Market Report

The Latest Real Estate Numbers Are Ticking Toward a Buyer's Market

Days on the market and amount of inventory continue their upward slant, even crossing into a buyer's market for condos. Prices, however, are still holding.

By Kim Doleatto March 25, 2024

February 2024 data shows that single-family homes in the Sarasota-Manatee region have reached a monthly supply of inventory (MSI) that hasn’t been seen since March 2019, according to new data from the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee (RASM).

That’s especially the case with condos and townhomes, which have crested six months of inventory—a number largely accepted by the industry as a buyer’s market. Generally, a balanced market will lie somewhere between four and six months of supply. If MSI is less than four months, sellers have asking power. If MSI is above six months, buyers have negotiation power.

In Sarasota County, the monthly supply of condo and townhome inventory moved from 2.8 months to 6.7 months, more than doubling, while active listings saw a 128 percent increase, rising from 929 listings in February 2023 to 2,119 listings in February 2024.

Similarly, Manatee County condo and townhomes inventory moved from 3.4 months of supply to 6.2 months of supply, an 82 percent increase. Manatee County also saw a year-over-year increase of 87 percent in active listings, and inventory rose from 786 listings in February 2023 to 1,469 in February 2024.

Those numbers may be partly due to state-wide legislation following the fatal Surfside condominium collapse, which demands more from condo residents. For example, Florida currently allows condo owners to waive reserve requirements—but that will end in January of next year, when the law will require condos to set aside money for full reserves. Condo associations will have until the end of 2024 to complete a reserve study performed by a professional, among other costly changes.

In addition, many condos aren’t profitable for part-time residents or investors, who may want to cash in on renting them while vacant. Many condo association rules limit renting opportunities to three times a year at a monthly minimum each time.

But even so, prices aren’t seeing substantial drops. The median sales price for Sarasota County condos increased by 1.2 percent compared to last year, to $389,750, and decreased by 5.5 percent in Manatee County, to $349,493.

The time to contract for both condos and single-family homes is up. The median time to contract in Sarasota County increased by 90.5 percent, to 40 days, for single-family homes, and 121 percent, to 42 days, for condos.

In Manatee County, the median time to contract also increased by 46.2 percent, to 57 days, for single-family homes and by 79.3 percent, to 52 days, for condos.

"We're heading back into the pre-Covid market, which was healthy. We had higher interest rates and homes would be on the market for 35 days to 45 days," says Paula Jones, a realtor with Keller Williams Realty Select. "Buyers are being more picky, and there are more hoops to jump through along with more negotiating tools."

Inventory is also up for single-family homes. Manatee County saw a 52.5 percent year-over-year increase in active listings, with inventory rising from 1,732 listings in February 2023 to 2,641 listings in February 2024. The MSI also increased from 3.1 months to 4.2 months.

Single-family homes in Sarasota County saw active listings rise by 86 percent, from 1,793 listings in February 2023 to 3,337 listings in February 2024. The MSI grew from 2.9 months to 5.2 months.

More time and space to ponder the best buy means negotiating tools are here to stay.

"Sometimes it's the terms, not just the price, of the home that sells it," Jones says. "In the Covid market, you could barely get your printing done before a listing went to contract. Mortgage lenders wanted 30 days to 45 days. Now it's more like 90 days for [underwriters] to come through. People on both sides of the transaction are a bit more open-minded."

If the home is 10 years or older, "it's nice to throw in a warranty," she says, "especially when you have out-of-state buyers who don't know how to run a pool, for example. A year-long warranty lets them adjust to their new home in a new place And offering a rate buydown is always nice–everyone wants a lower monthly payment." 

Still, despite more inventory and days to contract, demand, prices and buying remain strong. 

Both counties saw an uptick in median sales prices for single-family homes year-over-year. The median sale price for single-family homes in Sarasota County increased by 2.5 percent, to $507,500. In Manatee County, the median price increased by 2 percent to $499,990. An in addition to pricing, the increase in total closed sales in both counties shows continued demand.

Closed sales in Sarasota County increased by 11 percent year-over-year, to 577  closed sales, for single-family homes, and decreased by 9.1 percent, to 270 closed sales, for condos. In Manatee County, closed sales increased by 8.7 percent year-over-year, to 547 closed sales for single-family homes, and increased by less than 1 percent, to 196 closed sales, for condos. 

"Sales are good," Jones says. "People are just being smarter with their money."

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