SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. - Recent reports indicate the local housing market slowed down in January. However, some experts say February is already making up for it.
Record tourism numbers may be helping, while one of the biggest concerns is not enough homes for sale.
2013 was the best year in the area for real estate since 2005. The first month of this year saw a slowdown, but with the second month now in the books it appears increases may be already be back.
"I wouldn't take one month as an indicator of a new trend." Dan Heschmeyer with Gulf Coast Realty has been selling real estate in Venice for decades. He says 2013 was the best year the local market has seen since the boom – and so far, this year is actually better. “As of today, but without today’s closings at the end of February, in the Venice area market we are up 5%."
421 homes sold in the Venice area in the first two months of year, compared to 404 last year. That's on top of prices going up between 16-17%.
Heschmeyer says the large number of visitors escaping the cold are certainly having a big impact. “With the record number of tourists, there is just a spin off benefit of that. People start asking about what it would take to live here; get a condo or second home here."
But it's not all sunny days. The biggest issue is actually the lack of homes for sale. A healthy market typically has a six month supply. Right now it's in the four month range. "Inventory is a strong concern. We are at the lowest point we have been at in between five and seven years."
Another scare is the flood insurance question. While law makers debate the issue, whole neighborhoods are seeing sky rocketing increases. "Areas in our market or Sarasota's market -- especially along Siesta Key -- that might be just hands off for realtors and buyers until something is decided on the flood insurance."
Leading a lot of signs pointing in one direction. "You see a lot of movement towards new construction. Day after day you hear new builders and Neal (Communities) wanting to build new communities here in the Venice area. New construction is going to be and option if it isn't already for a lot of people."
Affordability is also a growing concern. We're told the median home price in the area at the beginning of last year was around $145,000; right now it's around $170,000.