Keeping it Real: April

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Price not a factor scaring-off buyers here

By Natalie Gutwein

Every month when I sit down to compile this article and sift through the latest month’s statistics, I find it intriguing. I love analyzing the numbers and comparing them to what I see day-to-day selling real estate on the island.

This year has been as unpredictable as this horrible weather, and I’m looking forward to things settling down both in terms of the climate and our market.
The last time I reported on the state of the market back in February it seemed like, all of a sudden, the snowbirds had descended upon our island. Traffic was backed up everywhere, and the line at my favorite coffee shop Mojo Risin’ had doubled. And that’s OK. When you buy a house on a tropical island, that’s what you’re signing up for. I’m just noting, it’s that time of year.
However, there have been some shifts since my last report. As a team, we are doing great. We have 18 active listings, 10 pending properties totaling over $28 million, and have closed over $13 million. But I’ve seen some changes.
Admittedly, showings have experienced a noticeable deceleration, yet open houses are more popular than ever. The recently remodeled or homes that possess an innate charm, located in good locations, that are priced correctly are still going under contract quickly. Conversely, homes with major objections or challenges seem to be lingering on the market.
Examining the 12 homes sold in February, a striking case study emerges and seems to support my theory about why some homes are selling faster than others.
Take, for instance, 1020 Glebe Ln. It was originally listed on May 12, 2023 for $1.05 million and closed after enduring 180 days on the market at $825,000. The home, built in 1975, is a four-bedroom, two-bath, 1,648-square-foot property in dire need of a renovation and is not on a waterfront lot.
Contrastingly, consider 825 Tropical Circle — an embodiment of opulence. This 2010-built masterpiece boasts four bedrooms, four full and two half baths, sprawls across 6,000 square feet, and includes a three-car garage. The home sold in two days for the list price, $6.995 million. Positioned on one of Siesta Key’s prime lots, offering a front-row seat to passing boats from the hot tub, this home exemplifies the allure of exclusivity.
A notable trend surfacing this year is the surge in homes sold above the $6 million mark. In 2023, there were only four homes sold in this prestigious bracket. However, the first 68 days of 2024 witnessed six such transactions and I’m proud to report we represented the buyers on one!
As we navigate the waves of the real estate market, it’s evident that adaptability and strategic positioning remain key to weathering the changing tides. Election years are always tough on the real estate market. On top of that, hordes of Americans are sitting in their armchairs in anxious anticipation of Jerome Powell’s every move. Will interest rates come down this year?
In a recent discussion with my insightful nephew, a thought-provoking theory emerged. Could our slightly slower-than-usual season be linked to the aftermath of the COVID-19 years? Considering that, for a significant period, Florida was the go-to destination for those seeking a sense of freedom during the pandemic, it’s possible that people are now exploring other places they couldn’t visit for years.
Regardless of these considerations, my confidence in the market remains steady. We’re always selling sunshine and that will always be Florida’s timeless treasure.
Stay sunny, Siesta!

(Natalie Gutwein is a licensed Realtor with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Judie Berger Team and a member of the board of directors of the Siesta Key Association.)
(Data accurate as of March 11 from Stellar MLS.)

Natalie Gutwein
Author: Natalie Gutwein

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