Inventory down, prices up

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NORTH PORT, FL - Fewer homes are selling in our area because fewer are for sale. It means prices are rising while many look for something affordable. One place some say they're still finding deals is north port.

"It's up about 20% from last year." Joe Ciarla owns Anytime Realty in North Port. He like many in the industry saw a seasonal dip in sales in August. However, the prices indicate North Port is still very much a sellers market. "It makes it harder for buyers to get a deal because they are competing against cash buyers and there are multiple offers on properties."

Ciarla says there are less foreclosures and short sales and more investors and baby boomers looking to retire. Supply and demand pushing many to the largest city in the area. The median average throughout the county now around $210,000. Many taking notice that they can get a lot more for a lot less by looking south. "Say you want a 2,000 square foot house that was built in in 05, 06, 07. You are looking at $140,000, $150,000. That same house in Sarasota might cost you $250,000."

A healthy market has around a six month supply of homes for sale. Ciarla says right now it's at about 4 months. He says the lack of inventory is also pushing up rent prices across the Suncoast. He says that also helps North Port. "For what you are paying for rent you can still own a house in North Port. In some cases you can even save money."

Old concerns now coming back, out pricing the typical family while interest rates continue to creep up. For now though industry experts predicting prices will continue to climb here and elsewhere throughout the year. "Even though the prices are up many think were are artificially low. There are still good deals out there."

Building officials with the city say construction permits for new homes have already met expectations for the year.