Sarasota is a city in Southwestern Florida that is famous for having a wonderful year-round vacation and leisure atmosphere. The mid-sized metropolis is known for having wonderful arts and culture facilities, shopping districts, and world-famous white sand beaches in its barrier islands, called Keys.
The city also has a wonderful array of real estate options to choose from, ranging from townhomes, apartments, condo, single-family homes and waterfront estates. However, with the US housing crisis still hovering around, many buyers are exercising caution, and are waiting in the sidelines, and are hoping for the market indicators to return to normal levels
January Saw A Drop In Overall Property Sales
According to figures taken from the Sarasota MLS system, the month of January 2008 saw a drop in overall property sales in the local market.
One of the major factors for the lull was pending state vote on a property tax reform amendment on Jan. 29, which may have contributed to the sentiment of buyers waiting in the sidelines and seeing what happens next. However, with the passage of the property tax reforms, most housing industry observers forecast a rebound in property sales in the city and across the state as well, in the coming months.
As a matter of fact, the pending sales levels in the first month of 2008 were at its highest level since June of 2007. Property sales also had considerably recovered in December 2007,and performed better than the previous month, with sales of more than 22 percent. This showed that the buyer's market began to gain strength with the arrival of the seasonal population.
However, with January sales, which generally show some weakness because of the holiday slowdown in home shopping and closings, were considerably lower than December, and much lower than the same period last 2007. For single family homes, there were 329 overall property sales in January 2008, which represented 221 single family homes, and 108 condominiums. This shows a 19 percent drop from the levels last year, with total sales of 407. The drop was more than 20 percent below the total of 426 closed transactions recorded in the Sarasota MLS in December.
For the Florida market as a whole, single family home sales were down 28 percent, as compared to January 2007, and condo sales also slid by30 percent. The figures however indicate that in a dropping property market, Sarasota and its neighboring areas are still faring much better than other areas in the state.
What Promising Signs Were Seen For The Early Months Of 2008
According to local property market watchers, probably one of the brightest spots in the January housing findings, was the strength in pending sales, which stood at 516, and represents the highest level in the past six months.
446 in October 2007 saw pending sales of 446, November had 489, and December had 374, and analysts say that breaking the 500 threshold barrier is a positive sign for future transactions. Home inventory levels also saw a moderate slide in January, as compared to the previous month last year
According to the Sarasota Association of Realtors, there was obviously some hesitation from buyers during the month of January, in light of the pending property tax amendment vote. Now that the issue has already been settled, the SAR notes that we should be seeing prospective buyers taking advantage of the historically low interest rates, the incredible property selection, and all of the factors that always make the city a wonderful location to buy a home and live."