Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Focus On: Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch real estate represents an illustrative microcosm of what is happening in our local real estate market.

I took a look at all sales (single family and condo) for Lakewood Ranch year to date, and compared with the same period last year.  Here are the results:

Year     #Units Sold     Median Sales Price   LP/SP Ratio    Days to Close    Sold $/Sq Ft
2012            213                 $265,000                     96%                  189                 $130.06
2011            279                 $260,000                     96%                  149                 $124.28

Clearly, the real estate market in Lakewood Ranch is recovering nicely.  The lower number of units sold is a result of fewer foreclosure properties on the market, while the increased days to close in 2012 is an indication of more short sales.  For buyers interested in Lakewood Ranch real estate, now is the time to get in the market.

While this information is key for buyers and home sellers alike, there's more involved in Lakewood Ranch real estate than just sold data.  Major changes in online search for Lakewood Ranch real estate are taking place for several popular Lakewood Ranch keywords on Google.

According to Google Analytics, my website,, ranks #1 in terms of online effectiveness of people seeing search results.  Here's a quick synopsis for June 1 through July 24th, 2012:

Keyword                                        Website                                        Impression Share         Rank
lakewood ranch real estate                             17%                             1
                                                           15%                             2
                                                                                            11%                             3

homes lakewood ranch fl                               46%                             1
                                                                                  43%                             2
                                                                        30%                             3

Do you notice any major names missing from this list?  There's lots more keywords and lots more examples available upon request.

For home sellers, being the largest broker does not translate into being the best source of online information for home buyers.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Focus on: Anna Maria Island

If real estate on Anna Maria Island hasn't been on your short list of places to search, you're missing out!

Compared with Siesta Key and Longboat Key, Anna Maria is relatively unknown but no less of a desirable destination for vacationers, seasonal, or full time residents.

Real estate on Anna Maria is diverse, ranging from affordable condos under $200,000 (and selling fast), to multi-million dollar beachfront homes.  Rather than bore you with statistics, it may help your decision-making process to learn that property on Anna Maria is generally priced lower than Longboat Key or Siesta Key.  One major difference is that Anna Maria does not have a wall of high-rise beachfront condos, and has more of a laid-back atmosphere.  There's plenty of quirky bars, restaurants, shops and attractions to satisfy most.

Anna Maria real estate seems dominated by three or four local brokerages.  I recently received a report from Google, which showed that my website ranked highest among the most popular search keywords for Anna Maria real estate.  Home buyers from all over the world recognize my site for providing quality information.  Home sellers will get huge exposure to out of town and international clientele by listing their Anna Maria property with me.

Investing in Sarasota: An Update from the Field

More and more Canadian real estate investors are finding my website,, and the advice I provide there, a valuable source of information before their visit to view properties in my service area of Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte Counties.

A recent buyer presented an illustrative example of what is currently happening in the real estate market, particularly for condos at the entry level price points under $100,000.

Six months to a year ago, the choice for condos under $100,000 was quite easy.  Pick the newest ones that needed no work, and a long-distance buyer had an investment property ready to go for a tenant.  Today, the landscape has changed.  Those newer condo communities now have a dwindling inventory of units for sale, and those prices are increasing.  Combine this with a growing inventory of units for rent, and the previously obvious condo choices no longer make sense for many investors.

What remains for condo buyers looking at entry-level price points are older condos that have roughly the same fixed costs (condo association dues and taxes) with lower rental rates.  The cost drivers such as basic cable, insurance, and grounds maintenance, do not get lower with older condos.

After showing this recent buyer these exact options, my suggestion was to increase the purchase point of entry into the market by looking at single family homes without the cash flow drain of monthly association dues.

Single family homes are in high rental demand, and a single family home close to the beaches and downtown Sarasota makes a lot of sense when calculating cash flow and factoring future appreciation into the investment equation.