Local home sales ‘normalizing’ – Englewood realtors say sales are up, prices unpredictable

ENGLEWOOD — The number of closed sales of single family homes increased by 15.8 percent year to date over the same period last year and the business is good as demand for Englewood area homes increases and inventory decreases, local experts say.

Figures provided by Ray Eggermont, a director with the Englewood Area Board of Realtors, show that many sales statistics increased in 2012 so far.

New listings, pending and closed sales increased for single-family and townhouse-condominium markets in the Englewood-Cape Haze peninsula.

Average and median home prices increased for single-family homes, but not for town homes and condos.

Closed sales of singlefamily homes went from 993 in 2011 to 1,150 in 2012, a jump of 15.8 percent. Days on the market decreased from 80 to 64, a decrease of 20 percent. The median sales price went from $122,000 to $137,000, an increase of 12.3 percent. The average sales price went from $195,802 to $212,879, an increase of 8.7 percent.

Eggermont said sales are “normalizing.”    “We’ve cleared out some of the lower-end foreclosures,” he said. “More sales going through are the normal sales. You even see the new construction picking up.”

Townhouses and condos are seeing different figures. Closed sales went from 257 in 2011 to 312 in 2012, a jump of 21.4 percent. Days on the market decreased from 147 to 104, down 29.3 percent. But prices also decreased. Year-todate, the median sales price went from $140,000 to $128,200, down 8.4 percent. The average sale price went from $221,226 to $199,627, down 9.8 percent.    Quantity of sales trumped quality in this case, Eggermont said.

“The townhouse-condo market tends to lean on seasonal residents,” Eggermont said. “They don’t tend to be around as long, but the number of sales are still up. They showed a better confidence in the market due to the advantageous prices.”

“We’re working with more customers than we normally would in the fall,” said Pat Bieneman, president elect of the Englewood Area Board of Realtors and a Realtor with Coldwall Banker. “Fall tends to be very quiet.”

One of the challenges in the current market is getting listings, “and that’s what’s on everybody’s mind,” Bieneman said. “But a lot of folks who want to sell, they’re underwater and they don’t want to go where they need to go. That would be short sale, because they don’t want to ruin their credit. You’ve got a lot of folks holding right now for that reason.”

Three homes valued at over $1 million sold in October 2012 compared to none in October 2011, according to Bieneman. There are 25 homes that sold for over $1 million in 2012 compared to six in 2011.

“This is a 316 percent increase and that’s significant,” Bieneman said.

One consensus among the Realtors interviewed is there are fewer foreclosures. Massive financial regulation has taken place since the housing crisis and more stringent loan practices from banks were the result. Now new owners are more vigilant when it comes to purchasing new homes using more traditional means, Realtors said.

As always, cash is king.

“We’re probably looking at anywhere from 60 to 70 percent of what’s being sold currently in our area as cash sales,” said Christi Phelps, vice president of Corin Bay Realty in Englewood and member of the Englewood Area Board of Realtors. “Banks are out of those transactions completely.”

Kristen Conti of Golf Breeze Realty in Port Charlotte and a member of the Englewood Area Board of Realtors said she suspects retirees are opting for lower-priced properties with the uncertainty of the economy in mind.

“New short sales rules that came forward Nov. 1 will mean more people will be eligible for short sales than ever before, causing many who were on the fence to put their properties on the market,” Conti said.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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