March was a good month for real estate sales

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SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -- The new numbers for the local real estate market in the month of March are out, and show that sales continue to heat up.

"The take from March is very simple: more money and less time on the market," says Norman Holloway of Coldwell Banker Venice.

Building is budding while a record number of visitors have flocked to the Suncoast..with many perhaps picking up a big souvenir.

"We have 98 sales so far this month." Holloway says sales have been awesome. And he's not the only one. Throughout the Suncoast, the number of closed-sales transactions were up in March from February by 29%. "Best month we have ever had in 28 years."

In the Sarasota-Manatee area, the median home price is now $201,884, up 3.5% for the year. In the North Port-Charlotte County area, the median home price is now $142,500, up 7%.

The number of days houses spend on the market in some areas is now under two months. “If you list them at a decent price, and your house is being shown a few times a week, it's going to sell."

Some are selling before they even go online, or right as. "The day it comes up, and they see it, they call the realtor and make an offer," says Holloway.

He says on the island of Venice, there is now even a trend of tearing down to rebuild. After being sold for $1.4 million just this week, the old Horse and Chaise Inn on Ponce De Leon Avenue went to the wrecking ball recently to make way for a new development. "Six homes there, starting at $850,000…they will sell."

In areas further away from the beach, like Grand Palm off Center Road in East Venice, homes are selling fast and more affordably because they are available. "They have 1,999 lots. They are seeing sales and the prices are good."

Statewide, prices are up more than 7% since last year. Many experts believe steady growth will continue but not at the same rapid pace. "They just can't wait to get here. Let’s face it, this is paradise."

Real estate experts we talked to say the local inventory is about a five to six month range. That is considered a healthy market.