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February 2024 housing market stats in Sarasota and Manatee counties

This is Beth Helvey with Compass Real Estate in Sarasota, Florida. Let’s talk about the February 2023 housing market stats. So inventory is up. We know that inventory is up across the board, so we’re heading towards a balanced market. There has not been this much inventory in our market since March of 2019, a full year before the pandemic. So we’re getting there. Now. We’re shifting towards that buyer’s market. For example, in the single-family homes in Sarasota/Manatee County, we had an increase in closed properties, 21% increase. So even though we’re increasing in volume, we’re still keeping up with our sales. It takes you 47 days to get to a contract on average, and it takes you 90 days to get to closing. On average, active listings are up 69% and we’ve got 4.7 months of inventory, almost five months. Now, townhomes and condos are a completely different story.

We have a 53% decline in closed sales. We have a 19% decline in closed volume. It’s still taking you 48 days to get to the contract, still taking you about 85 days to get to closing. Active listings are up 109% and we have six and a half months of inventory, which means it’s a buyer’s market. Now, personally, I don’t know this for a fact, but personally, I wonder how much this has to do with the milestone studies that are going on in the area right now. Condos of three stories or higher and of a certain age have to have this milestone study. There are some condos that I’ve heard that did not pass. The milestone study, cannot get the building fixed, and it’s going to be cash-only in there, and it’s going to be difficult to get a sale in there. Some condo billings are still waiting for their milestone study because don’t forget, this is statewide and everybody’s getting this done, so they are still waiting for it, or they’ve had the study. They’re waiting for the results, or they’ve gotten the results and they have repairs they have to do if they have to do repairs.

One of the questions you want to ask is, is there enough in reserves to cover the repairs or is there going to be a special assessment? And if there’s going to be a special assessment, how much is that going to be? Because chances are that you may have to pay part of that special assessment if it’s done in payments down the next year, two years, what have you. So that’s important information for you to know. Now, this means that it is a buyer’s market. You may get a very good deal, but make sure you find out what the milestone situation is and you take care of it and that you understand it and that you’re comfortable with whatever stage they are within that milestone study. I don’t think townhomes are going to be affected by this because townhomes are not included in the milestone study.

I’m just talking about larger, taller condo buildings here. As far as foreclosures and short sales, we’re not seeing that. Let’s not forget we are a second home market. A lot of people paid cash for their property here, or a lot of people got a low mortgage and if they have to sell a property, even a little bit of a loss, they don’t want to do it, but they’ll still do it if they need to get the money out of the property or they need to get out of the property. It’s not unusual. Don’t forget, these are second and third homes for a lot of people here. So in the single-family home realm, we had four foreclosures in February and we had zero short sales in town homes and condos. We had zero foreclosures close in February and zero short sales close in February. So we’re not seeing that crash. We’re not going to see that crash. Granted, we are switching to a buyer’s market, which means buyers have more power in the condo realm than sellers do right now. But that doesn’t indicate a crash. It just means it’s a shift in power. Seller’s prices are going to have to come down some, and buyers have plenty of inventory from which to choose. Now, if you’re a seller in the market right now, you need to make sure that your house is ready before it hits the market. Do not go on market and say picture’s coming because there’s enough inventory in the market right now that there’s a good chance that the majority of the people are not going to come back and circle back around and look at your house in the MLS.

Make sure your house is picture ready and all the professional pictures are done. When you go into MLS in order to get picture ready, make sure you clean up really good. Make sure you pack away and declutter as much as you possibly can. Make sure you do any small repairs that you can do. Make sure you stage listen to your realtor and find out what your realtor suggests you do for your own particular house. Make sure you get professional photography because it is the norm in the area. As for buyers, you still have to have your pre-approval and your proof of funds ready. Sellers will not look at your contract without it. They just will not anymore. So many of ’em got burned in the craziness of 22 and 23 that unless you can prove you can buy the property, they’re not going to be on the market for 60 days. Come off market for 15 or 20 days only to find out that you can in fact not get that loan. So make sure you have that right and you can prove to your seller that you can buy it. It will make your offer very strong and that way, especially if you’re coming in under asking price, your offer will be much stronger. So this is Beth Helvey with Compass Real Estate in Sarasota, Florida and your February 2023 Market stats.


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