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Sarasota Real Estate Blog

Bruce Farlow


Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8

Foreign Buyers Love Sarasota Condos

by Bruce Farlow

Based on an industry survey, Sarasota condos got a heads-up among international homebuyers.

In all of the South Florida region, foreign homebuyers’ spending was estimated to have increased by $900 million to $7.1 billion in 2017 from the $6.2 billion spent in 2016. More residences were purchased as international buyers bought 15,400 residential properties, up 41.3 percent from the 10,900 residential purchases by foreigners in 2016.

This sixth annual survey on Florida’s international home buying trends indicated that 55 percent of foreigners buying South Florida residences prefer condominiums.

Overall, Florida remains as the top U.S. destination for foreign buyers, accounting for 22 percent of all international sales, according to a separate 2017 NAR report. 

During a forum of Sarasota and Manatee realtors, NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun said Florida inspires the confidence of foreign home buyers as they view properties in the state as safe investments bound to rise in value in the future. 

On the downside, he said that one of the major barriers international buyers face is thin inventory of residential properties which are attractive to them. Other concerns, Yun added, is the constraints foreign buyers encounter in transferring funds and coping with restrictive immigration laws.



2018 Home Sales are Strong In Sarasota and Manatee

by Bruce Farlow

Sarasota and Manatee County has closed more home sales so far in 2018 than sales in January through May of 2017. Inventory is still tight and median prices continue to rise year-over-year. Overall, this month reports more closed sales and pending sales across the two counties.

The two-county area reported 2,191 total closed sales, a one percent increase from May 2017. In the condo market, Sarasota sales increased by 6.4 percent to 452, while Manatee condo sales increased by 16.8 percent to 278. As for single-family homes, Manatee sales increased by 2.6 percent to 641, while Sarasota County decreased by 0.2 percent to 820.

The number of properties that went under contract this month increased by 8.2 percent from May of 2017. In the two-county area, condo pending sales increased by 6.6 percent, while single-family homes increased by 9 percent. Pending sales can be a good indicator of future closed sales.

Inventory remains tight in the two-county area. Sarasota single-family homes decreased by 5.9 percent, while Manatee single family homes increased by 0.8 percent. As for condos, Sarasota inventory increased by 1.8 percent, while Manatee condo inventory is down by 0.9 percent in the two-county area.

Median sales prices continue to rise in Sarasota and Manatee. Manatee single-family home prices increased by 2 percent to $305,000 and Sarasota increased by 8 percent to $280,750. Condo prices in Sarasota increased by 4 percent to $234,675 and Manatee decreased by 1.3 percent to $183,750.

Year-over-year, the month’s supply of inventory continues to decrease, indicating a seller’s market. Manatee condos represent a 4.5-month supply and Sarasota condos are at a 4.8 month-supply. Manatee single-family homes are at a 4.3-month supply and Sarasota single-family homes are at a 4.2-month supply.

Inventory may be tight, but the median time to contract showed an overall increase this month. Sarasota condos spent 63 days on the market, a 3.3 percent increase from this time last year. Manatee condos also increased with a 14.9 percent jump to 54 days. For single-family homes, the median time to contract is up by 12.8 percent in Manatee to 53 days, while Sarasota is down to 45 days, a 2.2 percent decrease.

Hurricane Season Smarts

by Bruce Farlow


The good news is that home insurance won’t increase as much as insurance executives had expected following $140 billion in losses last year. That’s because rates for reinsurance, which is the insurance that insurance companies pay to help them pay claims after a catastrophe, only increased an average 1.2 percent for the 2018 Florida hurricane season according to a report released by JLT Re, a unit of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group PLC, a London-based provider of insurance advice and brokerage services.

A 1.2 percent increase is considerably lower than what most insurers were expected to pay, JLT Re’s report said.  Reinsurance rates as a whole are 40 percent lower than they were in 2012, JLT Re said.


The bad news is this hurricane season, Floridians need to be aware of AOB abuse and not become a victim. AOB allows homeowners who have property damage to sign over their insurance benefits to a third party. The third party then makes repairs and charges the homeowners’ insurance companies directly. Many homeowners do so because it makes the process easier, and it’s a fair process if the contractor is honest.However, AOB also presents an opportunity for scammers to step in and take advantage of homeowners.

The CPC’s new ads warn consumers to think twice before signing an AOB if they suffer damage from a storm. Homeowners do not need to sign an AOB to start repairs and should be cautious of vendors who pressure them or refuse to do the work unless they sign one.

Home Sales Rise in April Despite Tight Inventory

by Bruce Farlow

In April 2018, Sarasota and Manatee housing inventory levels dropped again, with pressure from rising median sales prices. Overall, April showed an increase in sales across the two counties, as well as an increase in new listings.

April reported 2,014 total sales which is a 3.3 percent increase from last year. Sarasota condo sales increased by 17.8 percent and Manatee condo sales increased by 2.5 percent. As for single-family homes, Manatee sales increased by 5.8 percent, while Sarasota decreased by 5.3 percent.

Overall, inventory is down compared to this time last year. For single-family homes, the number of properties listed decreased by 10.3 percent. As for condos, inventory decreased by 8.9 percent in the two-county area.

“Sarasota and Manatee counties are following the national trend of lower inventory and higher prices,” said Greg Owens, 2018 President of the REALTOR® Association of Sarasota and
Manatee. “This home shortage is a main factor in limiting sales growth.”

Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), commented on this trend in his recent 2018 midyear forecast presentation at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Yun indicated that a stronger economy, wage growth and improving job market is expected to raise sales and prices. However, low inventory and the challenging affordability for the next generation of homebuyers may temper growth. Overall, he predicts a moderate and multiyear increase in home sales ahead.

Median sales prices continue to rise in Sarasota and Manatee. Manatee single-family home prices increased by 5.4 percent to $311,000 and Sarasota increased by 4.6 percent to $285,000. Condo median prices in Sarasota increased by 9.3 percent to $235,000 and Manatee increased by 23.1 percent to $209,950.

“These trends should encourage homeowners who were thinking of putting their property on the market to do so,” added Owens. “The traditional snowbird season has ended in our area, but property sales have not. Contact your local REALTOR® to find the best move for you and your family.”

A seller’s market remains, indicated by the decreased month’s supply of inventory. Manatee condos represent a 4.5-month supply and Sarasota condos are at a 4.6 month-supply. Manatee single-family homes are at a 3.9-month supply and Sarasota single-family homes are at a 4.1-month supply.

The median time to contract for Sarasota single-family homes is down by 11.1 percent to 40 days, while Manatee increased by 2.2 percent to 47 days from April 2017. For Sarasota condos, the time to contract is down by 6.5 percent to 43 days, while Manatee condos are down by 24 percent is to 38 days on the market. With tighter inventory, properties are spending less time on the market.

Overall pending sales, or the number of properties that went under contract in April, decreased from last month. This is an indication that sales are tapering off the traditional snowbird season. Compared to 2017, the condo market experienced more pending sales with a 22.1 percent increase in Manatee and a 1.7 percent increase in Sarasota. Single-family homes, however, experienced a drop in pending sales. Sarasota single-family homes decreased by 13.1 percent and Manatee by 16.1 percent.

Closed/Pending Sales Increase

by Bruce Farlow

As of March 2018, the two-county area has closed on 5,015 properties so far this year, an increase from this time last year. Inventory levels dropped this month and median prices continue to rise. This month also showed an increase in pending sales, indicating more closed sales on the horizon.

Overall, closed sales for single-family homes and condos in the Sarasota & Manatee area increased by 2.3 percent from this time last year. The condo market improved in sales with a 9.9 percent increase in Sarasota and a 9.7 percent increase in Manatee. As for single-family homes, Manatee County sales decreased by 0.2 percent to 580, while Sarasota decreased by 2.3 percent to 766.

The median sales price for Manatee condos increased by 15.1 percent to $201,500 and Sarasota condos increased by 4.3 percent to $240,000. Single-family median prices in Sarasota increased by 9.3 percent to $287,053 and Manatee decreased by 1.7 percent to $285,000.

The number of properties that went under contract increased from this time last year. Combined, pending sales for single-family homes and condo increased by 4.9 percent from March 2017.

A drop in new listings is another good indication of the selling season ending. The number of properties put on the market during March 2018 decreased by 7.6 percent from 2017 in the two-county area.

Combined inventory in the two-county area decreased by 14 percent from March 2017. Compared to last year, single-family homes experienced a 15.4 percent decrease, while condos decreased by 11.4 percent. When compared to February, inventory decreased by 12.2 percent in the two-county area.

The market is strong on the seller’s side this month - it's a great time to list your property for sale!

The Value of “Home” and the American Dream

by Bruce Farlow

Many people ask “is a major facet of owning a home still a pillar of the American Dream?” Well, it is and always has been a tenant of the age old saying. Home ownership has never been stronger than it is today. Home values are strong, rates are low, and people are flocking to buy homes.

Why is this? Why are people going full-throttle with buying homes? Simple: the market is strong. Not only that…but because, well, people want to. They know that it is the best time to buy a home in the past decade. South Florida especially is a hot bed for new construction, vintage style homes, and any type of real estate you can think of.

Many people are buying homes for various reasons. Maybe they want to invest in properties solely for passive income. Maybe they want to buy their dream home for their family. Some people are going as far as to renting out plots of grass in their backyard for people to grow a vegetable garden. There are endless possibilities when it comes to home ownership—and nothing as heartwarming as turning a house into a home and calling it your very own.

Your home is yours and you have the power to do whatever you’d like. Once again, isn’t that the core tenant of the American Dream—to work hard and be able to provide for yourself and your family and have the options of doing what you want? With renting, it just isn’t the same. Yes, you can spruce up your apartment…but it truly isn’t the same.

Of course, buying isn't for everyone. Maybe you’re uncertain with your current employment situation and you don’t want to get too tied down. Maybe you enjoy a bit less responsibility than comes with home ownership. All of the aforementioned is fine and dandy. Everyone has their preferences. That is, of course, the ultimate foundation of the American Dream.


There’s No Place Like Home

by Bruce Farlow

Ah, yes—the spring in the Sunshine State. Truly the best time of year. Time to hit the beach, practice your backhand on the court, or your stroke on the green. Florida offers so much and Sarasota is in the heart of this great state. How could you not want to live here?

Florida, believe it or not, is a very affordable place to call home. With no state income tax, residents get to benefit from the extra income throughout the year. In addition, suburban homes are not far from the average throughout America when it comes to price. Florida is a very appealing place to call home.

Sarasota also harbors a plethora of different housing options ranging from waterfront villas to suburban townhomes. There is not a style of home you can’t find in Sarasota. Whether you’re single, married, or have a family—there are amazing communities calling your name.

The weather is something that cannot be ignored, as well. The cool Atlantic gulf breeze coupled with the sun-kissed afternoons make a beautiful climate year-round. Would you rather be shoveling snow during December up north or digging your toes in the powder white sand of Siesta Key?

Sarasota also provides year-round entertainment for out of towners or locals. With the Ringling Museum, Siesta Key entertainment, Selby Botanical Gardens, and much more—there is family-fun entertainment for all walks of life.

Not to mention--In 2017 Dr. Beach, a.k.a. Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Director of Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University (considered America’s top tier beach expert) awarded Siesta Key as America’s Best Beach published popularly in US News. What more could you possibly need?

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Bruce Farlow

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall down the road, while others are convinced that home prices will go up.

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have fluctuated, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, a one point rise in interest rates could cost tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates while they are still available.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Displaying blog entries 1-8 of 8