Market Report

The Luxury Real Estate Market Is on Fire, but the Condo and Townhome Sector Is Soggy

Following record-breaking cash sales, the median single-family home sale price rose by 3.9 percent, to $530,000, in Sarasota County, but the condo market in both counties experienced declines.

By Kim Doleatto June 24, 2024

Single-family median home prices are up across both counties: $530,000 in Sarasota, and $525,000 in Manatee County.
Single-family median home prices are up across both counties: $530,000 in Sarasota, and $525,000 in Manatee County.

Image: Kim Doleatto

Buyers were waiting for a market correction following pandemic-era home grabs and soaring prices—but as of May 2024, it hasn't yet arrived. 

The market for single-family homes in Sarasota County showed an uptick in May, with 850 closed sales, marking a 3.4 percent increase compared to May 2023. The median sale price rose by 3.9 percent, to $530,000, and the total dollar volume surged to $631.8 million, reflecting almost 10 percent of year-over-year growth. That's all according to the latest monthly data published by the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. 

"It's not the buyer's market [buyers] would have hoped for right now, even though there's a tremendous number of price decreases across all housing categories and price points," says David Jennings of Coldwell Banker, who specializes in single-family home sales in Sarasota's Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores neighborhood. "However, those are reduced from what started out as aspirational prices seen in prior years." 

Thanks to some recent big-ticket sales—like this $11.35 million condo, and this $19.75 million compound, which both closed in May—the combined average sales price for single-family homes in Sarasota and Manatee counties increased by almost 5 percent, indicating strong performance in the luxury market. 

In Sarasota County, inventory is staying on an ascending course, with 3,239 active listings, a 77.6 percent increase, leading to a 5-month supply of inventory. The median time to contract also extended to 43 days, up 72 percent.

And during that increased time, negotiations are fierce. 

"Buyers aren't seeing the correction they expected, and if they move in for a buy we're seeing low offers and lots of negotiating," Jennings says. "Sellers are trying to stay resilient, and are motivated to sell because data is showing that even just year over year, they're still getting 2 percent to 6 percent more than what they may have spent on their home a year ago. Values are resilient, and business is getting done."

He also says that in order to sell, homes must "be ready and beautiful."

"If buyers can't negotiate a competitive price, you'll feel the wrath of their expectations, because buyers know they're a shrinking pool," Jennings explains. "They won't tolerate the broken irrigation system. They want to be credited at closing for deferred maintenance that may have come up during inspections. A seller has to be prepared for that."

Many listings these days are due to downsizing, as homeowners are aging out and simplifying their lives, he adds. Moving out of flood zones due to surging homeowners'  insurance rates is another market driver. 

In Manatee County, single-family homes market remains stable, with 801 closed sales, showing a slight decrease of 0.2 percent compared to May 2023. Meanwhile, the median sale price increased by 1.9 percent, to $525,000, and overall dollar volume reached $568.2 million, reflecting a 3.2 percent increase.

Active listings in Manatee County rose by 68.6 percent, to 2,570, resulting in a 4.1 month supply of inventory. The median time to contract grew by 40.6 percent to 45 days.

Meanwhile, the townhouse and condo market in Sarasota County experienced a slight decline, with closed sales dropping by 4.1 percent to 423. The median sale price decreased by 9.1 percent, to $368,000. 

Inventory for townhouses and condos increased by 87.3 percent, to 2,010 active listings, resulting in 6.3 months of inventory, creating a buyer's market. The median time to contract increased by almost 126 percent, to 61 days.

The townhouse and condos market in Manatee County experienced a notable decline, however, with closed sales dropping by 25.8 percent, to 264, and the median sale price decreasing by 5.5 percent to $361,495. It's also a buyer's market in Manatee, with inventory levels increasing by 88.4 percent, to 1,458 active listings, leading to a 6.3-month supply inventory. The median time to contract rose by 51.4 percent to 56 days.

And, Jennings notes, "Most of the fees for condo owners have gone up considerably based on new state regulations." 

Those fees aim to build up reserve funds or complete repairs ahead of the new legislation following the fatal collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside. If a building contains at least three habitable stories, a “milestone inspection” is now required once the building reaches 30 years old. Another milestone inspection is then required every 10 years after that. As a result, in many cases, condo owners are motivated to sell. 

While the trend of more inventory, more days to contract and generally stable pricing hold, one thing Jennings notes is a shift from sharp seasonal-based movement in the market. 

"Our April, May and June this year are busier than anticipated," he says. "In previous years, we might have discouraged [a homeowner from] listing in July, but now we move forward with it. I'm not seeing the seasonality like we used to."

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