Sarasota Real Estate – On Golden Beach

When Siesta Key Beach was named America’s best seashore at the beginning of last summer, we knew its official reign would last for one year only.  That’s the rule.

Sure enough, just as the Memorial Day holiday approached, Dr. Stephen Leatherman—a.k.a., Dr. Beach—released his newest list of America’s best beaches for 2012. This year’s winner is—cue the fanfare please—Coronado Beach, near San Diego.

As is also the rule, Siesta Key Beach is absent from the new list.  It has been officially removed from future consideration; joining the likes of other #1 beaches whose names have been similarly retired after earning the top spots on Dr. Beach’s annual survey.   A curious rule if we ever heard one.  30 years from now, will America’s best beach be a rocky cove on Lake Champlain?

All kidding aside, we sincerely congratulate the City of San Diego—first for the big win, then for what will surely happen next.  You are about to experience a year in which tourism to your area—as a direct result of the Coronado Beach win—will be over the top. Such publicity is priceless, and we will surely miss its financial afterglow.

Still, Siesta Key could not have asked for a better year as top dog.  Last summer, Americans were experiencing the first major stirrings of recovery since the onset of the Great Recession.  They were understandably fed-up with years of belt tightening; and were longing to escape the doldrums of fiscal austerity.  Their confidence on the mend, a few days on a magnificent beach sounded like just what the doctor ordered.  Then, at the perfect moment, Dr. Beach bestowed upon Siesta Key Beach his uppermost rating; and a backlog of pent-up travel demand suddenly spewed forth.

Add to this the fact that Southwest Florida was being routinely lauded in the worldwide media for its outstanding plethora of cultural activities.  Would-be vacationers could suddenly imagine digging their toes into America’s best beach by day, and sinking their teeth into one of its most vibrant cultural scenes by night.

Likewise, last winter’s splendid weather could not have been more perfectly timed.  Would-be visitors were never snowed in, or otherwise prevented by the elements from getting here.  Instead, they showed up in record numbers to savor being “snowed in” on the powdery white beaches of Siesta Key, where scarcely a day went by that wasn’t warm and glorious.

We’ll leave it to Visit Sarasota—the new name of our official tourist agency—to figure out exactly how much this has all meant—and will continue to mean—for the region’s tourism coffers.  From a housing perspective, however, it has been an absolute bonanza; joining low prices and a recovering economy in helping drive additional property sales.

Sales during the first months of 2012 have had a profoundly stabilizing effect on the region’s housing market.  Our once-bloated supply of properties is now so thoroughly depleted—relative to continued demand—that the average home listed (or sold) by an agent from Michael Saunders & Company during April closed for $368,580—18.1% ahead of April 2011.

The luxury market is rebounding too.  To date this year, our agents have closed on 76 properties with sale prices above $1 million, a 29% increase over the same time last year. Even foreclosures are selling for more, as competing buyers frequently bid-up the price on every decent new listing.  The average sale price on a bank-owned property was up by more than 8% over last April.

We sincerely hope that visitors to Coronado Beach spend with the same abandon as ours did during Siesta Key’s year atop the list.  Being home to America’s top-rated seashore proved a golden opportunity for our region’s recovering housing market; as many a visitor departed with the souvenir we’d hoped for—a new home for the next visit to their favorite beach.

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