Archives December, 2007

Random Thoughts on a Recovering Market

The news out of Sarasota-Bradenton’s real estate market continues to brighten considerably. In just the past few weeks, there has been more positive news reported than at any time in the past two years. Clearly, there’s cause for optimism and even diehard skeptics are beginning to feel the glow. Here are just a few random thoughts on a recovering market:

Even though the phenomenon has been largely ignored until recently, it has finally been reported that Sarasota-Bradenton has been Florida’s top performing market for virtually all of 2007. Quarterly statistics compiled by the Florida Association of Realtors not only bear this out but further reveal that we are presently outselling mega-markets like Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Especially noteworthy is the fact that our condominium sector is ahead in unit sales for the third consecutive quarter—most recently by 15 percent, with prices that have remained firm.

Hot topic of late: International buyers are riding in—like the proverbial cavalry—to rescue Florida’s moribund economy. Spurred on by an unprecedented devaluation of the dollar and some of the best home prices in recent memory, foreigners are splurging on second homes across all price ranges.

In line with this evolving buying spree, a new study out from the National Association of Realtors reports that visitors from the U.K. made up the largest single bloc of foreign homebuyers in Sarasota-Bradenton; accounting for a whopping 41 percent of all foreign purchases. (Twice the statewide average) In no other Florida market do U.K. buyers wield more influence. Furthermore, according to the same study, they are more likely to purchase a home costing $1 million or more. The median price they pay is $363,100.

This is jolly good news for clients of Michael Saunders & Company. We have just inked an exclusive alliance with Mayfair International Realty, an organization headquartered in London that represents 125 real estate brokerages with 350 offices—mainly in the U.K—but with affiliations throughout mainland Europe and the Middle East. Each listing priced from $250,000 is now showcased on Mayfair International’s Web site (, which boasts over 1.2 million hits per month and over 600,000 users. In addition Mayfair has uploaded all properties priced over $ 1 million to the Web site for Country Life Magazine, a U.K. institution for over 100 years. A copy is hand-delivered to Queen Elizabeth each week.

The next largest bloc of foreign buyers comes from Western Europe—including Germany—and accounts for 26 percent of all foreign purchases in Sarasota. More great news for MS&C clients. A month before Mayfair International, we inked an exclusive agreement with EREN—short for European Real Estate Network—to cross market properties between Southwest Florida and 10 European countries. EREN is comprised of 22 leading property firms, operating from 53 offices, and is the only pan-European network of independent, top-quality brokerage companies.

In line with all this uplifting news, each of our branch offices is reporting a tremendous up-tick in closed and pending sales, with the Palmer Ranch office having its best November in its 10-year history. Looks like Santa checked in early this year. Sell that jolly old snowbird a house!


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