Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sarasota-Bradenton A Bright Spot In The Nation For Home Sales In March


Sarasota-Bradenton’s housing market was bright spot in a bleak national landscape during March. The market was the only one among the state’s 20 largest metropolitan areas besides Panama City to post an increase in sales. Sarasota-Bradenton’s increase was 16 percent while Panama City’s was up 28 percent. The median sales price was down 9 percent at $291,500, but there was some good news in even that. The price was actually higher than during the last several months even though it was lower than March 2006.

Charlotte County-North Port’s sales dropped 25 percent during March while its median sales price was $193,000, a decline of 14 percent.

The national backdrop of the region’s March performance was that sales of existing homes dropped by the largest amount in nearly two decades, reflecting bad weather and increasing problems in the subprime mortgage market, the National Association of Realtors reported. Sales of existing homes fell by 8.4 percent in March, compared with February. It was the biggest one-month decline since a 12.6 percent drop in January 1989, another period of recession conditions in housing. The drop left sales in March at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.12 million units, the slowest pace since June 2003. The steep sales decline was accompanied by an eighth straight fall in median home prices, the longest such period of falling prices on record. The median price fell to $217,000, a drop of 0.3 percent from the price a year ago.

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