Affordable homes in high demand in Manatee County

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BRADENTON, FLA. - Tom Murphy has been a real estate agent in Manatee County for 10 years.

“We have seen prices rising now for about 24 months,” said Murphy who is a realtor with Keller Williams on the Water. He says there is a big demand for houses priced $200,000 and under.

“Simply supply and demand. The number of homes listed for sale under $200,000 is 20 percent less than it was about a year ago and that trend continues to decline.”

Murphy says houses at that price point are not only being sought by working class folks but also by retirees relocating to the Suncoast.

“We are seeing a lot of competition for the best quality homes in that price point. The last two or three sales we had, all had multiple offers,” he says.

Adding to the demand, Murphy says there has been a decrease in the number foreclosures coming onto the market and a policy shift by many lenders. Instead of selling foreclosed house as is, like most lenders did in the past, many lenders are having repairs made to the house before putting them on the market.

“And as a result, properties are little bit more attractive but more importantly, they are raising their prices.”

He also thinks the slow rise in home prices is part of a healthy recovery of the housing market.

“Today is different than it was in 2006. In 2006 we had a lot of people borrowing money that had no business borrowing money and of course we had banks that were lending money like we have never seen before. Now the lending standards are much tighter.”

He suggests if you are in the market to buy a home, be ready to make a quick decision and have your financing lined up and ready to go. He says if you see a house you like, don’t wait, the seller will probably receive multiple offers.