Local Real Estate Is Back

The emerging Florida residential real estate market during 2012 experienced a prodigious number of sales and the momentum is ongoing. The state, and especially Southwest Florida, has now witnessed twenty-four months of solid “comeback,” with strong sales and prices continuing positive trends. As we move into 2013, critical indicators and statistics continue to substantiate progress and foretell encouraging activity for the year to come.

From the northern shores of Tampa Bay to the southern tip of Marco Island, the news in almost every arena indicates a return to a more balanced housing market, with more closed sales, higher pending sales, higher median prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale.

Statewide the closed sales of existing single-family homes totaled 18,031 in December, up 15.8 percent compared to the year-ago figure.*

Meanwhile, last month, pending sales (contracts that are signed but not yet completed or closed), for existing single-family homes rose 39.7 percent from the previous December. In addition, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month, was $154,000 , up 14.1 percent from the previous year.

December marks the 12th consecutive month of higher, year-to-year, statewide median sales prices for both single-family homes and for townhouse-condominium units. In December, the inventory for single-family homes stood at a 5.5-months supply and the inventory for townhouse-condominiums was at a 6-month supply.

The luxury real estate market continues to demonstrate exceptional strength in Southwest Florida, where realtors specializing in high-end properties report rapidly improving performance numbers.  Sarasota’s Herald Tribune stated that “December was a monster month for Sarasota County…with luxury sales totaling $85 million with an average price of $1.8 million.”

Supporting these impressive numbers, Michael Saunders & Company, specialists in the luxury market, generated $2 billion with the sales of over 6,000 properties in Southwest Florida’s Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. CEO, Michael Saunders , “We could not be more delighted by these results, as they lend further testimony to the strength of our market’s recovery and to its incredible long-term resiliency.”

Along with the optimism there is still some uncertainty based on our slow growing economy. However, according to a new survey by CPA firm Kaufman, Rossin & Co, Florida business owners saw the health of their companies improve in 2012, and nearly 58 percent are optimistic that progress will continue this year.  “The market continues to improve, and it’s doing so in all parts of the state,” said Florida Realtors Chief Economist, Dr. John Tuccillo. “Of note is the fact that inventory levels are now clearly consistent with a sellers’ market. When the final year-end statistics are compiled, expect that sales in 2012 will be more than 10 percent higher than they were in 2011. Once again, all the positive indicators are up significantly. The Florida real estate market is rapidly improving.”

As recently headlined in a leading Southwest Florida newspaper, “The numbers show it: Local real estate is back.”