Market Report

Panic-Buying and Bidding Wars Are Officially Things of the Past, but Home Prices Aren't Budging

The median price for a single-family home in Sarasota County is now $515,000. In Manatee County, it's $509,240.

By Kim Doleatto January 29, 2024

The frenetic energy of the last few years may be gone, but prices are still high in Sarasota-Manatee.

The frenetic energy of the last few years may be gone, but prices are still high in Sarasota-Manatee.

See ya later, panic-buying, bidding wars and forgone home inspections. The post-Covid buying rush is all but gone, and important housing market markers like inventory, and days on the market have increased substantially compared to 2022, according to a 2023 summary report by the Realtor Association of Sarasota Manatee (RASM).

According to the RASM, a balanced market has an inventory of 5.5 months, which signifies the estimated time to deplete the current inventory at the existing sales rates. In Sarasota, that number increased by 76 percent, to 4.4 months, for single-family homes and 136.4 percent, to 5.2 months, for condos, the highest since 2018. Manatee County saw a 10 percent increase, to 3.3 months, for single-family homes and a 70.4 percent increase, to 4.6 months, for condos.

"There are many options for buyers to choose from right now," says local realtor Jeremy Egglefield of Keller Williams Realty. "I see a lot of price decreases on listings that aren't selling right away. Some go 'pending' and then later to 'back on market' at a lower price until finally it sells. The bidding wars are long gone." 

However, sellers are still in a solid position—although they might need a little more patience than in recent years. 

The 2023 median time to contract increased significantly from 2022. In Sarasota County, it increased by 200 percent, to 27 days, for single-family homes, and by 250 percent, to 28 days, for the condo market. In Manatee County, the median time to contract for single-family homes increased by almost 267 percent, to 33 days, and by 350 percent, to 36 days, for condos.

Median prices remain high, too.

The median sale price for 2023 surpassed the previous record reached in 2022 for condos in Sarasota and Manatee. The annual median price for Sarasota condos was $410,000; in Manatee County, it was $363,620—a year-over-year increase of 6.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively. For single-family homes, the 2023 median price increased by 4.5 percent, to $515,000, in Sarasota, and decreased by 2.1 percent to $509,240 in Manatee County.

Now that it takes a little more to sell an abode than it used to, what's the best strategy?

“Most buyers I talk to at open houses seem to want a home that doesn't need too much work. If there's too much deferred maintenance they move on and look for something else,” Egglefield says.

"The best strategy to list a home is to price it right at the market value range. Sellers that price a home way too high at first and let it sit too long usually have to make large price drops and end up selling at a lower price than they could've gotten if they just priced it right to begin with.”

Despite some challenges like increased interest rates, homeowners' insurance and inflation all around, the market is still humming with activity.

The number of closed sales across both counties in 2023 held strong and decreased by less than one percent to 21,760 sales. For single-family homes, yearly closed sales decreased from 2022 by 4.2 percent to 7,608 sales in Sarasota County and increased by 7.3 percent to 7,480 sales in Manatee County. Condo sales decreased by 6.7 percent to 3,830 sales in Sarasota and decreased by 0.8 percent to 2,846 sales in Manatee County.

The dollar volume is up. In 2023 it increased year-over-year for both property types in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro. Single-family homes brought in $10.3 billion in volume for the two counties, a 1.8 percent increase from the previous year. The dollar volume of condo sales increased by 4.3 percent to $3.6 billion.

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