Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Marketing Puffery About Median Sales Prices

More and more Sarasota real estate agents and brokers are getting their hands on data showing median sales prices in Sarasota may be starting to stabilize and even slightly increase, and writing blogs about it.  Since I am a bit of a contrarian, these types of blogs bug the you know what out of me.

Blogging about a strengthening Sarasota real estate market might be a great enticement to get people to list their homes for sale, thinking the worst is behind us.  All indications, in my opinion, show we have another year or so before we are out of the woods.

Overall median sales prices are a function of half of homes sold above or below a certain number.  But it doesn't take into account values in individual neighborhoods or subdivisions.  For example, in 2009 and 2010 we were flooded with bank foreclosures, the great majority under $100,000.  The luxury market was hit hard during those years, with properties above $400,000 being sold at deep discounts with a long market time.

Sarasota has traditionally had a higher median price than Tampa or Ft. Myers. Does that mean our real estate market is "healthier", just because we have had a higher ratio of luxury home sales?  I don't think so.

As foreclosures are taken out of the market, buyers are forced up in price into other subdivisions or neighborhoods that may not have had much or any activity while their lower priced competition accounted for the bulk of sales.  But it may have another effect.

Real estate brokerages and agents can write about how our median sales prices are rebounding until they're blue in the face, but the fact remains that buyer psychology remains solidly focused on getting the very best value.  I have seen some buyers resist paying more in Sarasota by moving their attention to other markets like Ft Myers, Orlando, or Tampa.

In my opinion, scaring buyers away by trumpeting price increases in our real estate market is not a good idea.  I also believe it is misleading to sellers, by "buying" their listing with the hope of an increased selling price.

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