The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 26 - April 11, 2012


Inventory decreases, buyer activity increases


If you're reading this in a reclined position on the soft Anna Maria sand with just the hint of a Gulf breeze tickling your face, it may be time to get out the cell phone and call your favorite island real estate broker.

A lot of buyers around the country have taken the wait and see attitude about buying real estate. Most of them felt that when the real estate train starts to leave the station there will still be plenty of time to hop on board before prices are affected. Frankly I thought the same thing, but there are signs out there that the train is moving faster than anyone thought.

One of the major indicators is that last month analysts at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch revised their home-price forecast, calling for a bottom in 2012 instead of 2013. Another positive indicator that speaks to our local market is two major retail projects being built on the west side of Bradenton. Marshalls clothing store on Cortez Road and Fresh Market, an upscale grocer, on Manatee Avenue, both scheduled to open late summer or early fall.

Real estate brokers around the country are all complaining about the same thing, lack of inventory from a year ago. This could partly be because would be sellers are waiting for prices to level off. In addition, mortgage applications are falling nationally, indicating there are still a lot of cash buyers in the market. I can personally attest to this lack of inventory since during the past three weeks I have been helping family members looking for a second home in Bradenton and was astounded at the reduced inventory compared to what had been available not that long ago.

Nationally, as reported by Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index, prices in January dropped 0.8 percent in the three month period that ended in January. Case-Shiller tracks 20 U.S. metro areas and is a trailing index since it reflects sales that were booked in the prior three months. However, compared with one year ago where home prices fell 3.8 percent during January and 4.1 percent in December 2011, the improvement is encouraging.

Locally, Manatee County, according to the Manatee Association of Realtors, reports 317 existing single family homes sales in February, a 7 percent increase from January, but a 4 percent decline from February of last year. The county's median price in February was $175,000, which was up 9 percent from January and 13 percent from February of last year. Sarasota is also experiencing increased sales in single family homes with an 11-month high of pending sales.

On Anna Maria, local brokers are confirming what is going on around the country and the county with a shortage of inventory and a lot of buyer activity. Just take a good look at property asking prices advertised in this publication. Some of these price points haven't been seen in four or five years.

Never-the-less, the housing market is not out of the woods. There are still almost 11 million homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their houses or apartments are worth. There is still a significant shadow inventory of potential foreclosures that could come on the market this year, which would put pressure on prices. In addition, credit standards continue to be tight leaving the market with fewer buyers.

Sorry if I ruined your beach day, but I can guarantee you'll eventually thank me. It's time to get out of the beach chair, get out the checkbook and flex your real estate muscles before they go soft.

Real Estate Transactions
Real Estate Transfers from Feb. 1 to 15, 2011
Sponsored by Alan Galletto Island Real Estate

Sold Date | List Price | Sold Price | Address | Provision | Property Style

Anna Maria

02/03/2012 455,000 455,000 223 Willow Ave. 1553 100x148 3 Br/1 Ba SFR


02/03/2012 319,000 315,000 4126 Osprey Harbour 1912 2 Br/2 Ba condo

Holmes Beach

02/01/2012 229,900 205,000 600 Manatee Ave. # 130 1179 2 Br/2 Ba condo
02/02/2012 450,000 410,000 7000 Gulf Dr. # 205 1259 2 Br/2 Ba condo
02/03/2012 375,000 376,000 2312 Gulf Dr. # 207 1180 2 Br/2 Ba condo
02/07/2012 585,000 505,000 5300 Gulf Dr. # 310 1057 2 Br/2 Ba condo
02/14/2012 299,900 291,500 5200 Gulf Dr. # 102 832 1 Br/1 Ba condo
02/10/2012 30,000 23,000 No assigned address Dock- Rackominium
02/06/2012 425,000 395,000 7805 Gulf Dr. # 7508 B 875 2 Br/2 Ba SFR
02/09/2012 549,000 520,000 307 63rd St. # B 1650 3 Br/3 Ba SFR
02/10/2012 539,000 542,000 315 62nd St. 1600 3 Br/3 Ba SFR
02/10/2012 614,900 562,000 604 Hampshire Lane 1652 95x105 3 Br/2 Ba SFR
02/15/2012 1,149,000 900,000 661 Key Royale Dr. 2487 100x150 3 Br/3 Ba SFR
02/02/2012 260,000 255,000 6250 Holmes Blvd # 63 1224 2 Br/2.5 Ba town home
02/02/2012 449,000 450,000 120 50th St. 1204 62.5x100 2 Br/2 Ba vacant

Source: Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office

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