How appropriate it was that the days leading into Thanksgiving brought good news from the housing front that gave our region that much more to be thankful for.
First there was this, from the National Association of Realtors: Despite low property inventories in many U.S. markets, sales of existing home rose nationally by 2.1% in October, versus the previous month; and were up by 10.9% compared with a year ago.
Meanwhile in Southwest Florida, October home sales dramatically outperformed the nation. Lower-than-normal inventories notwithstanding, combined sales throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties rose by 9% compared with September; and were up by 18.6% over last October. Pending sales—or those properties placed under contract, but not yet closed—were up by 23.7% over September; and up 33.1% compared with October 2011. In fact, during every month of 2012, closed and pending sales have outpaced their corresponding month of 2011. (Source: Trendgraphix, October 2012)
In view of depleted housing inventories from coast to coast, there was this good news for the nation’s beleaguered home builders, courtesy of the National Association of Home Builders: With inventories of existing homes at their lowest levels since the property boom of 2005, builder confidence rose for the seventh straight month in November. This steady improvement in builder sentiment—now at its highest level in more than six years—no doubt stems from the up-tick in new construction created by the widening gap between buyer demand and the diminished supply of existing homes.
Perhaps the best news of all comes from the latest Trendgraphix Real Estate Market Report for October. It reveals that the median price for homes throughout Southwest Florida improved during every single month of 2012 compared with a year ago. Moreover, rising home prices nationwide have worked to create substantial growth in home equity—to the tune of $760 billion over the past year—according to NAR.
Trendgraphix further reveals that the luxury market for properties over $1 million in Southwest Florida also enjoyed a healthy October. Closed sales throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties were up 6.1% over September; and up 75% over October 2011. Pending sales were down 4.8% compared with September; but were up 150% compared with last October.
The sustained level of buying that has characterized 2012 has reduced current property inventories to their lowest levels in seven years. Based on October’s rate of closed sales there is now a 5.3-month supply of available properties throughout the tri-county region, and even less in Sarasota and Manatee Counties (4.8 and 5.1 respectively). A 6-month supply is considered a healthy balance between supply and demand. Thus, the Southwest Florida property market is trending below the ideal balance, which tends to push prices higher.
With a strong year behind us and Southwest Florida’s busiest home buying season just ahead, if your goal is to sell your home in 2013, now is the time to list it. Price it right and prepare it well; and your home will likely become the center of attention for buyers presently confronted with a persistent lack of inventory throughout the region’s most in-demand price ranges and neighborhoods.