Interest in Charlotte County homes for sale is explosive. The Michael Saunders & Company Realtors in Englewood, Burnt Store, Boca Grande, and Punta Gorda have been witnessing an impressive increase in real estate activity. The following article, published in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, outlines just how remarkable these gains are.
Charlotte enjoying a home-price bump
By JOHN HIELSCHER
Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.
After months of trailing the region in home price recovery, Charlotte County saw its residential prices roar past the entire state last month.
The gains come amid double-digit increases that have become commonplace throughout Manatee and Sarasota counties.
The median sale price of a single-family home in Charlotte jumped nearly 40 percent in July when compared with the same month last year, the biggest increase among Florida’s top 20 metro areas.
With such results, Charlotte easily outpaced the healthy gains of 18.5 percent posted in Sarasota-Manatee — and the 18.7 percent reported statewide.
“We’re moving more higher-end product here, without a doubt,” said Sharon Neuhofer, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Morris Realty in Punta Gorda. “The low-hanging fruit is gone, and there is more demand for the higher inventory.
“The investors are still out there,” Neuhofer said. “But we are getting more end users who are planning to make these their retirement homes, and they want nice homes,” she said.
Single-family prices have steadily increased throughout Southwest Florida this year.
Cash-flush investors have played a key role, gobbling up a sizable share of what’s for sale, especially in the under-$250,000 range.
Nancy Bell, a Realtor with Prudential Florida Realty in Punta Gorda, said Southwest Florida’s shrinking inventory has lifted prices in 2013.
“Inventory is at the lowest it has been for a long time, and people are able to get more for their houses,” Bell said. “The lower-priced homes are going as soon as they come on the market.”
Fewer foreclosures and short sales by banks have bolstered prices as well, Bell said.
“All the short sales brought values of houses down,” she said. “Those are minimal now compared to what they were, and with the inventory down, prices are going up and houses are selling for more.”
Charlotte County now has a 5.9-month supply of homes for sale, down from the 47-plus months peak six years ago and close to the six-month supply that is widely considered a sign of a balanced market.
Despite the increase this year, sales prices for homes remain comparatively low in Charlotte.
In July the median sale price of a single-family home was $149,900 in the county. That is well below the $205,000 median price in Sarasota-Manatee and the $177,500 statewide.
Only five of Florida’s largest metro areas reported lower median sales prices than Charlotte last month.
The county recorded 331 closed sales in July, up 3.1 percent over last year but down 10 percent from June, according to Multiple Listing Service statistics. Those July closings primarily represent contracts signed in April and May.
Cash buyers accounted for 189 — or 57 percent — of July’s sales, showing they remain a strong factor in the Charlotte market. But that share was down from 59 percent a year ago.
Homes were on the market for a median of 65 days before selling. Sellers received an average 91.2 percent of their original listing price, up slightly over the year.
The county also reported 307 pending sales of single-family homes, a 3 percent increase over the year. Those are deals that went under contract during the month, although not all will close.
The number of properties marked as favorites by searchers on the MLS more than doubled in the past week in the 15-county Central Florida region that includes Charlotte, Neuhofer said.
Waterfront areas like Punta Gorda and Punta Gorda Isles are also selling well.
“There is always demand for waterfront,” said Neuhofer, president of the Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port Association of Realtors.
Compared with homes, prices in Charlotte’s condominium market have been bounced up and down. In July the median sale price was $99,500, down 16 percent from $118,250 a year earlier. But those prices had risen to $121,500 in June.
A total of 92 condos sold in Charlotte last month, 33 percent more than the same period last year.
And the state?
Meanwhile, statewide sales figures for July were released this week, after being delayed by reporting problems from several real estate associations.
A total of 21,238 homes were sold throughout Florida last month, up 21 percent over last year, Florida Realtors said. Pending sales jumped 26 percent, indicating that closings could remain strong in the coming months.
The statewide market continues to show “steady improvement,” said John Tuccillo, the group’s chief economist.
“There are, however, some straws in the wind that would suggest that the inventory crunch may be easing,” he said. “Specifically, new listings have been up, year over year, for all of 2013. This suggests that sellers are more eager to place their homes on the market.
“In addition, the months’ supply of inventory numbers have remained fairly static for the past three months, suggesting we may be reaching the bottom of the inventory decline.”
This article was published Wednesday, August 28, 2013 and can be found on the Sarasota Herald Tribune website.