Upswing in Suncoast real estate market

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VENICE, FL. - The gradual upswing in the market has local realtors, buyers and sellers active.

The season and the weather are bringing more action, and all of it points to better news for the local economy.

Whether it's new or older homes, local real estate experts we talked to say there are more investors, more people who couldn't buy before now entering the market and you now have sellers who are able to get more.

The Dubin family is closing on their Venice home today, but they are not buying, they are selling. "We listed it in August and we had a buyer by October. It took a month to close."

After a job re-location they had to move. They tried to sell the home before, but the loss was too much. "It just didn't work out. We rented the house for a year and it was just the right time. The markets are turning around."

"Sales are up 20%. The inventory is way down," says Dan Heschmeyer of Gulf Coast Realty.

Heschmeyer helped the Dubins, and says happy sellers, and not just low price buyers, are making a comeback. "It had dropped so much it was almost impossible to sell. If you needed to sell for a job or for health reasons or for family situations, it was really hard."

Median home prices in Sarasota County have come from around $150,000 to $176,000 in the past year. Heschmeyer says those types of homes are seeing the bigger increases because of investors. "They are everywhere. We have huge hedge funds and investors looking at the market and buying up these properties."

He also says what else is helping is the decreasing amount of homes in distress, which is down from 40% of those on the market at the height, to around 22% now. "The short sales and foreclosures have dramatically dropped."

Those people who are now able to sell here and elsewhere will now need a new place to call home. "You have investors, you have buyers who could not buy, and you have sellers who could not sell all coming back into the marketplace at the same time. I think it's going to be a strong market from here on out."

That has some pretty thankful about now. "There is certainly a much more optimistic feeling then there was over the last several years certainly," says the Dubins.

Many experts also believe with the snowbirds coming down more may be looking to buy for a permanent home as the Baby Boomers are finally being able to sell their home up north and look for a place with better weather.

As far as new home sales go, they are on a pace of 900,000 for the year.

A new census bureau report shows new home building hit a four-year high last month. The report says builders started work at an annual pace of 894,000 homes in October. That's up 3.6 percent from September, and beats most expert predictions.