ANNA MARIA ISLAND – Jason Sato was Manatee County’s top Realtor for the fourth consecutive year and Darcie Duncan was the county’s number two Realtor in 2018.
The sales and listing figures are contained in the 2018 Agent Market Share Report, compiled by the My Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service and shared by the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.
In 2018, Sato totaled 70 transactions, with 36 properties sold and 34 properties listed for a total reported value of $71.6 million and an average sales price of $1.06 million.
Duncan totaled 57 transactions, with 23 properties sold and 34 properties listed for a total reported value of $54.9 million and an average sale price of $963,000.
Sato and his mother, Barbara Sato, own Sato Real Estate at 519 Pine Ave. in Anna Maria. Duncan owns Duncan Real Estate at 310 Pine Ave. in Anna Maria.
Sato attributes his success to the comfort level and familiarity he has with the Island and its real estate market.
“I grew up here, I live here, and my office is here. I do stuff off-Island for friends and people I know, but my focus is Anna Maria Island,” he said.
He said new construction and newer homes remain the most popular, but there’s also a market for renovated homes and a price point of desirability for historic bungalows.
“The Island’s got something for everyone, which is great. And the vibe is different in all three cities,” Sato said.
He’s seeing an increase in the construction of custom homes designed as permanent residences, and he’s not seeing as many vacation rental homes being built.
He said the Island’s real estate inventory is strong and it spikes at the beginning of the year because more people list their homes during season.
Sato didn’t see significant home price increases in 2018 and he attributes that partially to the knowledge available to buyers using websites like Zillow.com and Realtor.com.
Sato said the red tide had some impact on home sales, but 2019 is off to a busy start and he sees that as a good sign.
He said red tide affected the real estate market by bringing fewer people to the Island. This impacts sales because vacationers often turn into potential homebuyers when they discover the Island’s magic.
“We need people here to sell real estate,” Sato said of the relationship between vacationers and homebuyers.
“2018 was fantastic,” Duncan said.
She said the red tide impacted her vacation rentals, but she didn’t lose a single home sale because of it, and her sales figures were up from 2017.
“I attribute my success to hard work, working with integrity and giving back to my community. Seventy-five percent of my business is from past client referrals and my sphere of influence,” she said, noting that 70 percent of her sales are on the Island.
“Not as many people that I worked with this past year were laser-focused on rental income. They were looking more at living here and retiring here. I think it’s important that people know that,” she said.
Duncan believes the housing market is stabilizing, and prices are going to level off some in 2019. She said she’s already seeing some price reductions.
She agrees the Island’s real estate inventory is strong and there’s still much new construction taking place. She said the $500,000 to $800,000 price range is the most-desired right now, but some of the Gulffront homes and others are selling for $1.5 million and up.