Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Prices Up West of the Trail

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Prices Up West of the Trail

Article excerpt

IN DEMAND: Even higher than boom, while they are still recovering elsewhere

Homes in neighborhoods across Southwest Florida are still changing hands at prices well below their boomtime highs.

But that does not appear to be the case in Sarasota's West of the Trail neighborhood.

Take the house at 1863 Prospect St., for example.

James R. Hellmuth bought the 1,424-square-foot dwelling and adjacent garage for $520,000 at the height of the boom in March 2004 and just sold it to William Kyler Pentecost for $650,000 -- a 25 percent increase.

Since late December, 26 homes in the neighborhood that stretches from Mound Street to Siesta Drive have changed hands, according to a list provided by Re/Max Alliance Group agent Allen Conrad.

Of those houses, 11 had also been sold from 2002 to 2008, and only four declined in price.

Because two of those houses were owned by Sarasota flipping king Craig Adams and one of his felonious co-conspirators, they don't really count. The values were artificially inflated as part of a decade-long scheme to defraud banks.

One, at 1396 Harbor Drive, sold for 37 percent less than in October 2006 and the other at 1365 Harbor Drive sold for 45 percent less.

The only other houses that went down in price were at 1870 Hyde Park St. and at 1713 Hawthorne St.

The Hyde Park house sold for 37 percent less than its boomtime price, while the Hawthorne price was only 7 percent lower than in 2008.

The reason the majority of homes sold for higher prices is that the West of the Trail neighborhood is in high demand, Conrad said. It is close to downtown and the beaches.

"You can walk to Morton's Market and Libby's," Conrad said. "Southside is one of the best schools in the area and there's easy access to the keys."

Builders also have been busy tearing down shoddier dwellings and replacing them with higher-end homes.

Back in January 2011, Conrad sold a lot at 1815 Wisteria St. …

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