Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Home Sales Rise by 10.7% in Quarter

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Home Sales Rise by 10.7% in Quarter

Article excerpt

Single-family purchases in Charlotte County rose by 22% through March in 2015; prices also are on upswing

SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES posted double-digit annual gains in Southwest Florida and statewide during the first quarter.

Closed home sales rose 10.7 percent in the Sarasota-Manatee market, 22 percent in Charlotte County and 18.6 percent throughout Florida in the January-March period, according to data released last week by the Florida Realtors trade group.

Home prices also were up over the year -- by 13.4 percent in Sarasota-Manatee, 14.4 percent in Charlotte and 8.3 percent statewide.

Condo sales, while not as strong, still showed healthy increases.

Sales of those units rose 5.6 percent in Sarasota-Manatee, 8.1 percent in Charlotte and 7.1 percent in Florida.

"The numbers in our quarterly report confirm the vibrancy of the housing market in Florida," said John Tuccillo, chief economist at Florida Realtors. "Even the condo market, which had lagged the single-family market, has performed nicely.

"Of special note is the continued improvement in single-family sales and prices in all Florida metro areas. However, we are still concerned with tight inventory, particularly in the single-family market," he said.

The stock of existing homes for sale has been an issue in the local market for several years.

In March, the inventory stood between 4.5 and 4.6 months in Sarasota-Manatee, representing the time it would take under current conditions to sell out. A six-month supply is considered a balanced market.

Statewide, inventory was at a 5.1-months' supply for single- family homes.

In the first quarter, buyers closed on 3,276 single-family homes in Sarasota-Manatee, or 316 more than the comparable 2014 period. Those sales last year were actually down 0.1 percent from 2013.

The median sales price -- half were higher, half lower -- was $226,750, which was $26,750 ahead of last year.

Charlotte buyers completed 1,123 home deals, 202 more than last year. Sales last year were 7.2 percent ahead of 2013. …

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