Sarasota’s Real Estate Market in 2018: Why 2019 is about Making SMART Choices!!

Today I am standing on the construction site of the new Ritz Carlton Residences. We have clients that are looking forward to moving into this new bay front tower when completed next year.

The most popular question posed to us in 2018 was “How is the market doing?” I need to stress the importance of focusing as specifically as possible with this question. For example, many are familiar with the VUE right behind me here, the condominium on the corner of US 41 and Gulfstream overlooking the bay front. Of the 141 residences in the building, just 2 are for sale. At the Ritz Carlton Beach Residences on Lido, there 8 for sale of a total of 88 units. Directly down the street from the Lido Beach Ritz is Orchid Beach, where there is just one unit for sale out of 55 units, and that is at a price point of nearly $6M.

Real Estate Market Health Tied to Community Investment

Each neighborhood and condominium is different as it relates to “How’s the market?” For me, the bigger question is, “Are people investing in Sarasota?” I like to use philanthropy as one indicator. Let’s look at just two institutions- the Ringling Museum and Selby Gardens. Both have been trying to raise money and are succeeding.

  • The Ringling Museum has raised nearly $100M. Home to both the iconic Ca’ d’Zan and Circus Museum, the Ringling intends “to embrace the very best of global arts and Florida culture.”
  • Selby Gardens is well on its way to raising $92M as it solidifies its positioning as “a place that brings global living treasures to the public.”

For me, these and many other major contributions that our community is making to both its physical and cultural assets is one of the most significant validations on why an investment in Sarasota is wise.

2019 Real Estate Update

2018: The Real Estate Numbers in Review

How did the real estate market do in 2018? Here’s the high level breakdown:

  • Sales increased by 3.8% in 2018
  • For the fourth quarter sales were down 4.8% from a year earlier. While October and November were up, December 2018 was lower.
  • Distressed market tumbled 18% lower from the 4th quarter of 2017.
  • Luxury market was down 9.5% from the same period a year ago.
  • Affordability decreased by about 7% as properties sold under $200k are now 29% of the total market.

I think that the weakness in December was a result of the stock market drop earlier in the quarter. Closings are typically 30-60 days out. We saw Buyers second-guessing their purchase decisions- most notably in the luxury segment. The stock market continues to be volatile, and there will be months where its impact on the real estate market (in both directions) will be greater than others. In my mind, this is felt primarily at higher price points.

Timing When to Sell Your Property in 2019

Sellers need to be vigilant about the changes in inventory in their specific community or building. The better properties continue to be the quickest to sell. Sellers who do not have something special to offer in terms of newly renovated or highly prized setting need to reset their pricing. We are not in a situation where the mediocre units in a building or neighborhood are able to ride the coattails of the truly extraordinary.

Feeling Overwhelmed with the Idea of Selling Your Property?

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Buying? Equip Yourself to Make Smarter Choices

Buyers need to be aggressive when something special hits the market. There are still multiple bidder situations for the best properties. Buyers can also get lucky to buy the “least expensive house on the block” IF they are willing to do work. There is an opportunity. Though while Sarasota, in general, will see prices rise over time, the best locations, settings and views will increase at a disproportionately higher rate.

As I said, our theme this year is about making smarter choices. I think that those who choose to physically touch the sand themselves by experiencing the market directly rather than relying on the commentary of others will make the better decision.

Where do you get good information? Quite simply, by working with us. With our encyclopedic knowledge, five star expertise, and white glove service. Let’s be smarter together.

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