SARASOTA / BRADENTON HOUSING 1Q17: Growth Still Up but Slowing – Higher Prices May Impact Further Expansion

  • Quarterly New Home Starts are down 4.4% from 1Q16 levels, but the Annual Starts rate is up 6.4% YoY
  • We continue to see new home production move into the higher price points – starts under $250k were down 11.4% YoY
  • Sarasota remains one of the two Florida markets building above its long term average but it appears that the run of back to back years with 20%+ growth will likely end in 2017.

Metrostudy’s 1Q17 survey of the Sarasota-Bradenton housing market shows 1,370 single-family units were started in the quarter, down 4.4% compared to 1Q16. However, it represented a 13.2% increase versus the 4Q 2016 quarterly starts pace. The annual start rate compared to last year increased by 6.4%, from 5,185 to 5,518 annual starts.  Single-family quarterly closings totaled 1,301 units, up 2.6% from 1Q16 levels. The annual closings rate was 5,281 units per year, 17.4% above the rate in 1Q16. The fourth quarter is typically the biggest quarter for closings but 1Q17 saw closings improve by 5.9% versus 4Q16.

For the twelve months ending March 31, 2017, new homes starts in price ranges under $250k totaled 1,385 units, down 11.4% from the 1Q16 annual activity in prices less than $250k. Annual new homes starts in prices over $250k were up 14.1% for the twelve months ending March 31, 2017 versus 1Q 2016. The marginal 333 unit increase in the annual start pace was split: 178 less units under $250k and 511 more units above $250k.  The chart below shows the price distribution of annual housing starts for the first quarter this year compared to the three previous years: Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 10.00.10 AM

“Starts were down versus the first, second and third quarters of 2016 but up from 4Q 2016 levels, as retirees and job growth continued to provide demand for housing,” said Tony Polito, Regional Director of Metrostudy’s Sarasota/Bradenton market. “However, higher prices may be placing a limit on growth in the new home sector. Sarasota remains one of the two Florida markets building above its long term average but it appears that the run of back to back years with 20%+ growth will likely end in 2017. The peak of the “Baby Boom” was 1957 and those folks are turning 60 years old this year. Because of retiree demand and continued expected job growth, Metrostudy projects an increase in new housing starts between 7% and 14% in 2017.”

During 1Q17, Manatee County recorded 693 housing starts, down 0.2% versus the 695 starts in 4Q 2016 and down 3.8% compared to the 720 units built in 1Q 2016. During 1Q 2017, Sarasota County recorded 594 housing starts, up 23.4% versus the 481 starts in 4Q 2016 and up 25.3% compared to the 474 units started in 1Q 2016. Venice is approaching twice the activity level of North Manatee and is by far the second most active area.

The final significant trend worth noting is new housing inventory. We consider FV equilibrium as between 1.5 and 2.0 months. The number of FV units grew by 50% from 1Q last year, a rather large increase. However, since the market was under-supplied and because the annual closing pace is rising, the months of supply only grew from 0.9 to 1.1 months. Certainly, not a level that would raise any concerns. The County by County finished vacant supply indicated that Manatee County is still below equilibrium level of FV supply at 1.3 months. Sarasota County was even further below equilibrium level at 0.9 months. Charlotte County has 45 FV units and is also below equilibrium with a 0.9 month supply. The market added more units for the “snowbird season” and is now properly supplied with inventory homes. The UC months of supply improved from 5.5 MOS for 1Q 2016 to 4.8 MOS for 1Q 2017. All told, the total inventory level of 6.6 months is within equilibrium. Metrostudy believes demographics will support strong “snowbird seasons”, for several more years

The table below ranks the top ten communities in the market by annual starts.

Community (Area)                                      Ann Starts

Lakewood Ranch …………………………………… 787

The West Villages ………………………………….. 456

Palmer Ranch ……………………………………….. 249

South Gulf Cove ……………………………………. 207

Grand Palm ………………………………………….. 204

Del Tierra …………………………………………….. 178

Sarasota National ………………………………….. 155

Rotonda ………………………………………………. 153

Milano …………………………………………………. 131

Heritage Harbour …………………………………… 130

For information contact:
Tony Polito
813.888.5151
tpolito@metrostudy.com

About Metrostudy: Metrostudy is the leading provider of primary and secondary market information to the housing and related industries nationwide. Metrostudy provides research, data, analytics and consulting services to help builders, developers, lenders, suppliers, retailers, utilities and others make investment and business decisions every day. For more information, visit www.metrostudy.com

About Hanley Wood: Hanley Wood is the premier information, media, event, and strategic marketing services company serving the residential, commercial design and construction industries. Utilizing the largest editorial- and analytics-driven construction market database, the company produces powerful market data and insights; award-winning publications, newsletters and websites; high-profile executive events; and strategic marketing solutions. To learn more, visit hanleywood.com.

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