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Market Maintains its Momentum as Southwest Florida Slows for the Summer

SARASOTA, Florida—(June, 2009)—“Its very heartening to see that the sales momentum that built so impressively during the first four months of 2009 continued to be strong even as we transitioned from the busy winter season into our customarily slow summer months,” said Michael Saunders upon examining the latest sales statistics for May, just out from TRENDGRAPHIX.. “With bottoming prices, low interest rates and extraordinary, limited-time-only buying incentives—like the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit—buyers are expressing their confidence in the market by stepping up to buy wherever they detect the best buying opportunities.”

“Sales continue to be disproportionately clustered in the under-$300,000 price range, thanks to prices that have been impacted by foreclosures and short sales; but sales are also occurring in every price range where sellers wisely list their homes in very close proximity to what comparable homes are actually selling for,” Saunders added. “The most encouraging news from this new data is that closed sales, although down slightly in most cases for May in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties—as would be expected as we enter the slow summer months—largely held their own compared with April; while pending sales are way up compared with last May. Further, with most of these pending sales set to close in the next 30 to 60 days, it looks like the trend toward improved sales, established early this year, will continue throughout the summer.”

TRI-COUNTY SUMMARY

TRENDGRAPHIX’s latest report for May 2009 shows that closed and pending sales for the tri-county region of Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties were down—but only marginally— from April to May. Closed sales were down by 3.2% and pending sales were off by 5%, not at all an unexpected phenomenon as the busy winter season yields to the traditionally slow summer months. Closed sales for May, versus last May, were down by 6.6%, but pending sales increased by an impressive 43.3% year over year.

Inventories of available homes have continued their steady erosion across all three counties; and are now at their lowest levels in nearly three-and-a-half years. Sarasota County has 7.06% less inventory than a month ago and 31.5% less inventory than May 2008.

Manatee County’s inventory of homes declined by 6.4% from April to May and was down 37% from May 2008.

Charlotte County’s inventory dropped by 6.28% from April and by 24.7% since last May. At the same time, Charlotte County distinguished itself in May with a robust year-over-year increase in closed sales of 28.5% and a most impressive 76.9 % year-over-year increase in pending sales.

COUNTY RECAP

Sarasota County sales decreased marginally—by 5.87%—between April and May, 2009. (767 unit sales in April vs. 722 in May), and were 6.8% below last May. Pending sales also decreased marginally by 6.55% from April to May; but were a solid 42% ahead of May 2008. Pending sales are typically strong indicators of closed sales to come within the next 30 to 60 days and suggest that the market is sustaining the renewed momentum that has been building all year—even as the market enters Florida’s customarily slow summer months.

The inventory of available homes shrank by 7.06% between April and May; and was down a full 31.5 % over last May. Months of available inventory based on the rate of closed sales for May was 11, basically unchanged from April; and down from 14.9 months of available inventory in May of 2008.

Months of available inventory based on pending sales were 7.6 in both April and May and was down from 15.8 months in May of last year. Six months of available inventory is considered a healthy and balanced market. Anything less indicates a sellers’ market; while anything more typically constitutes a buyers’ market.

Of the homes sold in May, 77.84% were under $300,000; 12.33% were between $300,000 and $500,000; and 9.83% sold for over $500,000.

The median price of the homes sold in May was $146,000, up 12% from April and up 18.6% since January. Average median price for the first five months of 2009 was $129,800.

Manatee County sales decreased 6.64% from April to May 2009 (422 unit sales in April vs. 394 in May) and were down by -25.2% over May of 2008. May’s pending sales were up by 6.79% over April; and up by 28.8% over May 2008.

The total number of available homes decreased 6.40% between April and May and was down by 37% over May of 2008. The months of available inventory based on closed sales stood at 13.6 for May, basically unchanged from April’s 13.5 months of available inventory. Last May there were 16.1 months of available inventory based on closed sales.

Months of available inventory based on pending sales were 8.1 in May, down from 9.2 in April; and down from 16.5 in May 2008.

82.99% of the Manatee County homes sold for under $300,000; 11.42% of the homes sold for between $300,000 and $500,000; and 5.58% of the homes sold for over $500,000.

After spiking to $160,000 in April, May’s median price retreated to $150,000, down 6.25% from the previous month; and down 9.1% from January’s $165,000. Average median price for the first five months of 2009 was $155,400.

Charlotte County sales increased by 6.94% from April to May 2009 (346 unit sales in March vs. 370 in April); and was up by 28.5% over May of 2008. Pending sales were down by 15.47% from April to May; but up an impressive 76.9 percent versus May of 2008.

Inventory of available homes decreased by 6.28% between April and May; and decreased by 24.7% over May of 2008. Months of available inventory based on May’s rate of closed sales stood at 10.7, down from 12.2 months in April; and down from 18.3 months in May of 2008.

Months of available inventory based on May’s rate of pending sales was up to 9.1 months from April’s 8.2 months; but down significantly from 21.3 months in May of 2008.

88.92% of the homes sold for under $300,000; 10.00% of the homes sold for between $300,000 and $500,000; and 1.08% of the homes sold for over $500,000.

Median price for a home in Charlotte County has remained constant at $110,000 from March through May; and is up 11.1% from January. Average median price for the first five months of 2009 was $107,600.

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