The Southwest Florida residential real estate market closed out 2012 with big gains in home prices and closed sales over the previous year, according to figures released Tuesday by local and state Realtor associations.
The Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port Association of Realtors reported a 24.7 percent year-over-year increase in median home sale prices last month. The median sales price for a single-family home in the Charlotte County-North Port area was $118,500 in December 2012, compared with $95,000 in December 2011.
In the condo category, however, the median price dropped from $115,000 in December 2011 to $103,500 in December 2012.
The median price means half the homes sold for more, half for less.
The Sarasota Association of Realtors also reported a jump in prices for single-family homes, with the median sales price at $189,500 in December 2012, compared with $160,000 a year ago. In the condo category, prices also increased, from $150,000 in December 2011 to $182,500 in December 2012.
“Our market is enjoying an amazing resurgence, and the traditional busy season still has several months to go. Last year, our strongest sales months were in March, April and May,” said SAR President Roger Piro. “We’re all hoping for a repeat performance in 2013, and agents are continuing to report steady, strong foot traffic at open houses, and multiple offers on many properties.”
Sarasota County also posted strong sales in 2012, with closed transactions the fourth-highest in the SAR’s 90-year history, the association reported.
Last month, 606 single-family homes and 222 condos sold, compared with last December, when only 471 single-family homes and 173 condos were sold. Total sales for the year equaled 9,169, according to the association.
In Charlotte County-North Port, single-family home sales totaled 252 in December 2012, compared with 247 in December 2011. That’s a 2 percent increase from the previous year. In the condo market, total sales in December 2012 were 76, up from 53 closed sales in December of last year, according to the association.
Inventory levels also remain near the lowest level in a decade, the associations reported.
In Sarasota County, last month’s figures were just under four months of inventory for single-family homes, and nearly six months for condos. Last December, there were more than six months of inventory for single-family homes, and more than nine months of inventory for condos.
Months of inventory represents the time it would take to deplete the current inventory at the current sales rate.
In the Charlotte-North Port area, the December 2012 inventory was at less than 5.5 months for single-family homes, and just over seven months for condos. Those levels stood at just over seven months in December 2011 for single-family homes, and nine and a half months for condos.
According to Florida Realtors, the benchmark for a balanced market is 5.5 months of inventory. Higher numbers indicate a buyer’s market, lower numbers a seller’s market.
“When your inventory gets under the six-month level, obviously that means your demand is picking up and your supply is not keeping up with it,” said Kathy Damewood, broker with the RE/MAX Alliance Group. “So whatever is on the market and is coming on the market, that’s when we start seeing price increases. We are starting to get back to what I would see as a normal market.”
State figures reveal a similar story.
According to Florida Realtors, single-family closed sales rose from 15,576 in December 2011, to 18,031 in December 2012. Median prices rose 14.1 percent from $135,000 in December 2011, to $154,000 in December 2012. Inventory supplies stand at 5.5 months.