on a year over year basis, though seasonal factors are leading to a third straight month of declining inventory,” said Yun. “Homes will take a bit longer to sell compared to the super-heated fast pace seen earlier this year.”