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    Market frenzied for homes in median price range | HeraldTribune.com

    If you want to buy a mid-priced single-family home in Southwest Florida, better move fast.

    3430 72nd Drive E., Sarasota. Listed for $269,900, signed a buyer in 10 days.
    3430 72nd Drive E., Sarasota. Listed for $269,900, signed a buyer in 10 days.

    Homes priced around the median — $255,000 in Sarasota and Manatee counties in February (the latest data available) — sell swiftly and often attract multiple offers, local real estate agents say.

    Facts

    Home prices spike in Southwest Florida

    Existing single-family home prices have posted double-digit gains in Sarasota-Manatee in each of the past four years. But the median price – the mid-point between lowest and highest – can vary by location and time of year.

    In February, for example, prices jumped 29 percent in Sarasota but were down 0.7 percent in Manatee.

    Year; Median price; Annual increase;

    • 2016; $255,000; 13.3%;
    • 2015; $225,000; 12.5%;
    • 2014; $200,000; 12.0%;
    • 2013; $178,500; 13.3%;
    Source: Florida Realtors.

    Homes priced around the median — $255,000 in Sarasota and Manatee counties in February (the latest data available) — sell swiftly and often attract multiple offers, local real estate agents say.

    While local sales have leveled off in 2016 after two torrid years, prices have increased at double-digit levels, making mid-priced homes one of the hottest in the residential real estate market.

    Realtor Glenn Brown listed a five-year-old home for $269,900 in the Cottages at Blu Vista neighborhood in south Manatee County, and signed a buyer in 10 days.

    “Homes sell quickly in that price range. The demand is there, absolutely,” said Brown, an agent with Re/Max Alliance Group. “The buyers have to be ready to write an offer.”

    The median price was up 13.3 percent in February over the year in Sarasota-Manatee. But prices fluctuated — in Sarasota, the median of $252,250 climbed 28.7 percent over the year, while in Manatee it was down 0.7 percent to $255,000.

    In Charlotte County, the median sale price for an existing single-family home was $175,000, a 19.0 percent annual jump. The median price is the mid point — half the sales were lower, half were higher.

    That $255,000 median in Sarasota-Manatee is “dead on,” said Charryl Youman, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty in Venice.

    “Single-family homes, $100,000 plus-or-minus that median, is exactly where our most robust sales are happening, $155,000 to $355,000,” she said. “Nice homes closer to, or just under, that $200,000 price point, is still our hottest market, selling very quickly. Up from last year, when it was more like anything under $150,000. What a difference a year makes.”

    In west Bradenton, similarly priced homes are drawing multiple bids less than two weeks after listing, said Steve Goldman, an agent with Wagner Realty.

    “Some are actually just days on the market,” he said. “Lately they’ve been selling pretty quickly.”

    Homes were getting to contract in an average 40 days in Sarasota, nine days faster than last year, and in 48 days in Manatee, nearly three weeks quicker.

    Sellers pocketed more than 95 percent of their original list price in both counties, about 1 percent ahead of last year.

    Where are they?

    Buyers will find median-price homes in such established Sarasota neighborhoods as Southgate, Village Green and Forest Lakes, Brown said.

    He just listed a three-bedroom, two-bath home in Forest Lakes South for $275,000.

    “If it’s properly priced and in good condition, it will sell,” he said.

    His son recently tried to buy a house that wound up with 11 offers.

    Goldman said a median-priced home in west Bradenton would typically be two- or three-bedroom, 20 to 30 years old.

    “Nice neighborhood, might need some work like updating — new carpet, bathroom updates, kitchen updates,” he said.

    Homes priced below the median, say $150,000 and below, sell even more quickly, but there is sparse supply at that level.

    “There is very little out there for that affordable home buyer,” Youman said. “One thing that has disappeared completely would be the distressed sales. Very few foreclosures or short sales on the market — and that is a place where many buyers were successful in 2015. That option is no longer there, at the moment.”

    Foreclosure and short sales accounted for just 11.5 percent of all sales in Sarasota-Manatee in February, down by half over the year and well off their peak of nearly 50 percent several years ago.

    Cash buyers still account for about 50 percent of home sales in the region, one of the highest levels in the country. But as mortgage rates remain low, despite a modest Federal Reserve hike this year, some cash-able buyers are using loans to cover part of their purchase price to take advantage of cheap money.

    “Fixed-rate mortgage rates dropped more than one-quarter of a percentage point in the first three months of 2016, and job creation averaged 209,000 over the same period,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at data provider CoreLogic. “These economic forces will sustain home purchases during the spring and support the 5.2 percent U.S. home price appreciation (and 9 percent in Florida) CoreLogic has projected for the next year.”

    New home construction, active throughout Southwest Florida, is enticing some buyers who might otherwise be looking for homes in older neighborhoods.

    “You have some competition with new construction, which is a lot stronger now than it has been,” Brown said. “It’s not your neighbor that’s your competition, it’s new construction for resales.”

     

    Source: Market frenzied for homes in median price range | HeraldTribune.com

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    DeAnna Greenhaw

    DeAnna is a Licensed Real Estate Agent and Oliver McConnell's new customer manager at our Sarasota Office. (941) 359-6529.

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