Archives July, 2010

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Sarasota-Area Beaches – As Gorgeous as Ever

Our area beaches are among the finest in the world. Take a look at one of our live web cam feeds to see what you're missing.

The first thoughts of spending time in the Sarasota area often center around lazing on some of the world’s most renowned beaches enjoying the fresh sea breezes and soaking in the warm sunshine.

While you may be miles away from our sun-kissed shores, you can rest assured they maintain the pristine natural beauty that made our area a preferred destination for beach-lovers around the world. In fact, the renowned Stephen Leatherman—also known as Dr. Beach—most recently named our Siesta Key Beach in the no. 2 spot for America’s Best Beach in his annual survey.

Sarasota County’s beaches remain as gorgeous as ever, and our waters are open and inviting for a range of recreational activities and the world-class fishing that makes our area a special treasure for anglers.

We invite you to see for yourself by viewing some of the live feeds showing real-time action of beachgoers enjoying the pristine waters and sugary white sands of our area beaches.

Take a live virtual trip to Siesta Key, Dr. Beach’s number 2 ranked beach in the country HERE.

HERE’s a live look from the BeachHouse Restaurant on Bradenton Beach.

Click HERE to view beachgoers on Lido Beach.

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Focusing on the Small Picture

At Michael Saunders & Company, one of our chief responsibilities is to keep clients and customers completely abreast of important trends affecting real estate in our local market areas.  Lately, we’ve noticed a nagging trend that challenges our ability to do this.  That trend is how utterly confusing contradictory media coverage of the housing market must be to buyers and sellers trying to make sense of it all.

Admittedly, local markets in recovery are notorious for sending out mixed signals as they re-establish their stability.  But in real estate one thing is for sure.  One size doesn’t fit all. There really isn’t one national real estate market to speak of.  So before moving ahead with the purchase or sale of a property, buyers and sellers must truly grasp the concept that every real estate market is wholly local and unique unto itself, extremely complex in nature and perhaps even subject to many markets within a market. The media would do well to constantly remind their audiences of this important, game-changing fact.

In relatively short order over just the past six weeks, headlines pertaining to the state of our local real estate market have featured such conflicting statements as:

  • “Home Building in Southwest Florida on the Mend” – July 12

….vs… “Home Construction Sinks to Lowest Level Since October” – July 20

  • “New Home Sales Drop Sharply” – July 21

…vs… “Strong Showing in Area Home Market” – July 23

  • “Housing Market Slows as Buyers Get Picky” – June 17

…vs… “Is a Housing Shortage Looming?” – June 20

Toss in a mixture of starkly contradictory national reports—some even released on the same day—and today’s market seems that much more baffling. Case in point:  Last week CoreLogic reported that May’s home prices increased for the fourth straight month, while the International Monetary Fund warned of a possible double-dip recession for housing. Got that?

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The Neighborhood Report – Summerfield in Lakewood Ranch

Discover your ideal lifestyle in Summerfield in Lakewood Ranch.

One of the original villages in Lakewood Ranch, Summerfield is located just south of State Road 70 off Lakewood Ranch Blvd. The Braden River runs along the southern border and connects to many lakes and two community parks that the residents enjoy. This is a family-oriented neighborhood with abundant recreational activities and community events. The winding streets are lined with mature trees that lead you to the five different Summerfield neighborhoods. Parents love the top-rated elementary and middle schools located with within walking distance of their homes.

The homes are single-family, with one maintenance-free community and one condominium complex. Only re-sales are available in this sold-out community from the high $100,000’s to the $400,000’s. The homes range in size from 1,300 to 2,500 square feet and were built from 1995 through 2002.

Market Activity – Summerfield in Lakewood Ranch

Of the 41 properties currently on the market, 35 are single-family homes and 6 are condominium residences. In the last 30 days, 7 single-family and one condominium have sold. There are 24 homes in the pending status right now! We are definitely seeing a lot of movement in the right direction for this desirable community.

Most recently, Elsa Roth’s REO listing on 12015 Winding Woods Way closed after just 21 days on the market. This property sold for $151,000, which was $6,100 over list price.

Why Choose Summerfield in Lakewood Ranch?

Buyers are drawn to Summerfield in Lakewood Ranch because everyone enjoys the sense of small town community that exists here. Lakewood Ranch is an award-winning, 8,500-acre master-planned community, and Summerfield residents take advantage of the shops, restaurants and movie theaters of Main Street in Lakewood Ranch. They use the business parks, hospital and medical center, and the golf courses. There are over 150 miles of sidewalks and trails, and the beautiful lakes, wetlands and nature preserves are abundant with wildlife. Summerfield in Lakewood Ranch is now more affordable than ever and you are within proximity to the culture of Sarasota and the best beaches in the world.

Sarasota, Manatee & Charlotte Counties: Year Over Year Sales Comparison

Based on the most recent recap of residential property sales throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties, the total number of homes on the market throughout the tri-county region declined by 6.1% year-over-year in June. The combined number of homes sold was up by 19%, while combined pendings declined marginally, by 1.7%. Results by county are shown on the individual charts.
(Source:Trendgraphix; June 2010)

University Park, FL – Neighborhood Video

University Parkway is fast becoming one of the top neighborhoods in Sarasota. Everyday new stores and restaurants are opening. A luxury mall is being planned. The schools are new and top-rated. There’s gourmet food shopping at Fresh Market and the latest movies in nearby Lakewood Ranch. And the location can’t be beat – just fifteen minutes to downtown and twenty to the beaches.

Originally called County Line Road, the Parkway marks the boundary between Sarasota and Manatee counties. Once a largely rural area, the Parkway has grown to become a collection of upscale, sophisticated communities. This is modern Florida living at its finest, with a wide variety of housing choices.

Saunders Luxury Sales Report for July 24, 2010

Michael Saunders & Company is proud to announce two closings made possible through the professional representation of our agents, who work each day to fulfill the unique needs of homebuyers and sellers.  For the week ending July 24, 2010, the properties below sold for over $1 million.

Longboat Key residence sold for $2,400,000 on July 15, 2010.

Hannerle Moore of Michael Saunders & Company represented the seller of a soft contemporary residence directly on the Gulf of Mexico. Susan McLeod  of Michael Saunders & Company represented the buyer. It closed on July 15, 2010 for $2,400,000.

Another Longboat Key property located on the Gulf of Mexico with 100′ of beach frontage sold for $1,800,000 and closed on July 22, 2010. Sandi & Jim Layfield and Michael Nink of Michael Saunders & Company represented the seller and the buyer respectively.

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Table Tops – Some of Our Favorite Sarasota-Area Restaurants

More than just gorgeous, world-class beaches, the Sarasota area boasts a range of exceptional dining options.

With choices ranging from innovative fine dining establishments to quaint waterfront hideaways bursting with Old Florida charm and everything in between, Sarasota is truly food-lover’s destination set to find its way onto America’s culinary map. Our vibrant city adores unique dining concepts and treasures its tried and true mainstays that have provided delectable food and fun for generations of visitors and residents. No matter what the craving, you can guarantee there is a menu to be found in the Sarasota area that does it and does it well.

As longtime area residents and people about town, our agents and branch managers have sought, savored and selected the preferred dining spots they enjoy sharing with guests, clients and family alike. So here—in no particular order—is the first sampling of a multi-part series highlighting some of our favorite Sarasota-area restaurants:

• The Casey Key Fish House – Laidback and relaxed, the Casey Key Fish House offers casual waterfront dining with an “Old Florida” feel in mind. A favorite spot of Longboat Key South agent Deborah Beacham, the restaurant is located just over the north bridge at Blackburn Point to Casey Key. Here you will find fresh seafood served daily from 11:30 am to 9 pm. Owner Jimmy Von Hubertz and Master Chef Willie Tia present terrific food served with warm hospitality. There are daily lunch specials—Deborah’s favorite lunch is the Caesar salad with grilled mahi—and customers rave about the ahi tuna, Bouillabaisse and almond snapper dishes available on the more extensive dinner menu. There is an outdoor section where dogs are allowed (well mannered, of course), so Deborah’s poodle is always welcome! Boat docking available. Learn more HERE.

• Madfish Grill – With a dinner menu offering a selection of Caribbean-inspired cuisine from starters and tapas to seafood to salads and sandwiches, Madfish Grill is a favorite of Siesta Key Branch Manager Debbie Judge. Located  at 4059 Cattlemen Road in Sarasota, this locally owned spot serves great cuisine lending itself to the islands and a selection of great steaks. Plus, the bar area is a great place for a lively evening. Fun fact: the restaurant was a bank at one time and the private room is the old vault! Learn more HERE. (more…)

Ask Michael – How Did You Choose Punta Gorda As The New Office Location of Michael Saunders & Company?

In this Ask Michael Video, Michael Saunders discusses how she chose Punta Gorda as the new office location for Michael Saunders & Company.

Correction: Michael misstates the number of offices at the end of this video. Michael Saunders & Company has 23 locations and 550+ real estate agents.

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The Neighborhood Report – Bird Key

Surrounded by sparkling waters, Bird Key is considered the jewel of Sarasota Bay.

Considered the jewel of Sarasota Bay, Bird Key is perfectly located in the middle of Sarasota Bay between St Armands Circle/Lido Key Beach and downtown Sarasota. This manmade island is made up of 511 lots, or approximately 460 single-family homes, with the only other occupant being the Bird Key Yacht Club. The original island had a large home built on it in 1914, which was owned by a couple from Cincinnati. Since then, John Ringling bought the island, which then became home for his sister. In 1950, Arvida Development Corp—with the assistance of the Corp of Engineers—designed and built the current island.
 
Market Activity – Bird Key

There are presently 39 active listings in Bird Key. Of these, 11 are off-water—known as Garden homes—15 are canal homes, and 13 are set on Sarasota Bay.

Garden homes range from $515,000 to $1,399,000; Canal homes range from $1,195,000 to $2,695,000; Sarasota Bay homes range from $1,499,000 to $9,490,000. There are five pending homes, in which two are Garden homes, two canal homes and one bay front home. In the last thirty days, one home has sold for $495,000. Year-to-date, fifteen homes have sold—ten of these were off-water; four were canal homes and one bay home. (more…)

Out-Booming the Boom

“Can you believe they’re at it again?” muttered the Starbucks customer, eyes wide, mouth agape as she looked up from her newspaper. “So many homes for sale and they’re building new ones?” she muttered again, sounding even more incredulous as she peered over her glasses at no one in particular. Having read the same article only minutes earlier, we didn’t have to guess what she was referring to.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune was reporting for the second time in as many weeks that new home building in Southwest Florida is ramping-up again. Mind you, not the big homes with all the bells and whistles that sprouted up like so many mushrooms during the boom; but smaller, more affordable homes designed to appeal to families, first time buyers, retirees and vacation home purchasers. In other words, genuine buyers with genuine needs; rather than rampant speculators out for the quick flip.

What the lady apparently didn’t realize is this. Not since November 2005—amid the glory days of the boom—have there been so few homes available to those who would gladly buy them. No doubt this has plenty to do with prices not seen since before the turn of the century—with historically-low interest rates as an added bonus. This perfect storm of major savings has fueled such steady new demand for housing that building from scratch suddenly makes perfect sense again; which is great news for buyers who want new construction and even better news for the region’s beleaguered job market. You can bet that builders who survived the crash are savvy enough not to build again until plenty of new demand is demonstrably in place.

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