Hurricane Ian Creates Unique Market in SW Fla.
Ian hit SW Fla. last year, and Realtors say many current listings still have outstanding insurance claims. Even if a cash sale, those must be settled before closing.
VENICE, Fla. – Although inventory is higher and sales have slowed, there is still strong buyer interest in the Charlotte and Sarasota markets, according to local Realtors.
“There is still an influx of capital,” said Danny Nix, president of the Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port-DeSoto Realtors Association. “People want to come here. We are the jewel of Southwest Florida.”
As predicted by various pundits, the real estate market came off its peak and began to stabilize by the third quarter of 2022.
Then Hurricane Ian hit.
“We still have a lot of houses for sale with open insurance claims,” Nix said. The problem is, even if a person is a cash buyer, in a number of cases the person won’t receive the free title until all is settled.
Nix said if a buyer isn’t paying cash and financing the property, they then “might have to get flood insurance,” he said. “Can I get insurance, find it and afford it?” he said are questions buyers are considering.
Nix said financing is “extremely difficult” to get right now. He mainly deals in commercial properties and is watching how lenders are not yet comfortable about granting loans and mortgages.
“There are a lot of positives that are going to help,” Nix said. He cited legislation to make lenders more comfortable about loaning money.
That being said, the Charlotte County housing market in March had 50% more sales than in February, and the same held true in Sarasota County.
Although down from a year ago, closed sales of single-family homes in March nearly doubled the number of dwellings sold the previous month, and the median sale price was higher, too.
In March, $390,300 was the median sale price versus $370,00 in February, and 0.3% higher than in March 2022. Meanwhile, inventory ticked up to a 4-month supply from 3.5 months in February. This reflects a 263.6% increase from March 2022.
Townhomes and condos showed a similar trend. Sales were also up from February, and the median sale price of $382,798 was higher than February’s $326,999 and up 17.9% from March 2022. Again, inventory ticked up to a 4.1-month supply from 3.4 months in February. March was up 485.7% from March 2022.
“Across all markets in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton MSA, total home sales for both single-family homes and condos increased by 50% from February 2023,” said Brian Tresidder, president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.
Like Charlotte County, there were more sales in March than in February, with a 49.9% increase from February.
Inventory also continued to increase in Sarasota County which had a 3.1-month supply for single-family homes and a 3.3-month supply for condos, which translated into increases of 287.5% and 450% respectively.
“The market here continues to grow and prices continue to hold steady,” said Jim Mulvey, president of the Venice Area Board of Realtors. “Demand is up, and cash deals are occurring more frequently,” he said. He noted about 1,100 people are still moving to Florida every day, adding the figure was the “net” after calculating how many Floridians are leaving.
When asked whether insurance claims would hold up transactions, Mulvey said, “buyers and sellers can negotiate.” He said Venice did not suffer the extent of damages communities and neighborhoods did further south, which also helped the Venice market.
Single-family homes’ median sale price was up 11.9% from March 2022. At $590,786, this was also an increase from February’s $537,677.
There were 108 cash buyers in March, up 66 from the previous month, and also up from March 2022 when 93 were cash buyers.
Townhomes and condos in Venice also had more cash buyers in March than in February and in March 2022. The median sale price of $350,000 was down from February’s $380,000, but up 5.7% from March 2022.
Inventory was higher from the previous month as well, with single family homes showing a 4-month supply; 3.3 months for townhomes and condos which reflect 344.4% and 560% increases, respectively.
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