Big December for Single Family Home sales in Sarasota & Manatee County, probably doesn’t herald high home prices

Big December for Single Family Home sales in Sarasota & Manatee County, probably doesn’t herald high home prices

BY MATT M. JOHNSON

Single family home sales made a big rebound in Manatee and Sarasota counties in December, snapping back from a November that was about the worst month of 2014 for the local residential real estate market.

Total existing home closings for the two counties during the last month of the year totaled 1,112, up from 910 in November. The numbers also showed an uptick from the same month in 2013, when 1,065 homes sold, according to the Multiple Listing Service. The sales performance marked the best December for the market during the past five years. It was also the hottest month of closings in 2014 for Manatee County, beating out the previous May peak with 553 homes sold.

The local trend mirrored similar market behavior statewide. Florida single family home sales jumped 26 percent month-over-month to 22,414.

Local real estate professionals attributed the slow November to several factors, including a drop in sales due to the approach of year-end holidays and what they saw as a lack of “move-in ready” properties. A surge in closings before the end of the year was expected.

“A lot of people wanted to close in December,” said Pam Ali, managing broker for the Bradenton office of Michael Saunders & Co. “A lot of people wanted to be in their homes for the holidays.”

Another sales driver was likely the county’s homestead exemption. Greg Owens, broker at the Keller Williams on the Water in Bradenton, said the Dec. 31 deadline to avoid paying the higher property taxes on non-homesteaded properties was an incentive to buy by year’s end.

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