Real Estate Report

Home Prices Remain High, Even With More Inventory and Longer Time to Contract

Condos have reached pre-pandemic inventory levels, but prices for all property types are hanging tough.

By Kim Doleatto February 23, 2024

It’s not just a flash in the pan. The local real estate market's inventory is sustaining growth—and so, too, is the median time to contract, giving buyers more time to pick, choose and negotiate.

Still, single-family home inventory levels in Sarasota County remain lower than during the same month in 2019, all according to the latest monthly data report from the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM), which reflects January's numbers.

“It’s great to see more inventory because the demand is here, especially from the tourists and snowbirds who are shopping this time of year and moving here every day,” says Alex Chau, a local realtor with Coldwell Banker. "Migration numbers are still high."

In Sarasota County, active inventory for single-family homes increased by 75.4 percent, to 3,135 listings. The condo supply increased by 124 percent, to 1,985 listings. Active listings for single-family homes in Manatee County increased by 33.3 percent, to 2,420 listings, and increased by 79.4 percent for condos, with 1,340 listings.

But even with the increased inventory—active listings in the metro area market almost doubled when compared to the previous year—median sales prices aren’t dipping.

In Sarasota County, last month’s median sale price for single-family homes increased by 16.3 percent compared to last January. It's now $535,000. In Manatee County, median prices increased by 3.8 percent, to $525,000. The median sale price for Sarasota County condos increased by less than 1 percent, to $420,000 and increased by 3.8 percent, to $357,990, for Manatee County condos.

With more homes on the market, Chau says sellers want to ensure they look good and are move-in ready. “Most buyers want a home in very good condition,” she says. “Buyers aren't expecting to have to fix a fence. You need to have the house in tip-top shape to attract the most buyers.”

The purchase beat is also slowing. The median time to contract for single-family homes in Sarasota County was 40 days last month, versus 29 days at the same time last year. In Manatee County, it was 35 days to contract, versus 32 days at the same time last year. 

And comps count now. “When inventory was historically low post-Covid, if a seller saw their neighbor sell for $400,000, they might try listing [their home[ for $425,000 just to see," Chau says. That led to swift appreciation.

"I think realtors now know those kinds of [price] jumps are over," Chau continues. "If your neighbor sold [their house] for $400,000, you should probably  price it the same and stay the course of what the market is doing if you’re serious about selling.”

The condo market also hit new records for both Manatee and Sarasota County. In fact, the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metropolitan statistical area (MSA) saw active condo listings more than double compared to last year—along with the median time to contract, which was 43 days in January 2024 versus 21 days in January 2023.

Part of the reason, Chau points out, may be due to statewide legislation related to the Surfside condo collapse that will take effect at the end of the year.

“There’s more due diligence on condos than ever before, which can lead to unexpected assessments and funding requirements," Chau says. "A lot of condo associations have proactively started assessing their owners. For anyone buying a condo, just understand where that association stands in that process so you know what to expect. I think long-time owners of older ones may be trying to sell before a big assessment," she adds.

By the end of 2024, condominiums that are at least three stories tall and within 3 miles of the coast must be inspected by a licensed engineer or architect when they are 25 years old (for buildings more than 3 miles inland, the age goes up to 30 years old). Condo associations, which used to be allowed to waive reserve funds for maintenance, will also be required to have enough money in their reserves by 2025 to fund all repairs necessary to maintain the building’s structural integrity, among other costly expenses and regulations.

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