According to the National Association of Realtors, new contracts signed for home sales rose 1.5% last month to the highest level in nearly three years. The trade group’s Pending Home Sales Index rose to 105.7 in March, up from the previous month’s 104.1 and exceeding analysts’ expectations. Compared to a year earlier, the index was up 7% last month, marking the 23rd straight month of year-over-year increases. New contracts for home sales last month increased the most–2.7 percent–in Southern states. The index was another indication of improvement in the housing market. The group expects existing home sales to rise to nearly 5 million sales this year, an increase of about 6.5-7 % over 2012. The median price for existing home sales is expected to rise about 7.5%.
On a local level, tourism set another Manatee County tax collection record in March 2013, which marked the 23rd month out of the past 24 that resort tax collections by the Manatee Co. Tax Collector’s Office exceeded the same month’s collections the previous year. The resort tax collections division reported $1.492 million was collected in March 2013, a 12.06% climb from the $1.344 million in March 2012. March collections also brought the year-to-date resort tax collected to $5.040 million, an 11% hike from the $4.537 million collected during the first six months of the 2011-12 fiscal year. Holmes Beach leads the way in bed tax collections with $391,239, followed by Longboat Key with $244,744, Anna Maria at $181,562 and Bradenton Beach with $147,611.
Island wide, real estate SALES are up 57% over the last 12 months, totaling 420 through the end of April, up from 363 a year ago. Both island and off-island real estate is moving into a Sellers’ advantage, with multiple offers reported coming in on properties that are priced right and that have all of the desirable ingredients Buyers are looking for. I recently showed a property off-island, in Wisteria Park, and when we walked in the door, we were told there was already one offer made and two more coming. It had only been listed five days!
Currently, island inventory is down, with only 45 properties on the market in Anna Maria and 12 pending and due to close. In Holmes Beach, the total inventory (condos and single family homes combined) is 165, with 35 pending and due to close, and in Bradenton Beach, the total inventory is at 13, with nine pending and due to close.