ANNA MARIA – For the fifth consecutive year, Sato Real Estate’s Jason Sato was the top real estate agent in Manatee County in 2019 in combined total sales and listing volume.
Duncan Real Estate owner and broker Darcie Duncan was again the Island’s second-highest seller and she ranked fourth in total volume countywide. AMI Beaches Real Estate agent Gregg Bayer ranked ninth.
The rankings are according to the 2019 Agent Market Share Report for Manatee County.
Sato made 30 sales and had 42 listings for a total volume of $81.5 million. Duncan made 23 sales and had 38 listings for a total volume of $40 million. Bayer made 17 sales and had 18 listings for a total volume of $35 million.
Two agents in the top 20 made more than 50 sales and two others had all listings and no sales.
“It’s been five years in a row. It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of time put into it,” Sato said. “I grew up on the Island, I live on the Island and people see that I’m active in the community. I don’t stretch myself thin. I focus all my attention on Anna Maria Island and I want to thank my loyal customers.”
Sato said his sales assistant, Grace Wenzel, and office manager, Monica Reid, contribute significantly to his success.
“They’re very helpful setting appointments and getting the paperwork organized. I’ve got a good team behind me. My customers love Grace and she helps me stay organized.”
Sato was asked how 2019 compared to 2018.
“I was up by about $7 million, but for the most part, it was about the same. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling,” he said.
“If you’re doing $30-35 million a year, you’re doing really well,” he said of his peers.
When asked about market trends, Sato said, “People like the newer stuff. Builders are building nicer spec homes and people seem to like those. The market seems pretty solid. Inventory’s good and interest rates are low. A lot of people are buying second homes and more people are buying for themselves rather than for renting. It’s about half and half. It used to lean way more toward the rental side. People still love the Island. People want to be a part of the Island and I think that’s our biggest selling feature. People love that ‘old Florida island’ feel that we still have.”
Sato co-owns Sato Real Estate with his mom and fellow Realtor, Barbara Sato.
“Five years in a row. Nobody’s done that before,” Barbara Sato said. “I’m super proud of him and I believe he gets there by being honest and hardworking. He was raised here, he lives here, he loves the Island and he knows the Island like the back of his hand. The whole office is so proud of him. He’s very deserving.”
When asked about her annual appearance near the top of the rankings, Duncan said, “I attribute it to hard work, good client relationships and being in this business for 30 years. I get up every day, work hard and do the best I can to bring my customers the best service I possibly can. And I love what I do.”
Regarding market trends, Duncan said, “Prices have stabilized and there’s a lot of interest. I see the market being strong this year and you have never seen interest rates as low as what you’re seeing right now. Out here, we’re seeing rates in the low 3% range. You get a lot of house for your money right now with interest rates so low.”
“A lot of people want to buy here and it’s not as rental driven as it was in the year prior. People are looking to retire here. The inventory levels are stable and there’s a lot of different price points, so there’s something for everyone,” Duncan said, noting she has a nice mixture of on-Island and off-Island clients.
When asked about the Island’s older, traditional, ground-level homes, Duncan said, “We’re seeing more people buy them for permanent residences.”