Single Family Homes Prices Up 20.6 Percent

Median sale prices for single family homes sold in Sarasota County in November 2013 were up 20.6 percent over last November, a clear sign that recent price appreciation in the single family home market is continuing unabated. Single family home prices were at $187,000 this November compared to only $155,000 last November. The median sale price for single family for the 12 month period ending Nov. 30, 2013 was $181,700, up 23 percent over last year at this time ($147,000). Comparing November to October, prices were up slightly for single family from $185,776 last month.

Condo prices were slightly down this November compared to last year at this time – $157,750 compared to $160,000 in November 2012. But the 12-month rolling median, which moderates monthly swings, for condos was $163,000, up 10.1 percent over last year at this time. Condo prices were down 10.9 percent from October’s figure of $175,000.

Total property sales in Sarasota County continued to moderate in November 2013. Overall property sales stood at 760 (531 single family homes and 229 condos), compared to 818 in October 2013 (582 and 236, respectively). In November 2012, 552 single family homes and 278 condos were sold.

“The November 2013 statistics indicate that the local market has leveled off at a high sales rate,” said SAR President Roger Piro. “Word of mouth continues to indicate strong attendance at open houses, and we seem to be experiencing the traditional increase in seasonal residents and visitors. Judging from past trends, we should anticipate a busy market in the mid-winter and early spring months.”

The declining inventory trend appears to have reversed, as there are now 4,288 properties on the market, up from 4,032 last month. Last November, the inventory stood at 4,188 total properties on the market.

Overall, November 2013 pending sales (properties that went under contract during the month) were at 758, down 7.7 percent from the October pending sales of 820. Last November, pending sales stood at 815 total.

“Despite some of the moderating numbers we are seeing, I am still confident in our current market dynamics and Sarasota County’s future real estate direction,” said Piro. “I consider this period a lull following dynamic growth in sales and prices for almost the entire year of 2013. Once we get into early 2014, I wouldn’t be surprised if this market expanded once again.”

The November 2013 months of inventory in Sarasota County stood at 5.4 months for single family and 6.1 months for condos. A figure of 6 months is considered a balanced market between buyers and sellers. Months of inventory represents the time it would take to deplete the current inventory at the current sales rate. Last November there were 4.8 months of inventory for single family homes and 5.4 months of inventory for condos. In October 2013, the figures were 4.8 and 5.5, respectively.

Currently, 567 properties listed for sale in Sarasota County in the MLS are short sales or foreclosures, compared to 596 properties in October. This represents 13.2 percent of available properties, down slightly from last month’s figure of 14.1 percent, due in part to the rise in inventory. Last November, the figure was 15.7 percent.
Sales of distressed properties represented 29.3 percent of the overall sales in November 2013, up from the October 2013 figure of 25.5 percent. In November 2012, the figure was 27.7 percent.

The Perfect Last Minute Gift

seasons greetings.pngIt’s part of holiday tradition to celebrate with family and friends and to share gifts with our loved ones. There’s no measuring how much is spent on the combined effort and money to find the perfect gift.

The challenge is to identify the right gift in the right color and size; something they really want and need; and something that won’t break the budget.

“Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost a Cent” are suggestions that have been offered on numerous Internet sites attributed to an anonymous writer. They may be just what you need to find the perfect gift.

• THE GIFT OF LISTENING…but you must really listen. No interrupting; no daydreaming; no planning your response; just listening.

• THE GIFT OF AFFECTION…be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

• THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER…clip cartoons and share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say “I love to laugh with you.”

• THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE…it can be a simple “thanks for the help” note or a full letter. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime and may even change a life.

• THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT…a simple and sincere, “you look great in red” or “you did a super job” or “that was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

• THE GIFT OF A FAVOR… go out of your way every day to do something kind.

• THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE…there are times when a person wants nothing more than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

• THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION…the easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone. It’s really not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

Up to $500 for Doing Home “Work”

energy home.pngThe energy-efficient home upgrades tax credit is scheduled to expire on December 31st this year. If you need to make improvements to your home, this could be an incentive to do it before the end of the year. If you have already made qualifying improvements without realizing the tax credit is available, it may seem like a holiday gift you weren’t expecting.

The equipment must be installed to qualify for the credit which can put you under a time crunch. Heating and cooling systems, insulation, windows, doors, skylights, water heaters and home weatherization may qualify.

The Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit has been available for purchases since January 1, 2011. The tax credit is 10% of up to $5,000 of qualifying improvements which would make a maximum of $500 tax credit.

The cumulative maximum amount of tax credit that can be claimed by a taxpayer in the different years this law has been in effect is $500. If it has been claimed in previous years, the taxpayer is not eligible for this credit for additional new purchases.

For more information, see energy.gov or talk to your tax professional.

Winter Maintenance

home maintenance 250.jpgWith a 2,000+ mile long winter storm affecting much of the country, there are plenty of home owners who wish they were better prepared. Even when you live in warm climates, some of these things are important to check periodically.

Preparing for the change of seasons can make your home more comfortable and protect your investment. Regular maintenance extends the various components of a home and can generate savings in operating costs while avoiding expensive replacements.

  • Weather strips around doors and windows should be checked for possible air leaks.
  • Caulking around windows and doors should seal out moisture and air leaks.
  • HVAC should be inspected and serviced by a professional annually.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested regularly.
  • Ductwork and supply lines from water heaters should be insulated.
  • Fireplace chimneys should be cleaned regularly and fireplaces should be inspected for cracks in mortar and to see if the damper closes properly.
  • Gutters should be free of leaves and debris to prevent rainwater build-up.
  • Tree branches touching or hanging over your roof should be trimmed.

Please contact us if you need a service provider recommendation.

Motivated Sellers, Better Prices and Less Competition

winter house 250.jpgThe Winter Home Buyer Report conducted in the second week of November by REALTOR.com® revealed the sentiments of current home buyers expecting to buy a house during the winter months. It appears that there is pent-up demand with buyers who were unable to purchase a home recently.

Most cited as an impediment to purchase was the challenge of low inventory. Strong demand coupled with short supply explains why home prices have been increasing.

“This summer and spring home buying season was particularly challenging for buyers, especially first-time home buyers trying to compete with all-cash offers and bidding wars because of reduced inventory. In fact, a quarter of the winter home buyers revealed they are in the market now because they were unable to find a home during this last home buying season,” said Alison Schwartz, vice president of corporate communications at REALTOR.com®. “While buyers are still experiencing challenges with inventory and approximately one in five buyers plan to put down all cash, there are advantages to looking for a home in the winter. Motivated sellers, better prices and less competition between buyers are some of the top reasons winter home buyers are interested in purchasing a home during the colder months of the year.”

Some interesting statistics taken from the report are:

Biggest challenges when searching for a home during winter:

34 percent shared that there is not enough inventory on the market
• 29 percent believe that winter weather makes house hunting unpleasant

Traditionally, the industry has found that the fourth quarter of the year has a lower sales volume and is generally attributed to distractions from the holidays and not wanting to make a move during consistently inclement weather. Even in areas that are not affected by extreme winter weather, there seems to be a mindset about moving in the winter.

Indications are that it may be advantageous for sellers to put their home on the market now rather than wait until after the first of the year.