Home prices on the rise

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SARASOTA - There are more signs that the real estate industry is on the rebound. The leading property research provider released new figures showing home values are going up.  And those numbers show the biggest price jump the industry has seen since May 2006.

"It is increasing, it is increasing before our eyes," said Gail Cristello. 

Cristello is the co-owner of a real estate company in Sarasota.  And, she says she's noticed an upward trend in the industry across the Suncoast.  "The lower end market has been moving up rapidly, the numbers I've been seeing are 12-13% increase over last year."

And her experience is right on. According to Core Logic's recent report on the housing market, the price of homes have gone up 7.5% nationally and about 13% locally.  Cristello thinks most of that increase is being driven by supply and demand.  "We just had a property come on the market, in a nice neighborhood, it came on at $183,000 and 17 offers later it closed at $196,000. "

Cristello says the biggest price increase has been for homes in the $50,000 to $150,000 prices range. But, even million dollar properties are also selling well over the price tag it would a few years ago.

"Its actually a bank owned property, that we've had several offers on it. Its listed for $1,750,000.  It has a theater, it has a pool, it has a restaurant it has all the amenities built into this property at the Ritz Carlton Beach Club," said Jessie Cristello the other owner at Cristello & Company.

Jessie says as people compete for the high price condo and all its amenities the price goes up with each offer.  Which resulted in the last offer on the unit being $50,000 more than its original listing price. But Gail says even with the price increase properties in our area are still a lot less than they were during the real estate boom.

"People are really taking advantage of the fact that our prices have come down so low and our interest rates are so low its an absolute bargain to buy a pice of property now. Owning something is less than renting."

Which means regardless of the price point the market trend seems to be moving in a positive direction.