The current Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota real estate markets continue to see healthy demand for housing, which has caused the median sales price for single family homes in Sarasota County to hit a record high of $537.5K earlier this year, even though the number of closed sales has actually decreased year-over-year by roughly 15%. Buyers have become more discerning and sellers are now more realistic and aggressive in their pricing, especially if work needs to be completed in their home. We are also seeing where current housing inventory levels are continuing to slowly rise back to more normal levels, a sign that the market is in the process of transitioning back to a more balanced and healthy market.
In the new construction market, builders are back to offering pre-Covid sales incentives, such as $10K towards closing costs or healthy incentives towards a pool package. The majority of our area’s builders have also ceased their “highest and best” bidding process in exchange for the traditional “first come, first served” process of which buyers are delighted to see. Although supply chain issues are still causing some minor delays and ruckuses here and there, it’s not nearly as bad as it was a year ago.
Lakewood Ranch Market Outlook
My outlook for the Sarasota / Manatee housing market for early 2024 is a continuation of the same persistent demand derived from retirees relocating to our region, families seeking our top-ranked schools as well as work-from-home lifestyle changes. However, with the now higher rates and general increase in the cost of living across the board, we will likely continue to see more and more buyers priced out of our market, allowing inventory levels to continue rising over time. I also expect to only see the realistically-priced and well-marketed listings continue to sell, in addition to continued strong interest from all-cash and heavy-cash buyers.
Market Trends I'm Observing
- Demand for 2nd homes by baby boomers as they reach retirement age and fulfill their Florida retirement dreams.
- A greater number of younger families moving to Florida and seeking out good school districts and communities with built-in social opportunities.
- A strong preference by buyers for amenity-rich communities offering social activities.
- Real estate investors are seeking more longer-term rental opportunities vs the traditional "quick-flip" opportunities.
My Relocation Advice
Start your home search now, even if you’re not planning on moving to Lakewood Ranch / Sarasota for another year or two. This will give you the needed time to thoroughly research an area and to set realistic expectations for the home you can afford, including the timeline it will take to either purchase, renovate, or build the new home. Also, make sure to connect with a licensed Realtor who can assist you in your search. Leverage their local market knowledge and proven experience in working new constructions deals and in crafting offers in this intricate market. The current Lakewood Ranch real estate market is extremely competitive as we are a top-selling community in the entire nation and working with a true professional will only save you time, energy and headaches.