Florida Real Estate Market Report September 2013

real estate market iconThe Florida residential real estate market continues to ride the upswing that began in 2012. Median sale prices are up, the number of closed sales continues to rise, and a dwindling inventory of homes for sale has thrust the state into a seller’s market. Based on current market statistics, there is no reason to believe that this trend will end any time soon.

One of the big stories in the 2013 real estate market is the drop in Florida foreclosures. Down 15% from last year, Florida is no longer leading the nation in this category. Experts believe the lower foreclosure rate is primarily due to a 65% drop in new filings, the lowest since 2005.
Statewide closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 21,238, up 20.9% from year-ago figures, according to data from Florida Realtors. Meanwhile, pending sales for existing single-family homes rose 25.9% from last year. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes hit $177,500, up 18.7% from last year.

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“We’re seeing double-digit gains in statewide closed sales, new listings, pending sales and higher median prices,” said 2013 Florida Realtors President Dean Asher. He added, “And these increases are happening in both the single-family and the townhome-condo markets. Florida’s housing market is growing and that’s good news for our economy.”

With these developments, consumer confidence also appears to be growing. 2013 is showing a very active Sarasota real estate market with both seasonal visitors and local residents purchasing homes or investment properties. In addition, the luxury market is showing an increase of 1.7% over last year. With over two thirds of these purchases being from cash buyers, it is clear that there is a rising confidence in the value of Sarasota properties.

Michael Saunders and Company President, Drayton Saunders remarked, “We could not be more delighted by the results, as they lend further testimony to the strength of our market’s recovery and to its incredible long-term resiliency.” Leading the area in sales of ultra-luxury properties are Michael Saunders and Company agents Kim and Michael Ogilvie. Earlier in the year they closed a deal on the largest home sale on record for Sarasota County at 13$ million. According to these top agents, Baby Boomers are making these types of sales possible. Says Michael, “We have no pollution, no traffic compared to other cities, and low crime. It’s a safe, non-toxic environment with arts and beaches. It allows them to live the simple life.”

Indeed, with Florida being in the top ten Tax Friendly States for Retirees, the over 55 market makes up a large portion of Sarasota home buyers. Many are taking advantage of low housing prices and buying homes years before retirement, using them as vacation getaways until they fully retire. This allows them to build their nest egg while making plans for their future.

The National Association of Realtors is projecting a 3% growth in U.S. gross domestic product by 2014, along with a steady increase in national median home prices. This is already being evidenced in the Southwest Florida market. SAR President, Roger Piro says “The biggest current trends remain the high level of market activity-foot traffic at open houses, competitive bidding for available homes, and a tremendous volume of sales.” Experts feel that the Florida real estate market is now enjoying stable market health with positive indications that this trend will continue.