Are You Familiar With the Term Universal Design & How It May Affect Your Future Housing Plans

July 1, 2015

Universal Design kitchen and bath A few years ago, an new interior design concept was introduced known as “barrier-free.”  Not much was written about it until the term “Universal Design” or “UD” for short, was coined by Ronald Mace, founder and former program director of the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University. 

Mace collaborated with a group of architects, product designers, engineers and interior and environmental designers to develop what became known as the “Seven Principles of Universal Design.”   He defined UD as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people with and without disabilities.”

Others refer to to UD as a broad-spectrum of ideas and design approaches that to takes into account the full range of human diversity, including physical, perceptual and cognitive abilities, as well as different body sizes and shapes.  The goal is to produce buildings, homes, products and environments that are inherently safer, more accessible and easier and more convenient to use by all people.

Demographic trends show that the U.S. population is clearly aging.  Locally, in Sarasota Florida for example, already today, 1 out of every 2 homes is the residence of people over the age of 65.

Universal design responds to the growing interest by people to remain in their current homes rather than leaving the home they love and spending $35,000 to $65,000 or more per year to live in an “assisted living” facility.  By integrating a few thousand dollars of universal design concepts and facilities into their home when it is built or via remodeling, a home can remain fully useful for its residents for a much longer time delaying the need to leave it. This housing trend is now referred to as “aging in place.”

Relatively simple and inexpensive changes like replacing door knobs with levers, installing support bars next to the toilet and including seats and hand-held shower heads  in showers can make a bathroom much more convenient and safer to use.

In the kitchen, replacing carpets with hardwood or non-slip tile floors, cabinets with pull-out shelves, and appliances and counters set at different heights so they can be used by people of different heights and postures, with or without a walker can be very helpful.

In more significant renovations, but certainly in new construction homes, making all hallways at least 42” wide and all doorways at least 36” wide to accommodate wheel chairs can dramatically improve a person’s ability to conveniently move about the home.  Building homes with very open floorplans and without stairs and placing fixtures and furnishings in such a way that they can be easily moved or removed in the future are other useful UD concepts.  Replacing sliding glass doors which are difficult to open and close from a wheelchair with doors that open automatically or with just the touch of a button is another effective UD design concept.

Some builders are even incorporating elevator pits and structural reinforcements to accomodate an elevator and extra plumbing behind bathroom walls to accomodate a walk-in tub at some point in the future if needed.  One local builder pointed out that “you’d never know these features exist in the home unless you looked at the original engineering  plans.”

“When universal design is done well, it doesn’t impede anyone from being able to function and aesthetics are another important facet of UD,” says Wanda Gozdz, president of Golden Age Living and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers.  “The goal, she says, “is to create a safe, useful and appealing environment that doesn’t look institutional.”

While not all builders agree with the appeal of universal design, some, like Josh Wynne of Josh Wynne Construction, calls UD one more facet of building a “sustainable” home.  “The majority of my clients,” he says, “intend to stay in the home they buy for a good long while.  As such, we use many Universal Design concepts in just about all our homes including elevators, flush doors, floor transitions, wider hallways (42 inches or more), 36-inch interior doors, roll-in showers, grab rails in the showers and at least one wheelchair-accessible bathroom.”

Here in the Sarasota Florida real estate market, builders and remodeling firms are rapidly becoming more and more interested and informed about universal design.  Just this month, the “Universal Design Coalition” held a forum at the offices of the Realtors Association of Manatee & Sarasota where expert panelists like John King of Rampart Homes, Greg Hall of Hall Architects,  Kathleen Houseweart, a Geriatrics Manager at SMH Healthcare System and  Tracy Lux of  Trace Marketing took part in a wide ranging discussion of UD concepts led by moderator, Harold Bubil of the Sarasota Herald Tribune.  Wanda Gozdz, president of Golden Age Living and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers was the guest speaker.

So, whether you are considering building a new home or remodeling your existing home or condo, there are now well-informed people here in the Sarasota area to help you cost-effectively make your home or condo safer, easier to use and more convenient as you move along in years.

As an experienced Sarasota Accredited Buyer Representative with Keller Williams,  I  have the knowledge, experience and expertise to assure that together we can find that one Sarasota home or condo that will meet your needs and desires perfectly both today and in the future.  

I’d also be pleased to give you a Free Sarasota MLS Access Account which will give you  24/7 access to all Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton MLS listings just as if you were a Realtor. For immediate answers to your questions about Sarasota Florida real estate, call me at 941.228.2321.

SanSara – One of Sarasota’s Newest Luxury Condo Towers

May 31, 2015

sansaraSanSara, one of the newest of the several Sarasota luxury condominium towers being developed is located at 300 South Pineapple Avenue in downtown Sarasota at the gateway to the historic Burns Court neighborhood.  Burns Court is a unique and exclusive downtown Sarasota neighborhood dating back to the 1920’s.  SanSara is being developed by MK Equity Corporation of Chicago.

SanSara, according to Mr Kihnke, president of MK Equity Corp,  “consists of 17 luxury condominium units for those who seek a sophisticated living experience in a boutique residence within a comfortable walking distance of Sarasota’s attractive shopping, dining and entertainment venues.”

The design of this sleek 10-story building with Asian Zen-inspired architectural elements represents, in the opinion of the developer, a fresh and unique new approach to Sarasota luxury condominium development.  “The philosophy behind the design centers around the desire to create a peaceful refuge with a sense of tranquility and balance harmonized with the vibrancy of the urban city lifestyle,” said Mr Kihnke.

The tenth floor of Sansara will feature a penthouse with over 6,400 square feet of living space, 12 foot ceilings and its own Feng Shui sky deck.  The remaining 16 luxury condos will be beautifully finished with 10 foot ceilings, 3 or 4 bedrooms and 3 baths. These units will range in size from 2,675 to just over 3,200 square feet.  Each unit will have a unique glass-wall system that opens the entire unit to its bayview deck.  State-of-the-art appointments, European-styled cabinetry and top-of-the-line appliances will be provided in all of the residences.

The unique shared amenities deck on the second floor will consist of a fitness center, a large outdoor seating area with a pool,  cabanas and a fire pit and a custom designed spa along with an outdoor grilling, bar and dining area . Following Zen principles, this common area will balance the flow of energy by utilizing natural elements in proper alignment and the use of rich woods, beautiful bamboo, water features, natural stone, and a thoughtful selection of native plants.

While the foundation permit has just recently been issued and move-in availability is not planned until the Spring of 2016, several SanSara units, with pre-construction prices starting at about $1.5 million, have already been sold.

If you are considering purchasing a Downtown Sarasota luxury condo now or at some point in the next year, I would be delighted to introduce you to the Downtown Sarasota lifestyle and all of the several new Sarasota luxury condos now under construction including SanSara as well as One88, Aqua, the Vue and The Jewel in downtown Sarasota as well as the Infinity and Aria developments out on beautiful Longboat Key.  Contact Me on my website or call me at your convenience at 941.228.2321.

 

Lakewood Ranch Swim & Fitness Club Expanding”

April 30, 2015

Lakewood ranch swim clubThe Lakewood Ranch Swim & Fitness Club at 8256 Legacy Blvd. across from Legacy Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch’s Country Club community can look forward to more space and new fitness equipment in about a year. The club is awaiting final site-plan and building-permit approvals from Manatee County Building and Development Services. Once their plans are approved, the Club will add over 5,800 more square feet of space to the building about doubling the size of the current premises.

Paul Lederman, director of fitness club operations and tennis said, “The project is necessary to meet growing demand from our members. We’ll stay open during the process which will take about 9 months.”  “We’ll be adding more aerobics rooms and a tremendous amount of new equipment, plus an outside bathroom so swimmers don’t have to enter the fitness area to use the bathroom.” he added.

The Lakewood Ranch Swim and Fitness Club is open daily and  houses Cybex cardio and strength-training machines, two aerobics studios, a swimming pool with a children’s area and an eight-lap Junior Olympic pool and a playground behind the center. Besides facilities for individual workouts, the athletic center offers studio classes ranging from power Zumba to Vinyasa yoga, cycle surge, karate, beginners tai chi, and several types of Pilates, as well as massages.

The Lakewood Ranch Swim and Fitness Club is yet another of the many reasons Lakewood Ranch remains among the top 10 master planned communities in America. People from all over the country and, in fact, the world, continue to come to Lakewood Ranch to find the quality of life they seek for their families.  Regardless of your age or income, there’s a place for you in Lakewood Ranch.

As a resident of Lakewood Ranch myself, I would be delighted to show you the collection of ten “villages” each with its own set of amenities, price points and charm, that make up Lakewood Ranch.  I invite you to visit my Sarasota Florida real estate website to learn more about Lakewood Ranch. Or, for immediate answers to your questions, call me at 941.228.2321.

 

Coastal Living Magazine Names Sarasota Its “Dream Town”

April 2, 2015

Sarasota Florida lifestylesLess than a month after TripAdvisor.com named Siesta Key home to the “#1 Beach in the United States,” Sarasota Florida again gained national prominence again in March with an impressive recognition from Coastal Living Magazine.

The lifestyle and travel magazine chose Sarasota as the featured “Dream Town” for March, citing its gorgeous beaches, its varied architecture, arts and culture, demographics and restaurants of all sorts.  “Cultured, creative, and cool; this white sand–blessed Florida town is ready for prime time,” wrote Coastal Living Travel Editor Tracey Minkin.

At one time just a favorite destination of tarpon fishermen and retirees, Sarasota and its neighboring towns of Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton have in the past decade begun drawing a younger crowd to its palm tree lined downtown neighborhoods and golf course communities.  “Younger people are following their parents here,” says Amy Nichols, co-owner of the popular Perq Coffee Bar in Southside Village. “And,”  she adds, “that  influx has given Sarasota a vibrancy that’s made the city more cosmopolitan, friendly and just plain more fun.

The magazine article pointed out that Sarasota shopping districts hum with everything from artisan chocolates to black-tie boutiques. As evening approaches the broad sidewalks in Downtown Sarasota are taken over by rattan sofas setting the tone for an alfresco nightlife that  is now both more relaxed and informal.

In previous articles, Coastal Living has recognized St. Armands Circle as a pedestrian-friendly shopping and dining mecca offering “a round-about of more than 130 boutiques and restaurants with tropical plants, swaying palms and paths leading to stores filled with rare jewelry, designer clothing, and gourmet treats.

Another recent  Coastal Living article extolled the wealth of fine dining spots in and around Sarasota including the Columbia Restaurant at St Armands Circle, Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, The Colony Dining Room and Euphemia Haye on Longboat key, and the Daiquiri Deck on Siesta Key.  The current article highlights places like Indigenous at 239 South Links Ave, Selva at 1345 Main St, Owen’s Fish Camp in the heart of Burns Court, and Shore Diner at 465 Ringling Blvd. as great places to eat.

Sarasota is also home to a huge bounty of performing arts from the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and Asolo Theatre to the many smaller performing arts venues.   Sarasota is also home to the artistic legacy of one of its most colorful early residents: circus impresario John Ringling and his wife Mabel whose former estate contains two world-class museums, the Ringling Museum of Art and the Ringling Circus Museum as well the Ringling’s Venetian Gothic mansion, Ca’d’Zan.

“Sarasota is a hidden gem that’s now on the map,” says financial advisor, Michael Matash.  “With an average home price of around $400,000, it’s also still affordable and,” he adds, “we also have the best beaches in the world.”

In summary Coastal Living says “The remarkable reality and surprise of Sarasota is the pairing of a thriving arts and culture scene with world-class beaches:  a combination that’s made all the sweeter now by the local, laid-back Gulf vibe.”

If Sarasota sounds like the kind of town you want to live, work and play in, contact me today or call me at 941-228-2321. I would be delighted to introduce you to fine homes and condominiums here on the Florida Sun Coast Paradise that is Sarasota Florida.

Introducing The Lake Club in Lakewood Ranch

January 29, 2015

lakewood-ranch-lake-club3 If you are seeking a custom home in a truly distinctive neighborhood, you should certainly let me give you a tour of the The Lake Club within the Lakewood Ranch master planned community located between the cities of Sarasota and Bradenton Florida and close to all the arts, cultural, entertainment and sporting venues of both cities.

Situated on hundreds of acres of scenic lakes and quiet, winding streets, all of the custom-built homes in The Lake Club occupy lots of one-half to one-and-a-half acres with views of serene waters or nature preserves.   Choosing from custom builders exclusively, including London Bay, Arthur Rutenberg, Nelson Homes, John Cannon and Todd Johnston, those interested in a new or resale elegant custom home can select a home in a variety of architectural styles including French Country, Mediterranean, West Indies and English Manor ranging in size from about 2,800 to over 14,000 square feet.

All homes in The Lake Club are custom-built to suit each buyer with each builder offering its own unique approach to providing buyers with exactly the features and amenities they desire.  The average home in this community sells for about $1.5 million although there are new and resale homes ranging up to over $5 million.  Those currently on the market range from $1.1 to $4.4 million.

For those who appreciate the elegant, yet casual, lifestyle offered here but want to downsize or simplify their lives at this point, there is also a maintenance-free section called The Villas at Matera where London Bay offers single-family homes ranging from the mid $600’s to the mid $900’s.  In another neighborhood called The Vineyards, Arthur Rutenberg and John Cannon offer homes priced from $600’s and up.   Like all of Lakewood Ranch, all homes in The Lake Club are “green certified” and meet standards for energy efficiency, clean indoor air and drought-resistant landscaping.

The elegant Tuscan-inspired Grande Clubhouse has two resort-style swimming pools, a day spa, a state-of-the art fitness center, steam and sauna rooms, 18 lighted tennis courts, locker rooms, an elegant ballroom for special private and community events, card rooms and a pool room.

Although The Lake Club is not a golf community, it is within easy driving distance of five championship courses, including the 54-hole private Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club and the public 18-hole course at The Legacy Golf Club.  The Sarasota Polo Club is just five minutes away. The community also includes a mile-long, linear park and interconnected trails for those who like to jog or walk. And, from your home in The Lake Club, it is just a short drive to some of the best beaches in Florida, and perhaps arguably the world, including Siesta Beach which has been rated the “Top Beach in America” several times.

Residents also can take advantage of all the amenities Lakewood Ranch offers including the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and “Main Street,” a first-class area of shopping dining and entertainment plus an almost constant flow of events like “First Friday Music on Main” and seasonal events like the Farmers Market.

The residents at The Lake Club are an international ensemble of retired corporate managers and executives and other professionals who appreciate the unique lifestyle offered here.

If you might be interested in a new or resale custom home in The Lake Club, Contact Me on my Sarasota Florida real estate website or for an immediate response to your questions call me at 941.228.2321

Upcoming Sarasota Arts & Theater Events

December 29, 2014

Whether you are an avid art collector, feel the need for another piece of art for your own home or just enjoy viewing incredible works of art, there are events coming up in Downtown Sarasota in the next two months that deserve your attention.

WinterArtFest First, the 3rd Annual Sarasota Winter Fine Art Festival will be presented on Gulfstream Ave. in Downtown Sarasota from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on January 17th and 18th, 2015.

Gulfstream Avenue will come alive as an enormous outdoor gallery of original hand made fine art creations in oil painting, water colors, sculpting, jewelry, photography, glass, and ceramics. The creators of the works presented will be available all during the festival for you to meet and converse with or to commission a unique piece of art to be made specifically for you.

Bring your sense of discovery and appreciation because you will be confronted with the beautiful creations, the fruits of the efforts of more than 50 very talented artists who work in all sorts of different media.   There will also be a repeat of the Sarasota Fine Art Festival on March 14th and 15th

Then, if you won’t have the opportunity to enjoy the Sarasota Fine Art Festival in January, make plans now to attend the 27th annual Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on February 14th and 15th. Consistently ranked one of the top 100 Fine Art Shows by Sunshine Artist Magazine, the Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts is one of the area’s biggest and best art events. Some of the best artists in the nation will be displaying life-size sculptures, spectacular paintings, one-of-a-kind jewelry, photography and more on Main Street at North Orange Avenue and flowing east to Links Avenue.

There will also be another Sarasota Fine Art Festival on March 14th and 15th if you miss this one. Admission and parking at all of these events, as is usually the case at festivals in our warm and sunny city, will be free.

Buddy-Holly If you are more interested in theater events you won’t want to miss the area premiere of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,” which opens on  January 6th and runs through January 25th at the Venice Theater.  The musical play tells of Buddy Holly’s meteoric rise to stardom until his tragic death in a plane crash less than two years later in 1959.  Other Buddy Holley hits from the 50’s that will be featured in the performance include “Peggy Sue,” “Oh Boy,” “Not Fade Away” and “That’ll Be the Day.”

The play also features the other two performers killed in the same plane crash, “La Bamba” singer Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson, Jr., known to his fans as the Big Bopper, whose big hit was “Chantilly Lace.”

These three art and theater events are elements of the Sarasota Florida lifestyle.  There’s virtually always something going on either in downtown Sarasota or in the surrounding communities of Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Osprey and Venice regardless of where your interest lie,  in the arts, theater, sports or boating.  And, they are examples of the reasons why so many people just like you find Sarasota Florida such a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family or to enjoy their retirement years among friendly people in a warm, sunny climate.

I’d be delighted to introduce you to Sarasota Florida including our delightful barrier islands, and the adjoining towns of Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton.  Contact Me here on my website or call me at your convenience at 941.228-2321. I’d be happy to answer all of your questions.

The Lakewood Ranch “Outdoor Market” on Main Street is a Big Success

November 29, 2014
farmers-market

In August, we reported on my Sarasota Florida real estate website that Lakewood Ranch’s “Main Street” would once again be the home of a “Farmer’s Market” on the 4th  Saturday of each month.   At the time, Jennifer MCCafferty, the operator of the market, hoped that it would be successful enough that she would be able to extend the market all the way through May, 2015.  But because it had been 3 years since the last attempt, Lakewood Ranch officials wanted to gauge to public’s reaction before committing to the project through May, 2015.

Even though traffic was a bit slow in October, it picked up dramatically in November so Lakewood Ranch has given the go-ahead to extend it through May, 2015.  At the most recent event on Nov 22nd, the “market” included 48 vendors up dramatically from September when only 20 vendors took part.  Making it even a larger event, merchants along Main Street have set up tables along the street to direct attendees into their stores.

Fresh produce and other locally grown foods are available at the market at 8100 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.  Vendors sell everything from fresh produce, wild-caught seafood, spices and sauces to organic products, arts and crafts, beverages and snacks.  McCafferty had said  back in August, “We call ourselves an “outdoor market” rather than a “farmer’s market” because while we anchor it with produce and vegetables, we also have arts and crafts and even some beverages and fresh cooked foods.”

“We’ve had a lot of positive response from the community and Main Street merchants,too” said McCafferty, the market’s manager and owner of Jen’s MarketPlace.  In addition to this market, McCafferty manages two other markets in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.   For now, the last market date is scheduled for Saturday, May 23,    McCafferty hopes to continue this event in future years in the September through May timeframe each year.

“Main Street,” Lakewood Ranch, now with the addition of the “outdoor market” continues to be just one more reason people why who live in Lakewood Ranch find it such an appealing place to live.

If you have been considering investing in a home in Sarasota, Bradenton,  out on our popular barrier islands, Longboat, Lido and Siesta Key, or in Lakewood Ranch,  I invite you to learn more about the wide variety of homes, condos and villas for sale in all price ranges here.  I’d be pleased to give you a <a href=”http://www.sarasotarealestatenow.com/registration/&#8221; target=”_new”>Free MLS Access Account</a> which will give you
you 24/7 access to all Sarasota MLS data just as though you were a Realtor. For a more immediate response, call me now at 941-228-2321.  I’d be delighted to help make your home finding process an enjoyable and successful experience.

Sarasota Home & Condo Sales Remain Strong Through the First 9 Months of 2014

November 2, 2014
sarasota florida

sarasota florida

The Sarasota real estate market remained on pace in September to achieve another near record level by the end of 2014.  In September alone, there were 934 closed transactions (688 single-family homes and 246 condos), a level 14% above the September, 2013 level when 817 properties were sold.

Total home and condos sales for the first 9 months of 2014 stand at 8,784, about 200 above the pace at this point last year and last year wound up being the second highest sales year in the history of Sarasota Association of Realtors.   A strong closing quarter this year with sales of 900 or more in each of the last 3 months could push the final 2014 figure near the historic level of the year 2004, when 11,482 closed ,sales were recorded.

Sarasota Association of Realtors® President Peter Crowley reported that “the first three quarters of 2014 ran at a near-historic, positive pace and the reason is obvious.   Sarasota is a unique, incredible place to live, work and play, and the world has discovered that fact !”

Many upscale homes and luxury condos in the Sarasota real estate market are sold in all-cash transactions.  But, mortgage interest rates remaining below 4% and some easing of previously tight lending standards by banks are also contributing to the volume of Sarasota home sales.

Pending sales also remained strong in September with 840 transactions, about the same as August’s rate of 832, and well above the September, 2013 figure of 750.  These pending sales will translate into closed sales in the next couple months.

“I remain confident and encouraged with the numbers we are witnessing,” said President Crowley this month.  “It is a reflection of the incredibly attractive community that we live in,” he added.

The inventory of homes and condos on the market at the end of September stood at 3,666, down about 2% from the August figure of 3,745 and 8% below the level one year ago.  The months-supply-of-inventory statistic for single-family homes stood at just a 4.0 month supply.  For condos, the figure was only a 3.8 month supply.  Since a 6 month supply is the level at which the interests of buyers and sellers are considered to be in balance, these numbers suggest that the Sarasota real estate is moving into what is called a “seller’s market.”

In a seller’s market, property prices have a tendency to rise and the median sale price statistics are showing that to be the case here in Sarasota. When viewing median sale price statistics, the 12 month rolling average tends to smooth out month-to-month fluctuations providing more useful trend data.  The 12-month median sale price for Sarasota area single-family homes now stands at $196,000, 10% above the 2013 level at this point.  For condos, the 12 month rolling average was $180,000, up about 12.5% above this time a year ago.

If you’ve been considering whether this is the year to invest in a Sarasota home or condo,  I would recommend that you seriously consider making that investment this year as Sarasota County home and condo prices are unlikely to go any lower any time soon and are, in fact, much more likely to continue to rise.

Give me the opportunity to help you find that one Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch or Bradenton home or condo that has everything you need and desire, while inventory is still available and prices are still reasonable.  Call me today at 941-228-2321.   I promise to make your Sarasota home hunting a pleasant and rewarding experience.

Outstanding Pool Home Available in Lakewood Ranch Riverwalk Village

September 29, 2014

Hyacinth PlaceThis 2,585 square foot home with a unique and scenic natural preserve area view sits on a quiet cul-de-sac street in the heart of Lakewood Ranch is a home that can stand the toughest comparison. 

Compare the features in this meticulously maintained 4 bedroom, 3 bath pool home at 11018 Hyacinth Place in the Riverwalk village of Lakewood Ranch to others you’ve seen and you’ll understand what I mean.

You will immediately notice the tray ceilings in living room and master bedroom and the crown molding throughout the home. You’ll also notice the elegant 18 inch diagonal tile and the seven ceiling fans.

The open floor plan with the family room directly viewable from the chef’s kitchen makes this perfect home for both watching the kids and for informal entertaining with your friends and neighbors.  And you’ll love the stainless steel appliances, dual wall ovens, granite counters and 42” cherry cabinets with wine rack, and a gas cooktop in the gourmet kitchen.  The kitchen even has a large pantry and a center island for food prep.  Off the warm and inviting kitchen, you’ll enjoy having breakfast overlooking the pool/lanai from the aquarium window.

Off the master bedroom suite, you’ll love the heated double towel rack  double sinks & cabinets, his and her closets and the walk in shower.

The front office/den is very functional with built-in cherry desk/cabinetry and double French doors. The fourth bedroom in the rear of this home will make a great guest suite or in-law/senior living space with its adjoining private bath and exterior door to pool.

You and your family will enjoy the nearby community park, walking/biking trails beautiful lakes and the  top-rated schools in this community.  Lakewood Ranch offers all sorts of special interest clubs from gardening and photography to wine making and computer training along with a continuous flow of free events throughout  the year.  And, the shops, restaurants and playgrounds at Lakewood Ranch “Main Street” are all just a short distance away. Lakewood Ranch even has its own Medical Center — in short, everything you could want or need to enjoy life here on the Florida Sun Coast.

Topping it all off, the seller is providing a 1 year Home Warranty at the listing price of  $424,900.

I would be delighted to show you this home and show you what I mean when I say this unique home will beat the competition for your attention.  To tour this fine Lakewood Ranch home for sale in the Riverwalk village with me, call me at 941.228.2321 and please mention MLS # M5846667

Two Real Estate Outlooks – Sarasota and Nationwide. Why So Different ?

August 28, 2014

  downtown-sarasota-view

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced this week that existing home sales climbed nationwide by 2.4% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.15 million. On the bright side, the pressures that caused home sales to stall last year may have started to ease. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped back to 4.1% and home prices are no longer rising at double-digit annual rates.

   Unfortunately, all the positive headlines aside, the outlook for housing nationwide has some substantial weaknesses. Viewed regionally, July home sales in the Northeast were flat. Midwestern home sales increased by only 1.7% and remain 4.7% below the July, 2013 level. Home sale in the South did rise by 3.4%, but in the West, sales climbed by only 2.6%, and still remain 8.6% below the year-ago rate.

   The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas reported last week that single-family home prices actually declined slightly in the first half of 2014.  Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, warned that in upcoming months, home affordability will likely decline as median household incomes are still lagging and while the job market is improving, it is doing so slowly and unevenly.  The U.S. government reported this week that across virtually all income levels, inflation-adjusted incomes lost ground in the first half of 2014. According to a Rutgers University report, 41% of those surveyed say they have less pay and savings now than before the recession began in 2007 while just 7% say they’re better off.  Finally, with the phase-out of the Fed’s bond buying program and concerns about inflation, mortgage rates will inevitably rise over the next year.  None of these factors bodes well for the housing industry across the United States.

   But here in Sarasota, you’d never know there that the housing market is facing strong headwinds. To date this year, Sarasota real estate sales volumes have been running at a very robust rate. The Sarasota Association of Realtors (SAR), reported that property sales in Sarasota County reached almost the 1,000 level for the fifth straight month in July with the pace even higher than the near-historic level of sales achieved in 2013.

   In Sarasota County, the median sale price for the 12-month period ending in July, a statistic that moderates the effect of monthly swings, was up 11.2% for single-family homes and up 10.6% for condos over last year; a far different scenario than one sees on a nationwide basis. The inventory of homes and condos available for purchase dropped in July by a fairly significant one month decline of 6.7% as buying keep snapping up homes. The month’s supply of inventory for single family homes stood at a 4.4 month supply and for condos only a 3.8 month supply.  “The Sarasota real estate market remains a seller’s market, with low inventory and rising prices,” said SAR® President, Peter Crowley. “All the numbers point to a very healthy 2014 for Sarasota County real estate.”

   What could explain why, quite the opposite of the trends nationwide, the Sarasota real estate market continues to grow at a robust rate?  The answer, frankly, is simple. The reason so many people of all ages and incomes choose to live, work and retire in Sarasota Florida is not really difficult to understand.

   For those who love sunny days and year-round warm temperatures spent perhaps at the beach, there are 35 miles of beaches including world-famous Siesta Key with the softest, whitest sand in the world. And nowhere in the world will you find more gorgeous sunsets than here on Florida’s West Coast jewel, Sarasota and its popular barrier islands Longboat, Lido, Bird and Siesta Key.

    Sarasota offers all the amenities of a big city but with the charm and casual lifestyle of a much smaller community with dozens of shops, galleries, casual and fine dining restaurants and nightclubs in both the downtown area, at world-famous St Armands Cricle and many other spots. Throughout the year, there is a constant flow of special events including live music, art festivals, shows and parades.

    The Sarasota Florida area offers over 80 public, semi-public and private golf courses with courses to challenge every level of player.  Most of the golf courses are surrounded by communities of golf course homes, villas, and condos in all price ranges.

    Boaters, day-sailors, scuba divers and fishermen love the wide variety Sarasota of private docking facilities, marinas, yacht clubs and our warm, crystal clear waters.

   Lovers of the arts know Sarasota as “Florida’s Cultural Coast,” home to the Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, the Van Wezel and Asolo theaters for the performing arts, the Ringling Museum and mansion and many other local theater venues and art galleries.

   Sarasota has the widest range of housing styles, prices and locations you can imagine from wonderful golf course and waterfront homes and condos, to historic neighborhoods and more than its share of Sarasota luxury homes and condos.

   And finally, Sarasota County offers some of the best health care, long term care, and active living facilities for seniors in the nation.

   Perhaps the question should not be “why is the Sarasota Florida area doing so well when other regions of the country are not”, but rather “why aren’t you living here? “

   My goal as a Sarasota Realtor is to help you find and buy the perfect home or condo here in the Sarasota real estate market in the right neighborhood at a right price.   I’d be delighted to answer your questions about the opportunities you have to buy a home or condo here on the Florida Sun Coast in Sarasota, itself, or in the unique, next door communities of Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton.  To learn more, you may wish to peruse my Sarasota Florida real estate website. For an immediate response, call me at 941.228.2321


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