The Sarasota real estate market continues to be something I’m paying close attention to. Why? Very simply: our local economy is inextricably tied to what this market is doing. When the housing market started to tank locally, it was the first domino in a long line. As inventory levels (representing the number of single family homes and condominiums listed as “for sale”) have climbed, construction and other business sectors related to housing have all dived.
So, a couple of recent tidbits from Perry Corneau represent good news. First, inventory levels are at their lowest in two and a half years. This is great news, and I can anecdotally attest that I’m seeing fewer for sale signs. What’s unclear to me is exactly what this represents…
- Is sales volume actually up?
- Are more banks in possession of properties now? If so, it seems to me that they’ve not been good at marketing the properties they own. And when foreclosure occurs (as opposed to short sales), these properties wouldn’t appear in the MLS anyway.
- Have sellers given up on moving properties as prices have declined?
Another piece of good news: prices are still higher than they were 5 years ago. In 2003, the market was still on a major upswing, but of course the highest prices were 2-3 years later.
Based upon numerous conversations with those keeping their eye on the market, here are my predictions: prices will continue to drop and volume will begin to surge. For how long? I’m not sure, but it seems to me that the “bottom” of this market hasn’t quite yet been reached — at least in terms of pricing. There are a few investors who are starting to dip their toes into the water, but the buying frenzy that I expect isn’t here yet.
The best thing that can happen for this market is for transaction volume to increase. This will help prices bottom out sooner rather than later.
And… in the interest of full disclosure… I currently do not have any property on the market. 😉